Colds are really common and can lead to missed work, doctor visits and copays, missed school and more. So let’s talk about ways to avoid colds this winter so you can stay healthy, have more $ in your pocket, and miss fewer obligations.
Most of the ways to avoid a cold are common sense, but if not practiced with regularity put you at greater risk to exposure to germs and viruses that can make you sick.
How to Avoid a Cold
1. Wash your hands
Sounds simple enough. Colds are passed most frequently through the direct contact of secretions or from a contaminated surface. Pretty gross. If you wash your hands, you won’t spread colds from contact, and will be less likely to infect yourself by touching an infected surface then face, mouth, etc. Regular hand washing will greatly reduce your likelihood of catching a cold.
2. Cough into your elbow or a tissue
It is great to cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing so your germs don’t go airborne, but germs cling to hands, so when you cough into your hand, you may infect someone else by touching things like doorknobs, etc. If you sneeze, try to sneeze into your elbow, or use a tissue to catch the cough or sneeze, then throw it away. This will help you spread fewer germs. Implementing this practice in a classroom or home will help cut down the spread of germs.
3. Stay well hydrated
Staying hydrated is not only important for ideal body function, but can also help you flush toxins, and give your body what it needs to stay healthy, or get back to healthy faster if need be.
4. Eat healthy foods rich in nutrients
You would not drive a car without fuel and expect it to function properly, so don’t try to drive your body without fueling it properly. Foods high in fats, sugars, and refined grains will bog the body down, whereas those rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc. will give the body what it needs for optimal function and illness fighting. In the winter months it is easy to eat junk because the fresh foods are not as readily available. Focus on nutrient dense foods, leafy greens, and unprocessed for the best results.
5. Steam in a sauna
Odd as it sounds, one study showed those who steamed at least twice a week had half as many colds. This may be that it keeps the nasal passages from getting too dry, or it may have something to do with viruses not surviving as well in high temperatures. Either way, if you find yourself coming down with too many colds, try regular visits to a steam room.
6. Don’t smoke
Smoking dries out the nasal passages, and can make the hairs that line the mucous membranes less effective. Thus cold and flu viruses can more easily enter the body. In addition, smoking can decrease immune response, meaning you’ll stay sick longer.
7. Get some exercise
Your likelihood of a cold is cut in half by regular exercise, as it will bolster the immune system, and keep the heart healthy, which helps the body to naturally fight off germs.
8. Find ways to alleviate or reduce stress
Stress will depress the immune system and make you more susceptible to colds. Find ways to reduce and manage stress to better fight cold viruses. Try meditation!
9. Get sunshine
The body needs Vitamin D, so get some sunshine when it is available and consider supplementing or eating fortified foods during the months when there is less sun to be had.
The body needs sleep to rebuild and repair. Keep your immune system healthy and able to fight off viruses and germs by getting adequate sleep each night.
Making a habit out of these ten things will help you avoid the sniffling, sneezing, running nose, hacking cough, common cold part of these colder months.