The last gift you want this holiday season is illness. Even though you may take a vacation this holiday season, germs work 365 days a year. Steering clear of germs is one of the best ways to stay healthy. Page ContentThe number one way to prevent germs from wreaking havoc on your body is by thoroughly washing your hands. You can avoid germs left behind by others by washing your hands regularly with soap and water. If you have house guests over for the holidays, consider placing antibacterial hand sanitizer in your guest bathroom for them to use. Some of the top places germs hide during the holidays include:The office. Work surfaces such as lunchroom and meeting room tables, desks, telephones and computer keyboards are notorious for germs because they're rarely cleaned. Although you may be the only one using this equipment, health experts say bacteria can still grow and possibly infect you. For instance, office desks are often dirtier than a toilet seat. A recent journal article reports that office bacteria can be decreased by 99%. Clean personal office equipment once a day and clean areas used for party gatherings with antibacterial wipes.The kitchen. Germs from uncooked meat like turkey can cause havoc in the kitchen. This is especially true when someone handles raw meat and then touches other surfaces or reuses wet sponges that have "cleaned" these surfaces. Take steps to avoid cross contamination of food, such as using separate utensils for cooking with raw meat. Use disinfectant sprays and paper towels or disposable sanitizing wipes - instead of sponges - to clean countertops.School. Schools are prime locations for illness-causing germs because kids often don't wash their hands regularly. School drinking fountains, playground equipment and water faucets can be especially germy. Encourage children to make hand washing a life-long habit.