Cough & Cold

Ways to Help Prevent Colds

If you’ve read Tips for relief of your cough and cold symptoms, you know that viruses are often the cause of a cough or cold. The best way to beat a virus is to avoid it in the first place. Here’s how to do just that:

  1. Avoid contact with people who are sick. If you work outside the home, this may be difficult to do; however, you can ask people to not visit your home if they have a cold or flu.
  2. Wash your hands often. This is the simplest and most effective way to prevent infecting yourself and others: [from]
    • Use warm water and soap.
    • Briskly rub your hands together for 15 to 20 seconds.
    • Wash in between your fingers, around your nails and the back of your hands.
    • To prevent germs and viruses from spreading or entering your system (or someone else’s), wash up after you shake hands with someone who is sick, take out the garbage, pet animals, change a diaper or use the bathroom. Also wash your hands after you blow your nose, sneeze, or cough into your hands. Wash your hands before you eat or prepare a meal or snack, treat a wound or put in contact lenses.
  3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. This is a common way for a virus to enter your body from your hands.
  4. Cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing. If you don’t have a tissue within reach, sneeze or cough into your folded elbow rather than on your hands.
  5. When someone in your household is sick:
    • Use separate towels
    • Use separate drinking cups and utensils
    • Ensure dishes are washed well with soap in hot water
  6. Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer with you for those times when a washroom isn’t close by.
  7. Manage your stress. Too much stress may reduce your body’s ability to fight infection and ward off a cough or cold. (Yet another reason to get the work/life balance you’ve been meaning to find.)
  8. Get active. You don’t need to train for a triathlon or marathon to prevent a cough or cold. A brisk walk or other low-impact cardio exercise can stimulate your immune system and activate your body’s infection-fighting defenses.
  9. Eat right. Another way to keep your immune system in high gear is to eat a balanced diet filled with low-fat, high-fibre foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, and fewer processed foods. This will help your body be well equipped to fight off cough- or cold-causing viruses.
  10. Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated and help flush out toxins.

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