Wash your hands the right way
The number one way to stay germ-free, according to doctors? Become a serial hand-washer. “It is important to wash hands regularly with soap and water,” says family physician Jennifer Caudle, DO, especially before eating or preparing food and after caring for a sick person. But it’s not enough to do a quick rinse: You have to wash them properly to really get rid of microbes that can make you sick. According to the CDC, wet your hands and lather up, scrub all over your hands including the backs and in between your fingers for 20 seconds (sing “Happy Birthday” twice), rinse, and dry well. Learn what can happen if you don’t wash your hands.
Change your greeting
If you don’t want to have to switch your email greeting to an automatic “out of the office due to sickness” reply, change up your in-person greeting instead. “Hands are a common way that viruses and bacteria are spread, so avoiding shaking hands can be a good strategy for prevention of colds and flu,” says Dr. Caudle. How can you do this without looking like a germaphobe? “There are many ways to greet others if you choose to avoid shaking hands: a wave, fist-bump, or even a peace sign are great ways to do this,” Dr. Caudle suggests. If you do get sick, these are things you can do to make a cold less miserable.