ST. LOUIS — Who’s on your holiday guest list? What do you have to do to make sure that all of your prep for the big celebration doesn’t end with everyone getting sick?

Dr. Matt Brukel of Total Access Urgent Care has some tips for getting healthy and staying healthy this time of year.

  • Get your flu shot: the CDC advises it takes two weeks for the flu shot to kick in, so don’t delay. This is about the time last year when cases started to get pretty bad.
  • Hugging and shaking hands isn’t the only way to pass germs: a cough can travel up to 20 feet away and linger in the air for up to 10 minutes, according to MIT research. Cover your coughs and sneezes—try to use a napkins or your hands, and then wash them, because Dr. Bruckel observes people don’t often wash their inner elbows or shoulders despite sneezing into them.
  • Recognize your symptoms. Dr. Bruckel says if you’re sniffling and sneezing this time of year, it’s not allergies, it’s a virus, so treat it as such.
  • Isolate the sick people. If you see someone who doesn’t look good, they probably aren’t well, so keep them home. People should also refrain from too much contact with others if it’s been less than 24 hours since their fever broke.
  • Wash your hands, get plenty of rest, and take your vitamins. They’re common sense practices we often forget during such a busy time, but Dr. Bruckel says they can make a big difference.