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Winter is the season we tend to get sick with colds and flus. And, although the temperature itself doesn't cause illness, being indoors more and having contact with co-workers, friends and family in close quarters increase the chances of picking up a bug or two.

If you would like to stay healthy this winter, you'll want to revisit your lifestyle choices to ensure that you eat well, get lots of rest and exercise regularly.  But there are also a few other small changes you can make to keep pesky germs at bay.  Here are 6 tips that can be easily incorporated into your everyday routine that will help you get through the season.

1. Wipe down the keyboards, doorknobs, light switches, cell phone, and TV remotes – all the things that have a high "direct contact" rate.  Cold and flu viruses can survive (and be infectious!) on hard surfaces for as long as 24 hours.  Enough said.
2. Wash your hands often. Recent guidelines suggest that it's not necessary to use an antibacterial soap. Reach for a gentle soap and aim to scrub the hands for 20 seconds before rinsing.
3. Avoid shaking hands. You may think that this is carrying it a bit far, but a recent study at the University of Western Virginia determined that using the "fist bump" as an alternative to shaking hands reduced the amount of bacterial transmission between individuals. If a fist bump, friendly wave or nodding of the head isn't a feasible alternative, then make sure you...
4. Keep your hands away from your face. Germs enter the most commonly through our eyes, nose and mouth. We all inadvertently touch our faces when we scratch an itch, fix our hair, even rest our chins on our hands, giving germs repeated opportunities to transfer from our hands into our bodies.
5. Up your intake of vitamin D. Traditionally, vitamin C has been the go-to when it comes to colds, but vitamin D has been getting increased attention due to its ability to strengthen and enhance the immune system. When our bodies are low on vitamin D, we may be less able to fight off infections when exposed to bacteria and viruses. The easiest way to get your daily dose is with [Link Removed]. Each drop of this liquid sunshine contains 1000 IU of vitamin D3, the form that our skin naturally produces when exposed to the sun.
6. Gargle with salt water. This simple and inexpensive practice has long been used to relieve sore throats, but a study published in 2005 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine concluded that gargling with salt water was also effective in preventing upper respiratory tract infections such as tonsillitis, laryngitis and sinusitis by up to 40% when done three times a day.
With a bit of preventive action, you'll have a healthy winter.  Let's face it, celebrating with good friends and food during the holidays is much more fun than spending quality time with a box of tissues.

Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti-aging skin care and women's wellness. She owns and operates an online skin care store at [Link Removed].
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