The top 3 ways to avoid illnesses this Thanksgiving, according to the Mayo Clinic

It’s cold and flu season.

It’s also the holiday travel season, meaning all that sneezing, coughing, and aching will be boarding a plane and sitting at Thanksgiving dinner with you.

Infectious disease specialists at the Mayo Clinic share three of the most important things you can do to dodge your seatmates’ sicknesses:

1. Wash your hands, and then wash them again.

Doctors agree that’s the number one, most important way to avoid getting sick. They say it’s important to wash before and after you eat, before and after you travel, and probably even right now.

2. Try to manage your holiday stress.

Stress can lead to less sleep, a poor diet, and lack of exercise, all of which make you more susceptible to illness, doctors say. To avoid this, they recommend sticking to a schedule as closely as you can on travel days and throughout the holiday season.

3. Drink water every step of the way.

Mayo Clinic specialists say people are more dehydrated over the holidays. That’s especially problematic for people who are flying, since airplanes are dehydrating already. They recommend that instead of relying on in-flight drinks, travelers pack a reusable water bottle and fill up before boarding.

*Bonus tip: Don’t rely on antibacterial wipes to keep you well.

Doctors say while wiping down every surface on a plane or at a dinner table doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t help much either. The same goes for hand sanitizer. They emphasize that nothing provides as much protection as simply washing your hands.

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