Remember your cold from last winter-the congested, runny nose, headache, sore, scratchy throat, and intolerable cough that lasted for 10 days? With over 200 different viruses responsible for the common cold, and the contagious nature of the affliction, it’s no wonder that there will be over 2 billion colds suffered this winter. How to prevent common cold? Take steps now to help you fight against a nasty virus from invading your body.
How To Prevent Common Cold
Wash your hands: Wash your hands every time you transition from work, shopping, eating, and of course the bathroom. Viruses can live for several hours on surfaces you touch. The CDC recommends washing with soap and water and scrubbing for at least 20 seconds. Focus on the area between your fingers and under your nails. Get in the habit of washing often and keep a bottle of hand lotion nearby to moisturize. Carry hand sanitizer for times when you can’t wash with soap and water.
Stay off your face: Since viruses live for a few hours, touching an infected door knob, keypad at the grocery store, or a fuel pump, then rubbing your eye is inviting the virus to attack. Keep your hands away from your mouth, eyes, and nose and wash as soon as possible.
Get your own: Don’t share with a sick person. Picking up the phone after your sick husband’s work call, will expose you to his germs. Spend extra time cleaning surfaces that you all come in contact with like remote controls, door knobs, countertops, handles, and keyboards. Make sure to avoid drinking from the same glass or silverware!
Be healthy: Adequate sleep, regular aerobic exercise, and good nutrition are proven ways to boost your immune system, ward off infection and prevent colds. Head to bed a little early when you feel rundown. Avoid smoking and the use of alcohol, both of which have been proven to lower immunity.
Don’t stress it: Stress weakens your immune system opening you up to infection and the dreaded cold. Avoid stressful situations and take steps to manage stress with yoga, meditation, exercise, and socializing with friends. Make time to relax with reading, cooking, crafting, or chatting on the phone.
Limit exposure: Consider adding some outdoor workouts when seasonal threats are high, and if you are not feeling 100%, limit your time with others until you are feeling better.
Add humidity: Dry winter air removes moisture from nasal passages. This makes it harder for mucous membranes to fight off germs. Use a humidifier in the living and sleeping spaces to keep nasal passages moist. Use distilled water in the machine and keep it clean. Sitting water can lead to mold formation.
Get your D: Most of us are Vitamin D deficient. Research proves that low vitamin D makes you more susceptible to upper respiratory illness. It becomes harder to get Vitamin D from sunlight in the winter and those with darker skin have an especially difficult time absorbing and converting Vitamin D from the sun. Have your doctor check your levels at your next checkup to ensure that your levels are optimal and recommend supplementing if necessary.
There is no proven remedy for the common cold. Prevention is the best option. If you do get sick:
- stay home to rest and avoid getting others sick
- rest….sleep, nap, and avoid stress
- stay hydrated with plain water
- take OTC medications (with approval of your physician) to relieve symptoms to help with sleep
Be vigilant and maybe this will be the season you avoid a cold.
Achoo! Stay well and Roll Strong this winter!
by Christy Coughlin