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Coughs and sneezes are the most common ways respiratory infections make the rounds, when you inhale germ-lled air or touch a germy object or surface. Prevent the spread by: Washing your hands regularly, particularly if you have touched surfaces that may contain viruses or have been in close contact with someone who’s sick. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer is an acceptable stand-in if you don’t have access to soap and water. Minimizing your contact with someone who’s ill. Not sharing items such as utensils, toothbrushes or towels. Using household disinfectants to keep surfaces clean.