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Mug of tea, tissue and, glasses

The weather is changing. The days are becoming shorter. The leaves are beginning to change color, and the sound of sniffles and coughs are on the rise. We are approaching cold and flu season, and we want to share with you a few tips to help you avoid getting sick this season.

1. Get a flu shot.

One of the best things you can do to prevent getting the flu is getting the flu vaccine. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, "Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine. The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season." It would be wise to talk to your doctor about the benefits of getting vaccinated.

2. Wash your hands.

This may be something you do not do as often as you should. No matter what you do, you are going to be coming into contact with people who are potentially contagious. It is unavoidable. This simple act can lower your risk of catching their germs significantly.

Do you know how to wash your hands? Sounds like a crazy question right? Many of us do not wash for nearly long enough. The best way to thoroughly wash your hands is to sing the "Happy Birthday" song in your head 2 times through. Making sure you are scrubbing the front and back of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails. The very act of scrubbing will physically remove the germs.

3. Sanitize!

If you are out and about and on the go, using alcohol-based hand sanitizers can kill cold and flu germs. See...that big purse does come in handy sometimes!

4. Avoid contact with those who are sick.

This may be tough to do in some situations, but you can significantly reduce your risk by limiting contact with people during the peak of cold and flu season. You may not know when someone you are around is sick, so being more cautious about hugs and handshakes may be a wise decision during this season. That is not to say you should be antisocial, most people would understand your avoiding contact to reduce your risk of spreading germs.

5. Be a clean freak.

You generally have more control over your immediate surroundings. So whether at work or at home, wiping down your desk and doorknobs can help reduce your risk.

6. Take care of your body, and it will take care of you.

Making sure your body is getting all it needs to run efficiently. This means, eating whole unprocessed foods, drinking plenty of water, getting plenty of rest, avoiding smoking, and staying active. Your body is an amazing machine and it needs all the right things to run. Investing in yourself and your health is so important, because who else is going to do it?

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