Preventing the Common Cold

The common cold definitely lives up to its name. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults usually get 2-3 colds each year, and kids get them even more frequently. While winter is usually considered “cold season”, in reality you can catch a cold during any season. Luckily, there are steps you can take to defend yourself throughout the year against the viruses that cause colds.

Wash your hands

This advice is given often because it works. Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, making sure to rub all surfaces of the hands, is a very effective way to remove pathogens. Hand washing is particularly important after coming into contact with people who are sick and after contact with public surfaces such as doorknobs and grocery cart handles. Cleaning your hands with hand sanitizer is acceptable if it’s the only option, but washing with soap and water is always the best choice.

Avoid touching your face

It’s impossible to keep your hands entirely germ-free every minute of every day. However, keeping your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth will help prevent pathogens such as cold viruses from entering your body. Make sure your hands are clean before eating and before rubbing your eyes or nose.

Bolster your immune system

When viruses do enter your body, it’s important to have a strong defense ready to fight them off. Harvard Medical School suggests some daily habits that keep the immune system working at its best. Including a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet, getting enough sleep each night, keeping your weight in a healthy range, and exercising regularly are all effective immunity-boosting strategies. Unsurprisingly, these lifestyle habits do more than just help fend off infection–they also lead to better overall health.

The common cold often seems like an inevitable source of misery, but there is no need to feel helpless against it. You can take steps to reduce your risk of illness and beat the odds of catching a cold.

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