According to the CDC, regular handwashing (particularly before and after certain activities) is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and prevent the spread of germs to others. Yes, you can avoid colds and the flu most of the time. Below are tips to help with prevention.

Wash Hands Often: Use warm water and sufficient soap. Plain soap is OK because it’s the act of rubbing hands together for at least 20 seconds that eliminates germs. Clean under the nails and between the fingers, and wash your wrists. In public restrooms, use one paper towel to turn off the faucet and another to dry your hands. Then throw both away. Consider using a paper towel to open the door and avoid touching it directly. No soap and water? Use hand sanitizer or hand wipes.

Watch Your Fingers: Without thinking, we rub our eyes, cover our mouths, or rub our noses. This is a sure way to expose yourself to cold or flu virus particles. Keep hands away from your nose and eyes to avoid self-infection. If necessary, set a reminder to avoid touching your face. Place the reminder somewhere you look often.

Teach Prevention Hygiene to Kids: Children share cold viruses easily and bring them into the home. Teach children to cough or sneeze into a tissue. Instill a lifelong habit that is key to illness prevention: handwashing. Aim to wash your hands every time you return home and before eating. Make it fun by teaching children to sing a song while they wash their hands. “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” “Happy Birthday” (2x), and “Row Your Boat” are good examples.

Exercise – It’s a Proven Immune Booster: Moderate exercise for 45 minutes a day, five days a week can reduce the risk of contracting a cold by 33%. It has a positive impact on immune systems. Before, during and after workouts, stay properly hydrated by drinking water.

Stay Home if You’re Sick: Staying home when sick helps prevent spreading your germs to others. Recognize when your body needs rest. Prioritize your to-do list and evaluate what can be put off for a few days. Get seven to nine hours of sleep: the body needs time to restore and recover. Create a healthy sleep environment and get adequate sleep.

If You Smoke, Consider Quitting: Smoking damages lung cells, which makes it harder to fight off a cold or other illness. Symptoms are more severe and last longer for smokers compared to nonsmokers.