There are lots of things we love about fall: the weather, being able to wear boots and scarves, the gorgeous shades of changing leaves, everything pumpkin spice, snuggling up by the fire. Something we don’t love about fall, though? Those nasty germs that come with the cool weather.

Already people are starting to come down with that annual fall cold or have had a nasty run-in with a bug. The flu is coming, and it’s time to start preparing! You can’t completely control whether or not you get sick this fall, but there are some things you can do to lower your risk of illness.

Tip 1: Keep your hands off of yourself.

Touching your nose, face, and eyes is a big no-no, especially during this time of the year. These are some of the most common places for germs to get into the body, so the less you touch them the fewer germs you’ll let into your system.

Tip 2: Get some sleep.

If you’re feeling under the weather, it’s imperative that you get a lot of sleep. Being tired can lower your immune system and decrease your body’s ability to fight germs, so make sure you’re getting 8-10 hours of sleep a night!

Tip 3: Eat lots of healthy food.

Fruits and vegetables are important for strengthening your immune system, and the stronger your immune system is the better your chances are of avoiding the flu this fall!

Tip 4: Suck it up and get your flu shot.

We know needles can be scary, and no one enjoys getting their flu shot, but we promise if you end up with the flu you’ll be kicking yourself for not just getting the shot. You should try to get your shot earlier rather than later, since sometimes there ends up being a shortage.

Tip 5: Stay away from the sneezers.

If you see people who are exhibiting typical cold or flu symptoms like coughing sneezing, or wheezing, RUN THE OTHER WAY. Ok, so you don’t have to run, but it is good to minimize the amount of time you spend with people who are sick.

Tip 6: Travel with sanitizer.

You never know when you might need to sanitize on the go. It’s always a good idea to keep some hand sanitizing get or wipes on your person for emergencies.

Tip 7: Ditch that cigarette.

Smoking actually increases the risk of infections by making structural changes in your respiratory tract and by decreasing immune response, so if you can avoid it you should.

Tip 8: Don’t double dip that chip.

Everyone loves double-dipping…don’t deny it! Unfortunately, double-dipping is a surefire way to spread germs. Consider spooning your dip onto your own plate first and then double-dipping from there!

Tip 9: Trade in your cloth purse for a leather one.

You wouldn’t think it, but purses are actually notorious for gathering germs. Experts recommend stowing your cloth purses during the fall and winter months and instead carrying around one that’s made of leather or vinyl that can easily be wiped down.

Tip 10: Keep your nails out of your mouth.

Nail biting is a notorious habit for many Americans, but the area underneath your fingernails is essentially a party place for germs.