NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The extreme cold is certainly a shock to the system and if you don’t play it safe, you could get sick.

CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez has some tips on how to stay healthy this holiday season.

The holidays is a wonderful time of year; to get jammed into a crowded plane with a hundred (potentially sick) strangers.

Sharing a meal with relatives you haven’t seen in a year and who may not share your views on politics or religion. Add in the crowds at stores, some bad weather, and it’s no wonder people get sick this time of year.

It’s a chaotic time. Sleep is down, stress is up. Superimpose that with travel, weather delays, drinking and eating, and you create the potential for very big issues health-wise,” Dr. Steven Lamm of NYU Langone Health explained.

On an airplane, you can’t do much about the air quality, but you can reduce your exposure to some germs.

  • When you take your seat, wipe down all the surfaces previous sick passengers might have touched – tray tables, arm rests, window shades.
  • Opt for a window seat. It keeps you farther away from the many potentially sick passengers walking up and down the aisle.
  • Dry nasal passages are easier for viruses to invade. Moisturize your nose with a little ointment.

“Those of us in the medical profession don’t shake hands much anymore. Reduce hand shaking. Don’t touch your face and wash your hands often,” Lamm added.

You can’t control all your exposure to germs so your next best bet is to go into the season as healthy as possible with plenty of sleep, eating healthy, stay active, and prepare for the unexpected travel disruptions.

“Anticipate problems. Get extra sleep and bring extra meds, more insulin and asthma medicine,” the doctor suggests.