It’s the time of the year when everyone at work is sniffling and sneezing. From December to February, it seems as though there is nothing you can do to avoid cold and flu season. With a few good tips, hopefully this year you can last the season without a sick day.

Wash your hands often

Not only are you removing germs from your hands, you’re preventing yourself from spreading them to other people. Stopping germs in their tracks before they make their way to you eyes, nose and mouth, makes them unable to dig their heels in and make you sick.

Keep hand sanitizer handy

If you can’t manage the frequent trips to and from the bathroom to wash your hands, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer makes a good substitute. It’s the same idea, you want to eliminate illness-causing germs before they can spread to vulnerable areas of both you and others.

Don’t touch your face

Those “vulnerable areas” are all located on your face: eyes, nose and mouth. These are easy access points for germs to enter the body and take you out of commission.

Wipe down work surfaces and shared areas before use

Keep disinfectant wipes handy in a drawer to wipe down your desk and keyboard frequently. Don’t forget about those shared spaces! High traffic areas of the office like the kitchen and bathroom are breeding grounds for germs that can and will make you sick.

Avoid sick coworkers

It’s for your own good. Those who fell victim to cold and flu season can spread the illness up to six feet away, and you don’t want to be the one to catch it. If you see your coworker coughing, sneezing or sniffling, recommend they go home until they are fever-free for at least 24 hours.

Get your flu shot

You must update your flu shot yearly. Every year, the vaccine is updated to combat the strains predicted to be the most prevalent for the upcoming season. In other words, last year’s flu shot cannot protect you this year. Receiving your flu shot is the easiest and most effective way to avoid getting sick. While it is still possible once vaccinated, it is usually much milder with than without.

Take action immediately if you feel sick

Lots of liquids and a trip to your onsite clinic could be the difference between a day under-the-weather and a few weeks. After all, the sooner you treat an oncoming illness, the sooner you’ll recover.

The annual office sickness is inevitable, but you don’t have to fall victim this year. By keeping yourself and your work area sanitary, you can successfully avoid catching a coworker’s unfortunate season’s greeting.