Prevent a Cold
To prevent a cold, you need to maintain a strong immune system, eat wholesome food, and get plenty of rest. Sometimes, there’s nothing you can do to stop a cold. However, knowing a few tips (and avoiding common risks) will give you the best chance at dodging a cold.
Colds are irritating. People often brainstorm ways to prevent the inconvenient cold. Are there steps we can take to make our bodies stronger against the sniffles? What are the tricks to avoid a cold?
What Causes a Cold?
The rhinovirus is usually the cause of the common cold. However, many viruses can cause colds. These viruses infect the upper respiratory tract, including the nose. That’s why you get that awful sore throat and a runny nose. A common cold isn’t usually dangerous. However, a cold can cause more serious infections (pneumonia and bronchitis) in people with compromised immune systems.
Young infants could also show more serious complications if they contract a cold, as could the elderly. The common cold is nothing to sneeze at. It can cause in big issues. It’s wise to prepare ways to prevent colds.
We’ll go over seven good ways to prevent a cold in the next sections.
Why are colds so annoying? Because the running nose and the sore throat often walk the line between “should I go to work, or call in?” It’s just enough sickness to make a person miserable, but not quite enough to totally debilitate them.
With that said, many of us would like to prevent colds. So, in this article, we present the best ways to prevent the pesky cold.
Here are the seven ways to prevent a cold:
1. Good hygiene and handwashing
2. Getting enough sleep
3. Avoid sick people
4. Taking vitamins
5. Avoiding super dry environments
6. Refrain from touching your face
7. Disinfect dirty surfaces
Alright, let’s look at these cold preventions in more depth.
Note: the cold and the flu (influenza) are two different things. However, you can use these same steps to protect against the flu. With that said, there is a vaccine offered for the flu, but there is no vaccine currently offered for the cold.
Let’s jump in.
Prevent a Cold with Good Handwashing and Hygiene
Our hands touch everything, making them prime germ spreaders. History has proven that keeping your hands clean will prevent you from catching colds.
Handwashing is important because we touch our food and drinks. If your hands are dirty, they can easily transport germs directly into your body.
Tips on washing your hands to prevent a cold:
1. Don’t forget to scrub. A quick rinse with cold water won’t be as effective as scrubbing every area of your hands with soap and warm water.
2. Remember to wash kids’ hands. Kids are known to transport germs everywhere. They touch everything. So, remind young kids in the house to wash their hands often.
3. When to wash your hands. Wash hands anytime you touch something suspected of germs – especially before and after cooking and before and after eating.
In addition to washing your hands, it’s also smart to maintain good overall hygiene in your home. Reminding kids to clean dishes and refrain from sharing cups and silverware can help reduce the spread of viruses.
Let’s talk about another way to prevent a cold.
Get Enough Sleep and Combat Stress
If your body is like a car, then sleep is like an oil change. If you drive your car non-stop and never maintain it, it will fall apart, leaving you stranded. The same thing happens to the human body. If you go, go, go and never rest, you can take a major toll on your body. Lack of sleep leads to a low functioning immune system. Getting good sleep can help prevent colds.
Know this: there is a difference between sleep and good sleep. Some people think they are sleeping well when, really, they could be sleeping better. To get good sleep at night, take some time to wind down before bed. Also, try to go to bed at a regular time each night. The goal is to help your body establish a healthy rhythm.
When you don’t sleep well, your body loses vital immune system function – meaning your bodyguards quit and leave the enemy open to invade. Keep your defenses strong. Get good sleep.
Along with sleep, you should also take time to relax and avoid stress. Lack of sleep and stress go hand in hand. If you want to prevent a cold, make sure you’re getting good sleep and taking steps to avoid stress.
Avoid Sick People
It’s as simple as it sounds. If you know someone is sick with a cold, think twice before interacting with that person. Unfortunately, society has a history of thinking it’s better to “tough it out.” Perhaps with the recent pandemic, this has changed.
If you notice a co-worker is constantly coming to work while sick, encourage them to take the day off. If your work environment frequently allows sick people to work, it may be time to chat with management. When you’re sick, you need rest. There’s nothing “tough” about making others sick.
Take Vitamins and Get Good Nutrition
Some vitamins, like Vitamin D, can protect you from catching a cold. Also, Zinc, a mineral, can boost your immune system.
With that said, vitamins are no excuse for eating healthy, balanced meals. If you eat mostly unhealthy food, don’t expect taking a vitamin to magically protect you from illness.
To prevent a cold, do what you can to eat nutritious, whole foods. Not only will you shield yourself from a cold, but you’ll feel better in general. Win-win!
Avoid Super Dry Conditions
If your home becomes really dry, consider a humidifier. If your environment is dry, it can cause the inside of your nose to dry out (the mucous membranes). This creates a problem, as your nose plays an integral role in catching germs before they move deeper into your body.
If the mucous membranes in your nose dry out, you lose a layer of immune protection and could be more susceptible to catching a cold. How do you know if your house is too dry? If you notice the backs of your hands cracking during the winter, your home might be too dry.
Note: Be careful to keep your humidifier clean. Though providing some humidity is helpful in some instances, too much moisture can lead to germ growth and mold.
Refrain from Touching Your Face
Let’s face it; you can’t wash your hands every second of the day. We should all do the best we can; however, in addition to building the habit of washing hands, you should break another habit: touching your face.
Touching your face causes a direct transfer of germs from our hands to our face. If you’re trying to prevent a cold, the goal is to keep germs as far away from your face as possible.
Some people say they never get sick. If you question them about their secret to a life of health, many will tell you, “I never touch my face.” If you must touch your face, try to wash your hands first.
Disinfect Germ-Covered Objects
Look around your home and office. Instead of thinking about your living space like a room, think about it as a battlefield – with little, microscopic colonies waiting to strike. Germs hide in plain sight, so you need to step back and calculate where your home is harboring these tiny invaders.
Here are a few areas germs like to hide:
1. Doorknobs. Just think about all the people who touch your front door – everybody. If you can, take some time to give the doorknob a good cleaning.
2. Kitchen sink. The kitchen sink can become quite dirty. Ensure no old food or residue is hiding germs.
3. Keyboards. This one goes for work and home. How many employees touch the finger scanner to clock-in? Yeah. Probably, a lot. Think about all these touchpoints.
4. Your phone. These days, smartphones are like an extension of our hands. Just like our hands, you should clean your phone from time to time.
Take your time to think about places germs might spread. There’s no need to fear germs; however, you shouldn’t ignore them. Taking reasonable, appropriate steps to disinfect your home will make you and your family safer; and help you prevent colds.
Key Takeaway on Avoiding Colds
To avoid a cold, you need to take active steps. First, focus on staying healthy. This means getting good sleep, trying to unwind and remove stress, and doing your best to eat healthy food.
Also, if you can, avoid people who are sick. Teach kids about sneezing into their elbows and show them how to wash their hands. Be vigilant about keeping things clean.
You might not prevent every sickness; however, by taking a few simple steps, you’re on your way to catching fewer colds. After cleaning those door handles, check out this article on the myths about treating colds with antibiotics.