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You might not be able to guard yourself from every bug this fall and winter season, but there are some precautions you can take to lower the chances of catching a cold. Here are some of the best ways to do it.

Sleep

There a lot of reasons why getting a good night’s sleep is going to keep your body running efficiently, and even an hour more each night can make a huge difference. Some studies have found that people who sleep six or fewer hours each night have a four times higher risk of catching a cold than people who seven or more hours. Not getting enough sleep can actually increase inflammation in the body, which makes the body less effective at fighting off infection.

Don’t Touch Your Face

You’ve probably heard it before and it needs to be said again. Touching your face (and your eyes, nose, and mouth specifically) is a great way to get germs from that door handle right into your system. People who touch their face frequently might be 40 percent more likely to get sick then people who don’t, and the average person touches their face 3.6 times per hour. It is possible to catch a cold just be inhaling infected droplets in the air, but they generally start from straight touching the body.

You can also up your defense by washing your hands regularly, especially after being out in public or somewhere you touch a lot of shared space, such as the gym. Some studies have found that when someone is sick in an office environment it only takes four hours for the virus to start showing up on door handles, coffee pot handles, etc.

Keep Up With Your Fitness

Working out is actually a really important for keeping your immune system up, so add that to your list of motivations to hit the gym regularly. Some studies say that people who exercise five or more days a week take 46 percent fewer sick days than people who don’t workout or workout only one day a week. Doing a 30 to 60 minute cardio session will signal the body to start circulating disease fighting cells that are stored in the lymph tissues. The more circulating the cells do, the more disease fighting them will accomplish.

Hug Your Loved Ones

Yes, hug. Some studies have shown that people who hug more have better chances at fighting off cold viruses. The sweet human to human contact can be a real stress reliever, and the less stressed out your body is the more power it has to fight things off and keep you healthy.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Eating foods high in antioxidants and skipping processed foods that cause inflammation can go a long way towards keeping you healthy as well. Skipping alcohol can help as well, since drinking can disrupt your sleep quality. Getting plenty of protein is essential, since diets too low in protein can make it impossible for the body to properly fight off infection.