It’s winter, which also means we're in the thick of cold and flu season. Avoid getting sick and stay germ-free with these tips!

Flu season is upon us—and if it’s not the flu, it’s a cold ... or it's a slight cough ... or maybe just sniffles. Regardless, there are ways to avoid the winter blues and getting sick altogether, as well as ways to combat the sniffs you may already have. Check out our list below!

Avoid Touching Things

This advice seems vague, but close your eyes and walk through your day. Holding onto railings, pushing elevator buttons, opening/closing doors, etc. You touch a lot of things during the day, and these things carry a lot of germs from others who also touch them regularly. Then, throughout the day, you touch your face, rub your eyes, eat … you do the math. Try not holding onto railings, use your back or elbows to open doors, or simply wash your hands more frequently.

Stay Home If You’re Sick

If you’re not feeling well, it’s useless to come into work or school and get everyone else around you sick. That only turns the illness into a circulating chain of sick that everyone will hate you for.  Remember, kids, no one likes a walking biological weapon.

Drink TONS of Water

Staying hydrated is key, regardless if you’re feeling well or not. Flush out your sickness with lots of water! It’s also important to hydrate on the outside as well. Lower humidity and temperatures help the flu virus spread. Humidity kills the virus, so invest in a humidifier. Thankfully, humidifiers aren’t too expensive and the benefits are tremendous.

Eat Well

"Diet is the fuel that runs the complex human machine and all of its parts, including the immune system," says David Katz, MD, Director of the Yale Prevention Research Center. No truer words have been spoken. While chicken noodle soup is a sick-time-staple, muster up the energy to make some from scratch with lots of veggies, real chicken, and significantly less sodium than canned soup. Keep essential protein power players like fish, lean meats, or beans close by, too. These help build white blood cells, which defend the body. Bright fruits and veggies provide immune-boosting antioxidants. Lastly, omega-3 fatty acids (found in walnuts, fatty fish, and flaxseed) keep the immune system balanced. Keeping a healthy diet will help you avoid getting sick.  

Keep It Moving

Get a head start on your New Year’s resolutions and get exercising! Exercise can help you avoid getting sick by stimulating immune cells that target viruses and infections. A study found that people who did regular moderate exercise had better chances of fighting off inflammation and cold infections than those who didn’t. Just keep in mind, if you're already sick, don't push yourself TOO hard, light exercise is fine. Also, if you're already sick, don't go to a public gym. No matter how hard you wipe down that equipment you're adding tons of germs to an already pretty germ-infested environment.

Are there any other ways or tips to avoid getting sick this winter? Sound off in the comments below.