5 Things You Can Do to Prevent a Cold

When temperatures dip outside, it’s more important than ever to be vigilant about cold prevention and staving off illness. According to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of infection for cold and flu viruses typically peaks between December and February, and as people gather with friends and loved ones for seasonal celebrations, one pair of unwashed hands can do a lot of damage.

To minimize your risks of being stuffed up and sneezing this winter, take these important cold prevention precautions below.

Cold Prevention

1. Wash your hands!

It is said a lot and it bears repeating: hand-washing is one of the most critical steps you can take to avoid getting sick. Colds and flu germs are usually spread through touching a contagious person or an infected surface. Since our hands do most of the touching, they are the first site of defense.

Use hot soap and water to cleanse your hands throughout the day, and carry hand sanitizer while you’re out. Also be sure to touch your face as little as possible.

cold prevention

2. Get vaccinated.

The flu vaccine is not a “catch-all,” as it only prevents the most common strains predicted for the season. However, one recent study reported that vaccination decreased adult flu-related hospitalizations by 71%, so don’t skip it!

Flu vaccines are inexpensive and widely available, and you’ll probably agree that a few minutes spent getting an injection is well worth saving you a week surrounded by tissues in bed.

3. Don’t skimp on sleep.

You need to be well-rested to keep your immune system in top condition for fending off viruses. This study, conducted by a sleep researcher at UC San Francisco, actually found that those who get six hours or less per night are four times more likely to catch a cold when exposed. For cold prevention aim for at least seven or eight hours a night.

4. Exercise regularly.

As the weather gets colder, it can be tempting to stay indoors curled up on the couch watching TV instead of going outside or driving to the gym. However, it’s in your best interests to resist the urge. No need to run marathons or deadlift three times your body weight, but CNN reports that 30-90 minutes of moderate exercise each day will boost your immunity and help you stay healthy. (Plus, it’ll help you burn off those calories from holiday indulgences.)

5. Eat right.

Fruits, vegetables, and other nutritional foods (especially vitamin D and omega-3 fats), etc. provide the healthy fuel your body needs. Be conscious of what you’re not supposed to eat as well – if the first ingredient in your holiday diet is sugar, think of healthier alternatives.

You may also want to read: Hand Sanitizer vs. Soap and Water