10 Tips to Help You Not Catch a Cold this Year
The common cold is the most frequent illness in humans. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is also the most common cause of missing work and school. Colds are caused by viral infections, with over 200 different known viruses causing cold symptoms with different severity. As an example, Covid-19 is a cold virus.
Viruses that cause colds are spread from person to person through tiny droplets of mucous that enter the air from the nasal passages of infected persons and are then inhaled by others. Colds can also be spread by touching surfaces that have been contaminated by contact with infected persons and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.
It is impossible to completely prevent a person from catching a cold unless they totally isolate themselves from outside contact. However here are some tips to reduce your risk of getting a cold this year.
Avoid touching your face. Especially try to avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes, if you are around someone who is sick with a cold or if you have been touching areas in a public area.
- Wash your hands often. This is probably the single best measure to prevent transmission of colds. Use soap rubbing for 20 seconds and then rinsing. Especially wash your hands after shopping, going to the gym or spending time in public places (doctor’s offices). Always have children and teenagers wash their hands when they get home from school.
- Use hand sanitizers if you are unable to wash your hands. Keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you in case hand washing isn’t possible. Use enough sanitizer to cover your hands and then rub until try which should take 20 seconds. Make sure your kids have a bottle always with them and teach them to use it properly.
- Get immunized. If you are at high risk for getting very sick from a cold, consider talking to your provider about getting immunized against Covid-19, RSV and the flu.
- Don’t smoke. Cigarette smoke can irritate the airways and increase the risk to colds and other air born infections. Even exposure to secondhand smoke can make you or your children more vulnerable to colds.
- Wear a mask. If you are going out to public areas or are going to be around people who might be sick with an upper respiratory illness wear a mask. Studies show that N95 masks are very effective at blocking the air droplets that transmit viruses. Surgical masks can block larger particles but unfortunately cloth masks seem to not help stop the spread of viral infections.
- Use disposable items if someone in your family is infected. Disposable cups can be thrown away after each use and prevent accidental spread of the virus from sharing cups or glasses.
- Use paper towels in the kitchen and bathroom for hand washing. Viruses can live for several hours on cloth towels.
- Throw tissues away after use. Used tissues are sources of virus that can contaminate any surface where they are left on. Try never to pick up someone else’s tissue without gloves on.
- Control stress. Studies have shown that people experiencing emotional stress have a weakened immune system and are more likely to catch a cold.
Remember, the best defense against a viral infection is a healthy immune system. Eat healthy, exercise, get adequate sleep, take proper herbs and supplements so that your immune system is ready to fight an infection if you are exposed.