According to the CDC, adults get sick an average of 2-3 times a year with most incidents occurring during the winter and spring.  Although you can typically recover within a week, nobody enjoys being stuck in bed for that long.  The good news is you can reduce your risk of catching a cold by taking a few precautions.

Wash your hands often

Washing your hands regularly with soap and water is one of the most effective way to prevent the spread of germs.  In case you don’t already know, you need to scrub your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds.  When in doubt, just sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice while you do your thing.  Be sure to clean under your nails where germs can be hiding.  If you don’t have immediate access to soap and water, using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can be a temporary substitute.  Try to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with dirty hands because those are the places where germs can easily enter the body.

Get the flu shot

The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older gets a yearly flu shot.  This is especially important for people at greater risk of developing flu-related complications.  This includes:

  • Children 2-5 years old
  • Adults 65 and older
  • Women who are pregnant and up to two weeks postpartum
  • Those living in nursing homes and long-term care facilities

By taking this precaution, you can reduce your risk of getting sick by 50-60%.  Even though doctors suggest getting vaccinated as early as October, the flu season doesn’t get into full swing until January or later.  This still gives you some time to hurry up and squeeze in an appointment.  Once the shot is administered, it will take about 2 weeks for your body to reap the full benefits.

Take care of your body

Want to keep your body functioning at its best?  Hit the gym.  Exercising boosts your immune system so you get sick less often plus it lowers the risk of depression and dementia.  Aim to squeeze in 30-minutes of moderate exercise, 5 times a week.  Additionally, you want to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day to stay properly hydrated and get rid of toxins.

Disinfect high-traffic areas

Some people think that feeling a little under the weather isn’t a good enough reason to miss work.  Even if you do your best to avoid them, you can still get sick by putting your hands on something they’ve already touched.  Although the flu virus can only survive 15 minutes on a tissue, it can live up to 24 hours on hard surfaces.  To stop germs in their tracks, you need to disinfect high traffic areas with anti-bacterial wipes or sprays regularly.  Pay special attention to germ hot spots like faucets, phones, remotes, knobs, light switches and keyboards.