Season changes are always hard. If it’s not the weather change, then it’s getting sick. With kids going back to school and parents going to work, you are bound to come across someone with “the sniffles.” Avoiding the common cold and flu doesn’t have to be difficult; here are seven ways to decrease your chances of getting sick.

Try not to stay up late

Lack of sleep causes the immune system not to work as well as it would when you’re getting the proper amount of sleep. Sleep is a time for the body to heal itself and sleep deprivation can cause certain cytokines not to release as often. Cytokines are needed to help fight inflammation and infection that infiltrates the body.

Protect your hands

A lot of people cover their sneezes or coughs with their hands. After they sneeze or cough on their hands, they may not immediately wash or sanitize their hands, leaving the germs to spread to whatever they touch next. So, if you’re an elbow sneezer, it would be beneficial for you to touch things with a covered hand. For example, if you go to the bathroom and need to open the door after you’ve just washed your hands, use a tissue or paper towel to open it.

Don’t touch your face

Germs live and thrive on our hands. If you haven’t washed your hands in a while and you rub your eyes, you are spreading millions of germs on that area of your face. Our eyes are easy entrances for germs, and the same goes for our mouths and noses.

Keep hand sanitizer

Keeping hand sanitizer on hand is a great way to avoid getting sick. If you’re in a crunch for time and like your hands could use a wash, hand sanitizer is your best friend. It’s quick, easy, and it’s effective.

Exercise

Exercise is good for your health in many areas other than avoiding sickness. It’s great for mental health, cardiovascular health, and immune health. Exercising boosts the immune system by helping the body release more white blood cells. One study showed that during a twelve-week period, the subject that exercised more were less likely to get sick.

Never reuse a tissue

If you think about it, reusing a tissue is pretty gross. You are spreading the germs you got rid of right back to where they were before. It’s better to throw away a tissue after one use to protect yourself and others from harmful germs.

Eat plenty of vegetables

Last, but certainly not least, is to eat your veggies! Vegetables have tons of vitamins and nutrients that are essential for the human body to function properly. It is important to eat a diet rich in vegetables because they carry antioxidants, which are key to not getting sick. If you aren’t a big fan of veggies; supplement! Taking vitamins like A and C will aid in decreasing your chance of contracting an illness.

Implementing these seven easy tips into your daily life will keep you healthy and happy not just through cold and flu season but throughout the whole year.