Avoiding the Common Cold: Five Tips

Do you find yourself getting sick more often than you’d like? We all know the signs: a runny nose, scratchy throat, and sneezing.

Some estimates suggest that Americans have 1 billion colds a year. The “common cold” is caused by a virus. More than 200 types of viruses can lead to the common cold symptoms, but the most common is the rhinovirus, which brings on 10-40% of colds.

A cold begins when a virus attaches to the linings of your nose or throat. Your immune system then sends out white blood cells to attack the invading virus. Your nose and throat can become inflamed and generate excess mucus. And, with all this energy spent trying to fight the cold virus, your body can be left feeling tired and miserable.

One of the most common ways we acquire a cold virus is by touching a germy surface – a doorknob, a phone, a coffee mug – and then touching the nose or mouth. Or, you can catch it just by breathing in the virus if you are near someone who is sick.

Here are top tips for avoiding the common cold:

Stay away!

When a person sneezes, germs fly through the air, as far as 15 feet away. Make an effort to steer clear of sick friends, family, and coworkers, as hard as it may be. If you’re feeling sick, take time off so you don’t spread the virus.

Get some sleep.

Studies show that Americans simply don’t get enough sleep. But research shows that getting adequate amounts of rest can give a big boost to the immune system, which can help you fight off viruses faster. One study showed that people who get eight or more hours of sleep were less likely to come down with a cold than those who slept fewer than seven hours.

Eat right.

Healthy foods can help boost our immune response. Deep green veggies, and orange produce have important vitamins like C and E and can help your body be prepared for the common cold.

Stay hydrated.

Dehyrdation can leave the body in a vulnerable state. Drink plenty of water each day.

If your symptoms aren’t going away and you can’t kick your cold, it may be something more severe. Never be afraid to talk to your primary care provider about your symptoms so that you can receive a proper diagnosis.

If you need to find a primary care provider, use our online Find a Doctor tool or call UP Health System – Marquette at 906.225.9440.

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