So how does one keep from catching these contagious bugs? Take note of these friendly reminders:
1. Stay home if you're sick. "If you have a cold or a flu, you stay home for a day or two," Zhanel says. Likewise, don't hang out around others with a bug. If someone is coughing up a lung in the seat next to you, moving away is a good idea.
2. Play defense: Stay healthy. Eating well, exercising regularly, and taking safety precautions all help you stay out of the hospital, Spellberg says. As we know, the hospital is where some of these germs flourish.
3. Wash produce and fully cook meat, poultry, and eggs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises washing your hands with soap and water before preparing food and keeping a clean cooking environment. When cooking meat, use a food thermometer to be sure it is cooked enough to kill any bacteria.
4. Be careful when you travel. Especially when visiting developing countries; boil and peel your vegetables, and don't drink the local water, Zhanel advises.
5. Practice safe sex. Remember to use protection, choose your partners wisely, and talk to each other about your health concerns and challenges.
6. And if you remember nothing else: Wash your hands! Or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, as long as it doesn't contain an antibacterial agent like Triclosan, which can contribute to the problem, Spellberg says. "Hand washing is by far the most effective prevention tool we have," he says. "We interact with our environment via our hands, and most of these bacteria are things you pick up by touch."