Health and Fitness

Published on October 12th, 2011 | by Guest Contributor


Cold Prevention Tips

A Tree in Winter

Who doesn’t long for fall and eventually winter?  The winter months are filled with so much warmth, family, baked goods (yum!)….and colds.  Ick.

It is estimated that average adult suffers two to five colds per year. Wow. Sounds like a lot doesn’t it? It makes sense considering that more than one hundred viruses can cause the common cold.

So what can you do to enjoy all the good parts of the winter months while avoiding the ickiness that can come with it?

Wash your hands

When discussing prevention of the common cold, the first thing you’ll read and hear about over and over is washing your hands.  It is the most basic way to avoid getting and passing along the common cold.  Wash after blowing your nose, sneezing, using the restroom, and before handling food.  Good old soap and water will do the trick.  Avoid the antibacterial options as they may contain triclosan and the jury is still out as to the possible health benefits or even health detriments of the chemical.  The FDA is scheduled to comment officially in the winter of 2012.  In the meantime, err on the side of caution and stick to standard soap and water – the tried and true solution.

Hand Wipes

Don’t have access to soap and water?  There is debate about the use of antibacterial gels.  Some say that the alcohol based gels can be just as effective if not more so than hand washing.  For those who are concerned about the potential danger to children, here’s a recipe for a low alcohol version you can make at home.

Clean Surfaces

Wiping down commonly touched surfaces is always a good idea.  Door knobs, phone receivers, and computer mice are common ones that are often overlooked.  If you have kids who are in school or daycare, surface cleaning is doubly important as children are in close contact with so many other children during the day.  To keep it green, don’t buy the disposable wipes.  Instead, you can make your own reusable version that is just as convenient.

Maintain Healthy Immune System

There are also a few things that each individual can do personally to avoid getting sick.  Sleep is first and foremost.  It is so important for maintaining a healthy immune system.  Second, ensure you are eating a well balanced diet.  There are some great suggestions for what to eat to avoid a common cold.

Elderberry Syrup Ingredients


A carefully chosen multivitamin doesn’t hurt and you can add a daily shot of elderberry syrup for good measure.  You can purchase the syrup at most health food stores, or make it at home.

Neti Pot

Finally, use a neti pot.  It is a wondrous option for use daily or at least when any sinus concerns are noted.  Avid users and many medication-free allergy sufferers (myself included) cannot go a day without using it.  It helps relieve the congestion and allows you to breathe better.  Still skeptical? WedMD has a great video that includes a physician discussion and some tips.

Do you have a favorite cold prevention tip?

 References: Mayo Clinic, American Society for Microbiology

Image Sources: CC Images by Miss a Liss, FoshydogMr. T in DC, Anders via Flickr

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