How can I lower my chances of getting a cold?

At some point or another, everyone catches a cold. Colds are an inevitable part of living around other people. Whether it’s at work, school, or at the grocery store, we all come into contact with cold viruses and can fall susceptible to the awful symptoms that follow. While it’s impossible to completely avoid catching a cold, there are a number of ways to lower your chances.

Wash your hands

While it may seem obvious, washing your hands can dramatically reduce the risk of catching a cold. According to the Cleveland Clinic, regular hand washing is the most important factor in keeping germs at bay.1

That being said, splashing water on your hands doesn’t quite cut it. You’ll need to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, followed by a complete rinse. It’s a good idea to make sure you are scrubbing areas like in between your fingers and past your wrists.

Healthy diet

Another important way to lower your chances of a cold is maintaining a healthy and balanced diet. Your diet can work for or against you, and if you’re fueling your body with the right foods it can help your immune system to stay fired up.2

The 2019 Canada Food Guide outlines a mixture of vegetables and fruit, proteins foods, and whole grains as ideal for healthy meal and snack choices.3 Be sure to supply your body with the correct vitamins and nutrients. If you find it difficult to reach adequate recommended levels through diet alone, supplements can be a welcomed option.

Don’t share your food and drinks

Try your best to refrain from sharing food and drinks, particularly during cold season. While sharing snacks or water bottles can seem harmless (and even polite), sharing isn’t always caring. Your friends and family members can be ill before they begin to show the symptoms or still contagious after their symptoms subside. Making a habit of keeping separate plates, utensils, and cups can reduce the risk of viruses transferring between two people.

Get a good night’s sleep

Sleep is a key to keeping your immune system in tip-top shape. According to the Mayo Clinic, individuals who don’t get enough quality or quantity of sleep are more likely to fall prey to a virus (like the cold virus) when exposed to it than those who are well rested. The Mayo Clinic suggests seven to eight hours of sleep per night for adults, nine to 10 hours per night for teenagers, and 10 or more hours of sleep for school-aged children. 4

If you feel the beginning of a cold coming on, getting a good night’s sleep could also give your body enough energy to fight it off. While falling asleep with those early symptoms can be difficult, there are tips to do so.

Reduce your stress

Feeling particularly stressed out? Find healthy ways to decrease your stress levels and you might be able to outrun a runny nose. Stress can weaken an immune system, making it much more difficult to fight colds and other illnesses.

When you’re under stress, your body produces more of the stress hormone cortisol. While cortisol in short bursts can be helpful, extended high levels of this hormone can be problematic. Stress can also decrease the white blood cells that help you to fight infections, increasing the risk of falling ill when exposed to a virus like a common cold.5

Practice proper cold etiquette (and teach it to your kids!)

Nothing strikes panic into the hearts of healthy people during cold season like somebody sneezing all over them. Not only can it spread germs, but it’s also really gross to be coughed or sneezed on. If you are sick, be sure to cough or sneeze into your elbow and not onto others.1 If you’re in a position to teach others, be it your kids or coworkers, demonstrating proper cold etiquette can help others avoid getting sick too. It’s also just good manners!

Following these tips can reduce but not entirely eliminate your chances of catching a cold. If you do find yourself feeling under the weather and in need of symptom relief, try reaching for Coldrops®or Coldrops® Mister. Free from sugar, artificial sweeteners, and decongestants, Coldrops® and Coldrops® Mister deliver a soothing, minty feeling you can take with you anywhere.

References:

  1. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/17474-a-simple-secret-for-staying-well-wash-your-hands
  2. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system
  3. https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/
  4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/expert-answers/lack-of-sleep/faq-20057757
  5. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-happens-when-your-immune-system-gets-stressed-out/

Baden Russell-Petigrow | Social Media, Ddrops

A part of the Ddrops team, Baden can be found chatting with moms across the globe about a variety of infant-health related topics. A graduate of Boston University’s Master of Science in Health Communications, she loves reading, writing, and nature.