Many illnesses wreak havoc on the population in the winter, and the common cold is no exception. According to the CDC, adults get colds an average of 2-3 times per year, and that number is even higher in children. The common cold is caused by coronaviruses and rhinoviruses, and it is the most common infectious disease among humans.
Symptoms of the common cold include sore throat, runny nose, coughing, and sneezing. It is the number one reason adults miss work and children miss school, and it spreads like wildfire in the winter, when people are more likely to get sick.
According to Dr. Bollard at Premier Health Associates, “Prevention is always the best way to go when avoiding illness. For influenza it’s vaccination, and for colds it’s avoiding germs– that means using hand sanitizer and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth in public spaces.”
Here are a list of ways to prevent getting the common cold this season.
Avoiding germs is the number one way to prevent illness. Showering daily, using alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and washing your hands for 20 seconds are all ways to wash germs off of your body. Other ways to avoid getting germs inside your body include washing your hands before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, and disinfecting shared surfaces, like keyboards, doorknobs, and telephones.
To avoid sharing germs with others, always use your own toothbrush, utensils, and drinking glasses.
Regular exercise has been shown to accelerate the circulation of white blood cells, which help your immune system fight off infection.
Many people have vitamin D deficiencies and don’t even realize it. Vitamin D deficiencies can weaken your immune system. In the winter, you are more likely to have a deficiency because your skin doesn’t absorb as much sunlight.
One way to make sure you are getting adequate vitamin D is to get it through the food you eat. Egg yolks, mushrooms, salmon, and canned tuna are high in vitamin D. You can also get vitamin D supplements at your local pharmacy.
Getting the sleep your body needs is extremely important for your immune system to work properly. Cytokines are proteins that are released while you sleep. These proteins help your body fight off infections and regulate your immune system.