It’s definitely the season for colds and flus. And it’s frustrating when you think you’re doing everything right, and then WHAMMO, you get knocked out with a cold. Maybe we need to look a little further at ways to avoid getting sick in the first place.
What causes colds?
Colds are caused by viruses. These viruses spread through tiny drops of mucus, entering the air from the nasal passages of infected people. The unsuspecting victim then inhales it, or touches a surface contaminated by contact with an infected person, and then touches their mouth, nose, or eyes.
What can we do to prevent colds?
Here is a list of ways to reduce your risk of catching a cold, according to MedicineNet.com:
- Wash your hands often. This is probably the single best way to prevent transmission of colds. Frequent hand washing can destroy viruses you’ve picked up from touching surfaces used by other people. It also helps to use hand sanitizer or sanitizing hand wipes when visiting public places.
- Avoid touching your face. In particular, don’t touch your nose, mouth, and eye areas.
- Don’t smoke. This irritates the airways and increases susceptibility to colds and other infections. Even passive smoke can make you or your children more vulnerable.
- 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 of cups or glasses. Use paper towels to wash or dry hands in the kitchen and bathroom. Germs can live for several hours on cloth towels.
- Keep household surfaces clean. Surfaces, such as door knobs, drawer pulls, remote controls, and countertops, can harbor viruses for hours after their use by an infected person. Wipe these frequently with soap and water or a disinfectant solution. Wash your child’s toys, if he or she has a cold.
- Throw tissues away after use. Used tissues can contaminate any surface where they are left.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle. While there isn’t direct evidence to show that eating well or exercising can prevent colds, adequate sleep, good nutrition and physical exercise can help keep your immune system in good condition and ready to fight infection.
- Control stress. Studies show that people experiencing emotional stress have weakened immune systems and are more likely to catch a cold than their calmer counterparts.
Cold viruses are lurking out there, just waiting to strike when we let our guards down. Let’s see if we can beat the bug this cold season!