Common cold prevention may seem simple, but it sure is important. Unlike other illnesses, the common cold can linger, wreaking havoc on your entire household. Children and elderly people are particularly susceptible to catching colds. They are the main reason children miss school and elderly persons end up in the emergency room. If you want to keep the common cold to a minimum this year, these common cold prevention tips are a great resource for anyone!
What Is the Common Cold?
If you are sick, you should always seek the advice of a medical professional. But, there are some ways you can tell if you have the common cold. The first signs are usually a sore throat and runny nose, followed by coughing and sneezing. When it comes to the common cold, it takes most people 7-10 days to recover. But there are several steps you can take for common cold prevention.
Reduce your risk of catching the common cold by washing your hands often. Avoid coming in close contact with people who are sick. Do not touch your face with unwashed hands. Each year in the United States, there are millions of cases of the common cold. Most adults have an average of 2-3 colds per year. Children are even more susceptible to frequent colds throughout the year.
Colds are more common in the winter and spring, but can really come at any time of year. The most common symptoms are:
- Body aches
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
While most people recover in 7-10 days, people with a weakened immune system may take longer to get over the common cold. That’s why common cold prevention is even more important for people with asthma or respiratory conditions.
Protect Yourself with Common Cold Prevention
The common cold is easy to spread. The viruses that cause it can be spread from person to person through personal contact, but they can also be spread through the air. When you shake hands with someone who has a cold, you can easily catch it. Additionally, when you touch common surfaces, like doorknobs, then touch your face, you can catch a cold.
So how do you reduce your risk? Here are some common cold prevention tips for everyone:
- Frequently wash your hands with soap and water. Hands should be washed for a minimum of thirty seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, use hand sanitizer. Regular hand washing can keep you from getting sick even if you come into contact with the germs of the virus.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. The easiest way for viruses to enter your body is through your eyes, nose, and mouth. When you touch these places with the germ on your hands, you will surely get sick.
- Stay away from people you know are sick. While it isn’t feasible to avoid people altogether, you can stay away from people you know are sick.
Healing from a Cold
While common cold prevention can lower your risk of catching a cold, sometimes getting sick is inevitable. Unfortunately, there is no cure for the common cold. But you can take steps to get better. Get a lot of rest and drink a lot of fluids. Talk to your doctor to see if a prescription medication is necessary. Over-the-counter medications can help, but do not speed up the healing process. They just alleviate the symptoms so you can rest better.
If your symptoms linger more than 10 days, be sure to get in contact with your doctor. Some cases of the cold can move into respiratory infections like bronchitis and pneumonia. Call your doctor immediately if you display signs of the flu. Know the difference between the flu and the common cold by reading up about it here.
Common cold prevention is an easy way to avoid catching a cold this season, but not fool-proof. In addition to the above suggestions, always be sure you eat healthily, take your vitamins, and get regular exercise. If you display severe symptoms with trouble breathing or have a child who is younger than 3 months of age that becomes lethargic, contact emergency personnel. The common cold isn’t the worst illness you can get, but it is certainly one you can do without!