WITH Britain facing a "40-day freeze", we'll all be more susceptible to picking up nasty winter bugs such as norovirus and the dreaded flu over the coming weeks.
And no one wants to be coughing and spluttering or off work poorly, especially with Christmas exactly 20 days away.
However, there are some simple things you can do to protect yourself from some of the main winter bugs.
As Jakeman's hygiene expert Lisa Ackerley says: "By practising some simple hygiene measures to break the journey of the germ, you can improve your chances of staying cold or flu free."
Here, with the help of some other top experts, we take you through the best ways to ensure you remain fit and well this festive season…
1. Sneeze into your elbow
Influenza, often abbreviated to flu, strikes millions of people at this time of year and it is almost impossible to avoid completely.
Hygienist Lisa urges people to sneeze into their elbow rather than their hands to prevent colds and flu from spreading.
She says: "Always cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands – that way you contain germs and stop them transferring onto surfaces."
2. Wash your hands regularly
Washing your hands regularly is the best way to keep yourself protected from winter bugs, according to Dr Sarah Jarvis, Clinical Director of Patient.info.
In particular, she reiterates how bugs like norovirus can be picked up from someone else's hands.
Dr Jarvis says: "Wash, wash and wash again!
Germs passed out in an infected person’s poo can be picked up on someone else’s hands
"Norovirus is spread via the ‘faecal oral route’, which is just as disgusting as it sounds.
"Germs passed out in an infected person’s poo can be picked up on someone else’s hands, and transferred into their mouths when they touch their mouths or via food.
"So wash your hands thoroughly after going to the loo, before you handle or eat food and after you empty a potty."
3. Wear a scarf over your mouth
If you wear a scarf over your mouth and face this can minimise the chances of you catching something – especially if you're on a busy commute.
For those with asthma, wearing a scarf over your mouth during the winter months can also be beneficial.
Wrapping a scarf loosely over your nose and mouth will help warm up the air before you breathe it in, as cold air is an asthma attack trigger.
4. Don't put your bag on worktops
Dirty desks harbour 400 times more germs than a toilet seat – which can quickly spread among staff and cause an outbreak of sickness.
In particular, experts are urging people not to put bags on tables or worktops as this causes more germs to spread.
Don’t put your bag on tables or worktops – think about what germs the bag may have picked up that could spread to these surfaces
Hygiene expert Lisa says: "Don’t put your bag on tables or worktops – think about what germs the bag may have picked up that could spread to these surfaces."
It comes after it was revealed the average desktop harbours 20,961 germs per square inch.
5. Keep away from other poorly people
With winter bugs like norovirus and the flu being highly contagious, it is important to try and avoid close contact with other people who are sick.
Dr Atkinson, GP Clinical Lead at Treated.com, says: "Norovirus can be passed on through being in close proximity to others too, so try and be as vigilant as you can when out in public places too, or at things like school events.
"So that means avoiding close contact with other people who are sick, or coughing and sneezing a lot.
"If any of your own children are ill, it’s a good idea to do the rest of the school a favour and keep them at home until they’re better."
6. Get the NHS flu vaccine
In order to maximise your chances of not getting the flu, doctors are urging people to get vaccinated against the flu virus.
Boots pharmacist Janky Raja says: "Get vaccinated against the flu virus as it is the most effective step you can take.
How can I get a free flu jab?
The NHS offers a free flu jab to those most at risk of getting the virus.
Children aged two and three years will be given the vaccine at their general practice – usually by the practice nurse.
Young kids in school years one to three are likely to receive their vaccine at school.
Pregnant women and anyone aged 65 and older are also eligible for a free jab.
People with long-term heart or respiratory diseases or weakened immune systems will also get a free jab.
The vaccine for the over-65s has an extra ingredient to boost immune systems.
A jab which protects against four rather than three strains will be given to others at risk.
So if you're not in the above groups you can pay for a flu jab at certain stores.
Superdrug is offering jabs at £9.99 for non-members.
Lloyds Pharmacy is also offering the vaccine fo £11.50 – and you don't have to make an appointment.
Boots, Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury's all offer jabs which can cost up to £13.
"If you’re entitled to a free NHS flu jab this can be administered at your local Boots pharmacy in England and Wales, as well as through your GP.
"People living in Scotland and Northern Ireland can, if eligible, get the free NHS flu jab through their GP.
"Customers aged 11 years and above can also access the private Boots Winter Flu Jab Service."
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