Each winter, it seems like some people have an easier time staying healthy, while others pick up every virus that comes along. If you tend to cough and sneeze your way through cold and flu season, there are some natural things you can try to boost your immune system and avoid sickness.

Wash your hands frequently

The common cold and similar viruses are passed through contact with other people. Germs are spread when people cough or sneeze, and those germs can live for several hours on surfaces around your home, work, or school. Minimize your chance of getting sick by washing your hands frequently, particularly after spending time in public places or taking care of your sick kids. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers or wipes also help kill germs when you aren’t able to wash your hands.

Clean up your home

Kids often pick up germs at school and bring home colds which quickly spread through the whole family. Encourage your family to use tissues and wash their hands often. Contain germs by having sick kids rest in their rooms, instead of the family room, and clean shared surfaces frequently. Wipe down doorknobs, toys, remote controls, countertops, sinks, and other common areas. Disposable plates and paper towels can help prevent the spread of sickness, while also making it easier to clean up.

Have a healthy lifestyle

A strong immune system may help you fight off colds and viruses. You can boost your ability to fight off sickness by eating a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water, and getting a good night of sleep. Foods with phytochemicals (plant nutrients) have the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy, or get better more quickly when you do get sick. Focus on fruits in vegetables in a variety of colors, including dark green, red, and yellow.

Exercise regularly

A regular aerobic workout has many benefits which will help you prevent sickness from cold and flu germs. Brisk exercise spreads oxygen through your body, makes your heart pump blood more rapidly, and works up a good sweat. Exercising several days a week also makes you feel more energetic, and may help your immune system fight off germs and infections.

Learn to relax

Sleeping well each night is part of a healthy lifestyle, but taking time to relax during the day can also give your immune system a boost. Learning to relax means more than just avoiding stress. Studies show that actively relaxing increases interluekins—chemicals in your blood which fight off sickness. Actively relaxing is a kind of meditation. It means turning off the TV, taking a break from the world around you, and learning to focus on a calming image or idea. Learning to relax in this way takes time and practice. Build up to 30 minutes each day to improve your body’s immune response.

With some extra care and a few simple steps added to your daily routine, it’s easy to prevent colds naturally.