NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The simple act of hand washing can do wonders to prevent catching the flu, according to Yale Medicine Physician F. Perry Wilson.

“When it gets cold, the flu can stick around much longer on surfaces,” said Dr. Wilson who explained that contaminated surfaces are the main way that the flu spreads from person to person.

Dr. Wilson shared why the flu is considered a winter disease, and it is not just because people spend more time indoors during the colder months.

“The flu virus has a sort of fatty coating around it that is about the consistency of butter. Believe it or not, in warmer climates the virus kind of dissolves, melts away, and it’s not as stable,” said Dr. Wilson.

A new study from the New England Journal of Medicine looked at 300,000 students and teachers in Massachusetts schools that lifted mask mandates at different times.

“Broadly, what they showed is that the schools that kept masks on longer had lower rates of covid infection in kids,” said Dr. Wilson.

He said the study results raise the question of how to keep kids in school because infected students will have to go home.

“We’ll have to see, depending on how, you know, any winter surge of covid emerges, whether we should reconsider some masking in schools just to keep kids in their seats,” said Dr. Wilson.

Dr. Wilson advises getting vaccinated prior to the Thanksgiving holiday.

“If you’re concerned about, you know, anyone there that might be more vulnerable to covid doing a rapid test the day before thanksgiving or so is not a bad idea,” said Dr. Wilson.