They’re baaack! All those co-workers with their runny noses, who sneeze and cough and complain. Now they’ve convinced you that you’re going to be the next one to experience these annoying symptoms. It usually starts in November and lasts through late spring. It’s called cold and flu season, and it’s hard to avoid when people gather together—like in a workplace.

It’s not easy to maintain germ-free conditions under these circumstances, but it isn’t impossible. Once you understand how the common cold and flu is passed around, you can defend yourself from them.

You probably already know you should wash your hands after shaking someone else’s, using their computer or picking up their phone. You also know you should avoid close contact with anyone who has a cold. But here are three more tips that might help you bypass these nasty winter diseases:

Maintain a safe distance

Stay away from work for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone. Flu symptoms often include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people report vomiting and diarrhea, while others experience respiratory symptoms without a fever.

Unfortunately, you can pass on the flu to others even before you have any of these symptoms. While healthy adults can infect others from one day before they have symptoms to seven days after, young children and those with weakened immune systems can infect others even longer.

Do not touch

Before you touch something, consider all the people who might have touched it before you. Multiple hands have likely been on door handles, copiers, the office coffee maker, water fountain, elevator buttons, books, hand tools, telephones, stair railings and the list goes on.

Use a paper towel or your elbow to open doors or operate sink faucets. If you must touch a common item, wash your hands immediately. Virus germs can survive up to three hours on any of these objects.

Get your shot

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, getting an annual flu shot is the best way to prevent the flu. The shots are relatively inexpensive and available at most pharmacies or from your doctor. Contrary to what you might have heard, flu vaccines do not contain live flu viruses, although you may still experience some mild side effects. Get the shot in early fall, as flu season can peak as early as December.

Are you “sick” of your current job?

Let us help you find something that suits you better. Contact Pro Resources for the light industrial or technical/professional position you’re hoping to find. We’ve been in business for over 30 years, so we will use our expertise to help you find your next job.