Wash your hands correctly. It won’t strengthen your immune system, but it will reduce germs on your hands, so you’re much less likely to transfer an effective dose of a virus or bacterium into your body, “says, John Santa, M.D., a medical advisor to Consumer Reports. To see the best way to wash, go to ConsumerReports.org/handwashing-video.

If water isn’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer such as Purell. Make sure it contains at least 60 percent alcohol (ethanol and isopropanol)–that’s the level at which it’s effective against germs.

Don’t touch your face. Most of us touch our eyes, nose and mouth about 16 times over the course of 3 hours, say researchers at the University of California, Berkeley. That lays down the welcome mat for bacteria, viruses, and other bugs that hang out on your hands.

Get your shots. Vaccines prompt your immune system to produce antibodies that protect you from disease. Older adults should have an annual flu shot and a tetanus-diphtheria booster every 10 years after a one-time Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) shot. If you’re 60 or older, get the one-time shingles vaccine, at age 65, get both pneumococcal vaccines, a year apart.

Source: Consumer Reports on Health January 2016

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