Common Cold Prevention

Keep Your Hands Down

Touching your nose, mouth, and eyes with contaminated hands makes it easy for cold and flu viruses to enter the body. Others can become ill by just coming in contact with someone who has become infected with a cold or flu virus or who has been in a contaminated area.
 

Keep Surfaces Clean

Rhinoviruses can live up to 3 hours on your skin. They also can survive up to 3 hours on objects such as telephones and stair railings. Cleaning environmental surfaces with a virus-killing disinfectant, available at most grocery stores, can help prevent the spread of infection. A solution of 1 part bleach mixed with 10 parts water also is effective in killing viruses.
 

Avoid People With Colds

Sometimes people are infected with a virus and they don't know it because they haven't experienced symptoms yet. If possible, avoid people who you know have colds.
 
Keep infants away from crowds for the first few months of life. This is especially important for premature babies, who may have underlying abnormalities like lung disease and heart disease.
 
If keeping your distance is too difficult -- as in the case of parents who can't help but hold and kiss their sick kids -- then wash your hands frequently and keep surfaces clean with a virus-killing disinfectant.
 

Practice Healthy Habits

Eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and exercising can help the immune system better fight off the germs that cause illness.
 
Because smoking interferes with the mechanisms that keep bacteria and debris out of the lungs, those who use tobacco or who are exposed to secondhand smoke are more prone to respiratory illnesses and complications of the common cold than nonsmokers.
 
If you've been feeling run down, some stress management might not be a bad idea. Research scientists have found that people who experience more stress are more likely to get sick and experience worse symptoms.
 
Common cold research has also shown that the more social you are, the less likely you are to get sick. It could be because having more social contacts and support is less stressful than keeping to yourself.
 
5 Tips to Keep a Cold at Bay

Common Colds

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