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Most people enjoy the change in weather when the seasons change,  but not may people like the germs and sicknesses that seem to come with it. Some people think getting sick is inevitable, but let’s look at some simple and practical ways to beat off the beast of illness before it takes its hold in your home.

1.) Wash your hands. There is a reason this old adage is plastered all over every bathroom and doctor’s office and that’s because it works. The Mayo Clinic recommends washing with soapy water for at least 30 seconds and using a paper towel to turn off the faucet and open the restroom door when you leave. While most people probably wash their hands often, it’s important to make sure it’s long enough. Try singing the ABCs twice or counting to 30 to help you remember.

2.) Don’t share. This may seem rude, but try not to share food, drinks, or anything else that people touch with their mouths. When in public places, wipe down shopping carts with wipes and wash your hands when you get home.  There’s also no such thing as the 5-second rule when you drop something on the floor. If you drop food on the floor, throw it away. If you drop a cup or utensil on the floor, give it a thorough washing before using it again.

3.) Stay home. If you think you may be getting sick (fever, achy body, sore throat), then please stay home. Think about how you caught your illness in the first place: probably from someone else who didn’t stay home! As hard as it can be to miss a party, a few days or work or school, or a family gathering, it’s much better to suffer in solitude than to spread the love, er, germs with those around you.

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4.) Vitamin up! As soon as you start to feel sick or show symptoms of an illness, get some Vitamin C, Cold Calm, Echinacea, Zinc, or any other boost that works for you and take it religiously. These all come in the forms of pills, sprays, dissolvable tablets, and lozenges, and you can even have most smoothie places add these to your drink. Prevention is key so if you can cut your illness off at the onset, you have a much better chance of beating it quickly (and not missing your holiday party).

Practice these steps this season and do your part to remain healthy. A steady diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lead proteins, and an active lifestyle naturally help your immune system to be strong so that when a sickness does make it’s way into your body, you are well prepared for it. You don’t have to get sick this year!

These statements have not been evaluated by a medical professional and are not intended to take the place of a doctor’s advice. If you have questions or concerns regarding your health always contact your doctor.