October: the time of year the leaves change and fall and we begin the holiday gamut of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. It’s a fun time of year – but it can also be an unhealthy time of year. That’s right: welcome to Flu Season.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average American adult experiences 2-3 colds a year. As we trudge forward into winter, the likelihood of contracting a cold increases. So outside of the flu vaccine (which you should definitely get!) what can you do to avoid a sore throat, running nose, incessant coughing and sneezing, and headaches? Let’s run through some tips.

Get Those Hands Under Running Water
Viruses set up shop on your hands. They love it there. The simplest way to fight off the germs is frequent hand washing. You should wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. You should be washing your hands when handling/preparing food, after using the restroom, after handling garbage, after handling pet food, after touching an animal, and after blowing your nose just to name a few.

Embrace Your Mattress
Sleep is wonderful rejuvenation yet so many of us neglect our mattress and don’t log enough hours with it. Studies have shown that people who slept for fewer than seven hours were nearly three times as susceptible to colds as people slept for at least eight hours.

Hands Off Your Face
Avoid touching your face and you’ll decrease your chances of becoming sick. The average person touches their face more than three times an hour. Next time you need to face-palm something, bust out the face-palm emoji rather than doing it literally!

Stay Away from People Who Are Sick
Treating someone with a flu-like they are a zombie and getting away from them may seem rude, but it’s how you avoid contracting it yourself. It’s important to remind people that when they are sick they should stay at home.