Young happy woman is preparing a delicious lunch in the kitchen.Feel like someone in your home is always sick during the winter months? These simple steps can help reduce the number of times your family is affected by illness in the coming months.

Wash your hands. Many people don’t wash their hands often enough throughout the day, and when they do wash them, most don’t spend enough time to get their hands really clean. Did you know that studies show you must wash your hands for at least 20 seconds to remove enough germs to prevent sickness? Teach kids to sing “Happy Birthday” to themselves twice as they lather before rinsing their hands. Insist that everyone washes their hands before snacks and meals.

Get plenty of sleep. Numerous studies have shown that too little sleep can leave you vulnerable to illness. Infants, toddlers, school-age children, teenagers and adults each have their own sleep needs. While most adults do quite nicely with 7 to 9 hours a night, teenagers (ages 14-17) need about 8-10 hours each day. School-age children (ages 6-13) require 9-11 hours a day with pre-school children (ages 3-5) needing10-13 hours. Toddlers (11-14 hours per day) and infants (12-17 hours a day) need the most sleep.

Eat healthy. Make sure you have a well-balanced diet. Eat breakfast for a strong start, and include plenty of fruits and vegetables. Be sure to drink enough water.

Exercise daily. Studies show any amount of exercise has health benefits. Even as the weather changes, try to fit in some physical activity each day.

Consider a flu shot. Flu season is almost here. The CDC says the flu shot protects against the virus and greatly reduces the severity of symptoms should you get the flu.