How to stay healthy and avoid getting sick altogether.
Ways to Help Prevent Colds
Viruses are often the cause of a cough, cold or flu. The best way to beat a virus is to avoid it in the first place.
Here’s how to do just that:
- Avoid contact with people who are sick. If you work outside the home, this may be difficult to do; however, you can ask people to not visit if they have a cold or flu.
- Wash your hands often. This is the simplest and most effective way to prevent infecting yourself and others.
- Use warm water and soap.
- Briskly rub your hands together for 15 to 20 seconds.
- Wash in between your fingers, under and around your nails and the back of your hands.
- To prevent germs and viruses from spreading or entering your system (or someone else’s), wash up after you: shake hands with someone who is sick, take out the garbage, pet animals, change a diaper, or use the bathroom. Also, wash your hands after you blow your nose, sneeze or cough into your hands. Wash your hands before you eat or prepare a meal or snack, treat a wound or put in contact lenses.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. This is a common way for a virus to enter your body from your hands.
- Cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing. If you don’t have a tissue within reach, sneeze or cough into your folded elbow rather than on your hands.
- When someone in your household is sick:
- Use separate towels.
- Use separate drinking cups and utensils.
- Ensure dishes are washed well with soap in hot water.
- Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer with you for those times when a washroom is not close by.
- Manage your stress. Too much stress may reduce your body’s ability to fight infection and ward off a cough or cold. (Yet another reason to get the work/life balance you’ve been meaning to find.)
- Get active. You don’t need to train for a triathlon or marathon to prevent a cough or cold. A brisk walk or other low-impact cardio exercise can stimulate your immune system and activate your body’s infection-fighting defenses.
- Eat right. Another way to keep your immune system in high gear is to eat a balanced diet filled with low-fat, high-fiber foods like fresh fruits and vegetables. This will help your body be well-equipped to fight off a virus.
- Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
Living Well. © McNeil Consumer Healthcare, division of Johnson & Johnson Inc. 2006
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