How to Prevent a Cold
No one wants to get sick. Yet, unfortunately, when cold and flu season hits, most of us end up missing a few days of work as we try to recover. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. What if you didn’t have to get sick at all? Sounds ideal — doesn’t it? But, how exactly do you prevent a cold?
While you may not be able to prevent getting sick entirely, you can significantly decrease your odds. It all comes down to what you do. But first, let’s take a look at what exactly a cold is and learn about its warning signs.
What is a Cold?
The common cold is a virus. This virus typically enters the body through the mouth, nose, or eyes. It often spreads from person to person, frequently through droplets when someone coughs, talks, or sneezes. While a cold might only put you out of commission for a few days, for some, it can last for up to two weeks.
This virus impacts your upper respiratory tract, including the respiratory mucus in your sinuses, throat, nose, and larynx. The rhinovirus is the most common form of a cold. In the worst cases, it can lead to pneumonia, bronchitis or bronchiolitis.
Symptoms and Warning Signs
Typically, cold symptoms will arise within 2-3 days of exposure. These symptoms may include:
- Sore throat
- Body aches
- A low fever
Some of the most common initial warning signs include a tickle in your throat, headaches, chills, and general feelings of fatigue and feeling unwell. As soon as you start to feel off, it’s time to start seriously taking care of yourself to prevent things from becoming worse.
How You Can Prevent A Cold
So, what can you do to prevent a cold? Generally, most of these tips come down to taking care of yourself regularly. A healthy body is primed to fight off any foreign invaders, which means you are less likely to get sick. Use our tips below to help fight off that next threatening cold.
1. Wash Your Hands
Most of us learn this one in daycare. Yet, a friendly reminder never hurts! Wash your hands before you eat, before you cook, when you enter your home, and after using the washroom. Each time you wash your hands, use soap and water. This should take at least 20 seconds. Wash your hands while singing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice to help you count.
Regular exercise can boost immunity and health. The key is to do just enough - but not too much. Over exercising can have just as many harmful effects on your health as not moving enough. Generally, exercise can help flush out bacteria from your body, such as the airways and lungs. It also causes antibodies and white blood cells (that help fight off foreign invaders) to circulate through the body more, which means that they can attack any foreign entity faster.
3. Avoid Touching Your Face
Like handwashing, this one is pretty basic. But like we said, a reminder never hurts. Try to limit and avoid how much you touch your face. This will prevent germs from transferring from your hands to your mouth, eyes, or nose.
4. Drink Plenty of Fluids
This is all about flushing your body again and keeping your body hydrated. After all, you’re made up of roughly 60% water. Keep a glass of water or water bottle close by and ensure you drink it regularly throughout your day.
5. Prioritize Sleep
Sleep is so important for repair and rejuvenation. If you’re not getting enough sleep, your body is more likely to become stressed. This means that you’re actually more susceptible to illness. The best thing you can do for your overall health is to prioritize your sleep. This means going to bed and waking up at the same times each day and ensuring you’re priming your brain for sleep by limiting screen time before bed. Most adults need about 7-9 hours of sleep per night, so use this range to determine when you should go to bed.
6. Get Some Vitamin D and Vitamin C
Surprisingly, those that don’t get enough vitamin D are more likely to get sick. This is because vitamin D plays an essential role in various immune processes. The best way to get vitamin D? Expose yourself to some sunshine! Your skin is your best vitamin D manufacturer.
On top of vitamin D, vitamin C also helps support many immune functions. And vitamin C is super easy to obtain. Grab a glass of orange juice each day, and you’re likely getting 100% of your daily dose.
7. Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Zinc
Trace minerals often get neglected and forgotten about. Yet, they are vital to overall good health and immunity. For most vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, the best place to obtain them is from food. These are the most bioavailable sources, meaning your body can absorb and use them. Some good sources of zinc that you can begin including in your regular diet include meat, shellfish (like oysters), legumes, and dairy products.
Stop that next cold in its tracks! Taking care of yourself is step one. After that, it comes down to recognizing those early signs and knowing how to thwart that virus before it gets the best of you.