As children head back to school and the weather starts to turn colder, there is generally an increase in cases of the common cold. In addition to dealing with the threat of COVID-19, the common cold affects millions of Americans each year. It is estimated that children experience between 8-12 colds a year while adults fare slightly better and only have two to three colds a year.

Common colds can cause you to lose work and spend a few days feeling miserable. Wouldn’t it be nice to reduce your exposure and go the whole winter without catching so much as a sniffle? There is no guarantee that you can avoid illness, but you can reduce your chances by following these tips.

 

 

Wash Your Hands

The most common way a virus is transmitted is through the hands. You either shake hands with someone that has a cold or you touch the same doorknob and then pass those germs on to yourself. Many people know that it is important to wash their hands after using the restroom, but to limit the spread of and contact with germs, you need to wash your hands much more frequently. Use hot soapy water and scrub for at least 20 seconds. Try to dry your hands with a single-use towel, especially when out in public. If you don’t have access to soap and water, you can use an alcohol-based sanitizer to keep germs at bay. Wash hands after coughing, sneezing, handling food, meeting with people, and using the restroom.

5 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Catching a Cold

Limit Touching Your Face

Viruses like to enter the body through the eyes, mouth, and nose. When you touch your face with germy hands, you put the germs one step closer to your weakest areas. When you have been around someone with a cold, do you best to avoid touching your face until you have washed your hands. This is where sanitizer can be useful. After walking out of a board meeting or coming out of the grocery store, just dot some onto your hands and rub it in.

 

Avoid Bad Habits

Things like smoking and drinking can lower your immune system, though smoking causes irritation and damage to the throat and lungs. Cold symptoms often include a cough and sore throat, so any smoke inhalation can make the symptoms worse. The antiviral response of your body is also suppressed by smoking, increasing your risk of infection.

5 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Catching a Cold

Keep Your Immune System Healthy

Just like you should avoid things that compromise your immunity, you should also develop healthy eating habits to make it stronger. Supplements like  or an increased intake of fruits and vegetables can fortify your body to fight off illness. Reducing the amount of sugar you consume allows the body to spends its time attacking germs rather than trying to find a place for extra glucose. Drinking lots of water helps the blood flow more efficiently through the body, carrying nutrients that fight free radicals and virus-carrying organisms.

 

Use Disposable Items

If someone in your family member has come down with a cold, try to limit your interaction with things they touch or breathe on. Disposable cups, plates, and utensils are good for limiting contact with germs. When possible, wash dishes in the dishwasher, as the water gets hot enough to sterilize the items. Antibacterial dish soap and hot water also reduce the spread of germs.

 

 

There is no foolproof way to keep yourself from illness, but you can proactively address habits and scenarios where you are more likely to get infected. These tips can reduce your chances of coming down with a cold and spending your weekend in bed.

 

What are your favorite tips for reducing your chances of catchng a cold?

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