All it takes is one germy, microscopic droplet. One day you’re buzzing along with your usual routine…work, commute, family time. And the next, you’re coughing, sneezing, sick to your stomach, or feeling miserable.
Ever called in sick? You’re not alone.
4 million sick days a month
An estimated 4 million employees in the U.S. miss work every month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And many of those absences are caused by illness such as:

  • Influenza: Right now the spread of the influenza virus is still high in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 29 million people have contracted the flu this season.
  • About 60 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in the U.S., but there’s growing concern more people will get sick.
  • The common cold. On any given day, you could be exposed to germs, bacteria, and viruses that can make you sick. In fact, there’s at least 200 different viruses that can make you sick.

Exposure to germs from a cough, sneeze, dirty door handle or shopping cart is all it takes for a good day to turn into something else.

Now what? Maybe it’s time to move into a plastic bubble, avoid all human contact, and never venture outside again. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be like that.

Stay healthy: 7 ways to avoid getting sick

Wondering how to stay healthy and avoid germs that can make you sick? Here are seven things the CDC recommends:

  1. Wash your hands.  It’s the most effective way to prevent the spread of germs from your hands to your eyes, nose, mouth, or cut. And it’s easy. Rinse. Lather up with soap and water. Scrub for 20 seconds (that’s about how long it takes to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice). Rinse and air dry or use a paper towel.
  2. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer, if soap and water isn’t available.
  3. Get the flu vaccine. It’s not too late to get it. Once you receive the vaccine, it takes about two weeks for your body to adjust. Everyone 6 months of age or older should get the flu vaccine.
  4. Stay home, or stay away. If you’re sick, stay home. Avoid contact with others as much as possible. And if you’re not sick, try to avoid being around people who are.
  5. Keep it clean. Use a disinfectant spray or wipes to clean surfaces like door handles, keyboards, counter tops, remotes, and shopping carts.
  6. Cover it. If you’re sick cover a cough or sneeze with a tissue, or your elbow. Avoid shaking hands or go with a fist bump instead. Wearing a mask can also help prevent the spread of germs.
  7. Make healthy lifestyle choices. Your lifestyle choices can also help you avoid getting sick. Eat more nutrient-dense food like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. And exercise at least 30 minutes a day.

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