Cold and flu season has officially arrived.
Fortunately, you can take some steps that really safeguard against germs.

1. Use hand sanitizer: Worth it
Look for one that contains 60% alcohol. That's the amount needed to kill germs.
You don’t have to overdo it. Use it once or twice during a typical day, as well as after using public transportation, when you get home, or before you eat (if you can’t wash your hands).

2. Turn off the faucet with a paper towel: Worth it
The faucet handle is the most contaminated surface in a restroom. Using the same towel to open the restroom door on the way out is also a good idea.

3. Skip the hand dryer: Worth it
These machines aren’t only annoyingly loud, but they could be hazardous to your health. Studies find that a jet air dryer spreads 1,300 times more germs than paper towels . Use paper towels if available, or air dry your hands.

4. Touch elevator buttons with your knuckle or sleeve: Worth it
The ground-floor button, which everyone touches, can get especially grimy.

5. Avoid shaking hands or hugging people who appear ill: Worth it
Explain that you’re not being rude; you’re protecting your health. Both experts say they avoid touching friends and relatives who are sick, especially if they’re coughing and sneezing.

6. Keep your fingers off your face: Worth it
Touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with germy hands is a surefire way to get sick. And you may be doing it more than you realize. One study found the average adult touches their face about 16 times per hour.

Implement these precautions for your own health. And remember: You are worth it! :)