It’s human nature – as we age, our immune systems get weaker. So, getting a cold or flu can mean more than just a trip to the pharmacy. While properly treating a cold or flu before it turns into a more serious condition such as bronchitis or pneumonia is important, prevention is key. With the winter season just around the corner, here are some preventive tips to keep in mind.

Wash your hands –

One of the most common ways of transmitting germs from person to person is with your hands. Touching objects in public places and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth is one of the easiest ways to catch a cold. Specifically, in large populated areas like shopping malls or close-knit areas like elevators, it’s a good idea to keep your distance. Washing your hands frequently and keeping your hands away from your face is one way to prevent yourself from getting sick.

Build up your immune system-

In addition to keeping a healthy lifestyle, getting flu and/or B12 shots will help to strengthen your immune system. Experts say the single best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated, ideally in early fall. When it comes to your lifestyle, eating a balanced diet, keeping up with exercise and a good night’s sleep will help to strengthen the body and fight off any influenza attacks. If you engage in heavy smoking, it could make you more likely to get the flu. This might be a good time for you to quit or to start cutting back.

Pay attention to your body –

If you or your loved one experience a dry, hacking cough, sore throat, body aches or a runny nose, it’s best to visit a doctor sooner than later. Shrugging off symptoms that may seem harmless can make matters worse. Drinking more water, keeping your nose clean, light exercise and resting up can stop a cold in its tracks.