Yes Virginia, it is possible to avoid catching a cold this winter…or at the very least, decrease your chances of getting sick. We know you already had your flu shot (and if you haven’t, get thee to a flu clinic, STAT!) and wash your hands as often as possible throughout the day (singing two rounds of “Happy Birthday” and using lots of soap and warm water, of course.) Here are some additional tips and strategies to best keep the bugs at bay. 


1. Place “germ juice” around the classroom  

Station several pump dispensers of hand sanitizer in the classroom and encourage your students to use it. For maximum benefit, hand sanitizer should be alcohol-based, like Purell. Purell Instant Hand Sanitizer kills 99.9 percent of the most common germs that cause illness. For more great tips on staying healthy in the classroom, visit the Purell Teacher Center

students-washing-hands2. Add all-class hand washing breaks to the schedule 

Even if your students are well-above the age of mass classroom potty visits, during cold and flu season it is always a good call to increase group hand washings. Stop in as a group after art or computer lab, when students may have touched germ-laden communal keyboards and supplies. These extra visits will help keep your class healthy (and therefore keep you healthy, too.)

hand-on-faucet3. Avoid touching faucets and fixtures

When you hit the restroom for those thorough hand washings, avoid touching the faucet and fixtures, which can harbor germs. You can use the paper towel used to dry your hands to also turn off the faucet and open the bathroom door when you exit. 

woman-eating-with-fork4. Skip the sandwich

You already know to keep those germ-magnet hands away from your face, but you can also increase your chances of remaining healthy by keeping them off of your food. Instead of packing your usual sandwich to eat with your paws, swap it for a salad or other food consumed with a fork. 

teacher-with-pencil5. Use your own pen and pencil 

When stopping by students’ desks to help them with their work, resist the temptation to pick up their pencils when doling out that long-division assistance. Writing utensils can carry illness, so keep your own pens and pencils close by. This goes for using the pen offered at stores and restaurants when signing your credit card slips, too! 

woman-running-cold6. Exercise 

We totally get that exercising when temperatures drop is so hard. It seems much more civilized to stay sedentary with a good book and a cup of tea, right? But continuing or beginning a moderate exercise program will boost your immunity. Aim for at least 30 minutes of activity each day. 

woman-sleeping7. Sleep

Getting enough Z’s is probably the easiest, and most enjoyable, way to purchase some insurance against illness. Sleep boosts your body’s immune function. Most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep a night, but if you have been operating on a sleep deficit you may need a little more at first to catch up. 

man-holding-broccoli8. Eat broccoli

…and cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. These cruciferous vegetables are rich in antioxidant vitamins that bolster your immune system. They also help your cells to function properly and if you do come in contact with a virus to fight off an infection. 

woman-eating-yogurt9. Eat yogurt

Probiotics, the live, friendly bacteria that live in yogurt, can boost your immunities and help your bod fight a cold.  (Look for The National Yogurt Association’s Live and Active Cultures Seal.) Yogurt also contains zinc and vitamin A, important nutrients for healthy immune system function. 

teacher-smiling10. Find your happy

Studies have shown that people who are stressed or depressed are twice as likely to become sick. Even though you are busy, do not be afraid to put yourself, and your health, first. Make time for the people and activities that make you happiest. Play with pets, practice yoga, write in your journal, pray or meditate.

What are YOUR best tips for keeping healthy during cold season?