Tips for Avoiding the Flu While in a Crowd This Holiday Season

Dr. Mike Varshavski showed Inside Edition how to protect yourself from the flu.

More than 80,000 people died from the flu last year — so how do you stay protected, even when you're in a crowded area?

Dr. Mike Varshavski took the New York subway with Inside Edition's Steven Fabian to show him how to stay flu-free even in cramped quarters.

"Simply put, there's just millions of people here and unfortunately the dirtiest places on our bodies are our fingers," Dr. Mike said.

First up, make sure you have a barrier between you and whatever you're touching, such as gloves or a tissue. If you don't have anything to use, make sure you wash your hands or use sanitizer as soon as you get off the subway.

"What happens if you notice somebody on the subway who looks really sick?" Fabian asked.

"You want to get as much distance as you can between you and that person. At least three feet," Dr. Mike said. "But if you can do even more — go into another car — that's a smart move. Because if that person is to sneeze, that sneeze can travel up to eight feet."

Dr. Mike said there is one thing everyone can do: "Get your flu shot. That's the best source of protection against getting the flu, whether you're traveling on the subway or not."

When Inside Edition asked subway users if they had received a flu shot, multiple people said no. On the fourth try, someone finally said they had.

"It is not just going to help you but also those around you," Dr. Mike said.

And if you're not feeling well, think about other people. If you have to cough, cough into your elbow, rather than the space around you.

"It's about being smart yourself," Dr. Mike said. "If you're sick, stay home."