’Tis the season for family, friends and – you guessed it – the flu. As families travel and get together for the holidays, the risk of catching the “germ du jour” rises. When it’s time to gather around the holiday table, you don’t want family members missing out because they’re sick in bed – or worse – coughing and sneezing around your food.

Moms can help keep their families healthy by teaching good habits that help prevent the spread of germs. Here are four tips that experts recommend for staying healthy during the holidays:

  • Avoid close contact with sick people. If you are sick, try to stay home or away from others. Likewise, if someone near you is sick, give yourself some space to avoid germs that could make you sick.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes. Moms can remind children to cover their mouth or nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. If tissues are not handy, teach them to cough and sneeze into their sleeve to help prevent germs from spreading.
  • Wash your hands. Wash hands often, especially when traveling, after using the bathroom or changing diapers, while cooking and before eating. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Clean and disinfect. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, especially when someone is sick. You can clean surfaces first with warm, soapy water, and then be sure to follow up with a bleach solution to disinfect. Use a solution of either one tablespoon of regular-strength bleach (5.25 %) to one gallon of water, or two teaspoons of high-strength bleach (8.25%) to one gallon of water.

Getting lots of rest, staying active, staying hydrated and eating right will also help you stay healthy during the holidays, and are good habits all year round.

Everyone looks forward to spending time with family and friends over the holiday season and creating memories that last a lifetime. Staying healthy is a great way to make sure the holidays are the best they can be.

Is It the Flu or a Cold?

It can be hard to tell if you have a cold or the dreaded flu, because some symptoms of the two ailments can be similar.

Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches, chills, nausea and fatigue. Colds and flu spread through mucous droplets when people who are sick cough, sneeze or talk and those droplets infect people nearby. A person can also get the flu or a cold by touching a surface that has flu or cold virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or nose.

If you have a cold, you’ll experience some of the same symptoms, but they probably won’t be accompanied by fever, body aches, chills, headache or nausea.

This interactive chart will help you tell the difference between the flu and a cold. But here’s hoping you won’t need it this holiday season!