For some of us, getting the flu each year seems almost inevitable. Even if we get a vaccination, it isn't a guarantee that we won't get sick.

We may feel run down due to our busy schedules, and that's when the flu swoops in, preying on our weakened state. Or coworkers insist on coming to the office when they're sick, and before you know it, influenza has made its way around the workplace.

But there are several things you can do to minimize your chances of catching the flu this year. And if you do get sick, you can avoid spreading the virus to family and friends.

Wash, wash, wash your hands

This may be the most important thing you can do to stay well. Washing your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds is an excellent way to rid your hands of bacteria. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers, which don't require water, are another good method of killing germs.

Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose

Bacteria can be spread quickly if you touch a contaminated surface, then touch your eyes, mouth, or nose. So try to keep your hands away from your face.

Throw in the towel

Use disposable paper towels to dry your hands instead of a shared towel. If other members of your family are sick, a shared towel could spread germs.

Eat, drink, and be healthy

Try to eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, and don't forget those eight glasses of water each day.

Disinfect your toothbrush

Strange as it may sound, storing your toothbrush in hydrogen peroxide will keep it germ-free—just rinse well before using.

Keep shared spaces germ-free

During flu season, disinfect shared spaces, such as telephones, computer keyboards, steering wheels, and office equipment, more often than you do at other times of the year.

Get enough sleep

Some say that sleep is the best medicine. Get plenty of rest to keep your immune system in tip-top shape.

Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing

Use a tissue when coughing or sneezing, to keep your germs to yourself.

If you do get sick, stay home

If you do end up getting the flu, keep away from other people as much as possible to prevent the spread of bacteria.