How to Prevent a Cold

 

With over 200 different viruses responsible for the common cold, and its contagious nature, it’s no wonder that there will be over 2 billion colds suffered this winter. Take steps now to prevent a nasty virus from invading your body. I spoke with Dr. Valli Stewart with NorthShore University HealthSystem about the best ways to prevent a miserable 10 days.

Wash Your Hands
Dr. Stewart stresses washing your hands every time you transition from school, work, shopping, etc. Viruses can live for several hours on surfaces you touch. Get in the habit of washing hands often, and keep a bottle of lotion nearby to moisturize. Carry hand sanitizer for times when you can’t wash.

Hands Off Your Face

Since viruses live for a few hours, touching an infected doorknob, then rubbing your eye is giving the virus entry to you. Keep your hands away from your mouth, eyes and nose.

Get Your Own
Don’t share with a sick person. Picking up the phone after your sick husband takes a call from his office, will expose you to his saliva or worse. Spend extra time cleaning surfaces that you all come in contact with like remote controls, doorknobs, countertops, handles, and keyboards. Have him use his own phone until he is well.

Be Healthy
Dr. Stewart reminds us that adequate sleep, regular aerobic exercise and good nutrition are proven ways to boost your immune system, ward off infection and prevent colds. She suggests heading to bed a little early when you feel rundown. She also cautions against smoking and the use of alcohol, both of which lower immunity.

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Don’t Stress It
Stress weakens your immune system, which opens you up to infection and the dreaded cold. Avoid situations that put you on edge, and manage unavoidable stress with yoga, meditation, exercise and socializing with friends.

Limit Exposure
Consider taking your workout outdoors rather than hitting the gym where sick people sneeze and cough. Airplanes are breeding grounds for germs. If you have a choice, avoid the crowd.

Dr. Stewart reminds us that there is no proven remedy for the common cold and that prevention is the best option. Be vigilant and maybe this will be the season you avoid a cold. Achoo.