While “catching” the common cold can be a nuisance 365 days a year, there are definitely certain seasons where it’s more prevalent. Wintertime is a key time for illnesses to flourish – mainly because people congregate inside more often (hey, it’s chilly outside!), and also because immune systems can be a little run down during the chillier months.
Sometimes hardly a week will pass before another batch of sniffles comes into the house! Being sick is never fun, and it’s vital to avoid it when you can.
So, how do you protect yourself and your family from the common cold? After all, there are millions and millions of cases of people catching colds each year. Most adults regularly battle 2-3 colds annually, and children generally have a few more than that! How do we stay healthy? Read on to learn a little more about colds in general and how you can keep your nose from running away from you this winter.
Know-How Colds Spread
First of all, let’s clarify how communicable diseases like the common cold pass from one person to another and how easily they pass. The most common way these colds go from one person to another is by spreading germs through direct contact. Saliva, respiratory droplets, and stool are the typical culprits of this type of transmission. That is why it is very important to always wash your hands and be mindful of the germs you are spreading. Respiratory viruses can live on infected people’s skin and on communal surfaces in a shared space, and it’s all too easy for them to spread around.
An example is when someone sneezes into their hand and then shakes another person’s hand. The second person later touches their face and inhales the germs or the virus causing them to now contract what the first person had. Touching our noses and mouths is often just an unconscious action, and we don’t realize that we may have just inadvertently gotten ourselves sick. Being around infected people and not staying diligent is a common way to catch a cold!
Tips To Stay Healthy
Without a doubt, develop the following helpful habits that will help protect you from contracting communicable diseases such as the common cold:
Wash Your Hands Regularly – While hand sanitizer is all the rage, remember that basic soap, water, and rubbing your hands together for 20 seconds or more is the most effective way to keep clean. Wash your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom, coming in contact with an infected person, or touching any coon surfaces that might have respiratory viruses on them.
- Sneeze Like Dracula – This is a great tip for kids and adults alike! When you are ready to sneeze, bring your entire arm up and sneeze/cough into the inner crook of your elbow – just like Dracula would. This action reduces the “spray” and keeps your hands sneeze- and germ-free.
- Wear A Mask – If 2020 and the global pandemic had any sort of silver lining, it’s that most of the population noticed that when they regularly wear a mask, especially a high-quality safety respirator mask, they don’t get as sick with common bugs as they would if they did not have the mask on. Not only do you avoid breathing in extra germs and droplets that you and others are putting out into the air, but it will also keep you from touching your nose and mouth.
- Avoid Sick People – If you can, keep your distance from other people who are showing signs of having a cold, particularly in enclosed areas. It might not feel very kind, but it’s one of the easiest ways to avoid germs.
What To Do If You Catch A Cold
If you find yourself experiencing any of the following symptoms, you very well might have a common cold: sneezing, itchy eyes, sore throat, coughing, sinus pressure, headaches, or body aches. This is not the end of the world! With plenty of rest, fluids, and a balanced diet, most folks can kick the common cold within 7-10 days. Take it easy, and allow your body the time to heal thoroughly.
Stay Vigilant, Stay Healthy
Part of the solution is minding the above and working to keep yourself safe from communicable diseases like the common cold. However, don’t forget that IF you end up catching the sniffles, it’s a good idea to reduce your outings to avoid getting others sick. If we all practice some common courtesy and basic hygiene, we can reduce the spread of illness and enjoy life a bit more.
Maggie graduated from Utah Valley University with a degree in communication and writing. In her spare time, she loves to dance, read, and bake. She also enjoys traveling and scouting out new brunch locations.