The common cold – head cold, chest cold, little cold, bad cold, whatever cold – no one wants to get one. Because let’s face it, having a cold is never a good time. You can’t breathe, your head hurts, your throat hurts and don’t even get us started on the runny nose! Not only is it annoying, it’s painful after you’ve had to blow your nose too many times to count, but you know it’s a lot because your box of tissues is empty and you look like Rudolph! And did you know there are over 200 cold viruses out there? Luckily there are a few things you can do to make yourself and your loved ones less susceptible to catching one of them.

Wash your hands – often and well.

This one you’ve heard probably a million times over, but it is the number one way to keep colds at bay. The key being to wash your hands frequently and with soap and water – preferably for the duration it takes you to sing the Happy Birthday song two times through. Viruses spread through touching contaminated surfaces and personal contact such as shaking hands. In addition, they can live on doorknobs, shopping cart handles, countertops, sinks and more for as long as 24 hours! That’s why hand washing cannot be stressed enough when it comes to preventing the spread of colds. A hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol is a good back up plan, but should not replace soap and water.

Stop touching your face.

We all do this – probably inadvertently, but we do. It’s totally natural. But most viruses enter our bodies through the eyes, the nose or the mouth. Since it’s not always possible to wash your hands immediately after you’ve shaken a hand or sat down at a desk, not touching your face can help to inhibit the spread of germs from your hands.

Disinfect your house.

Cleaning and disinfecting your household surfaces on a regular basis can help stop the common cold in its tracks! Doing this when someone in your house actually has a cold is helpful to keep it from spreading to others. Cleaning these surfaces should involve warm soapy water or a disinfectant – and be sure not to forget any! This includes children’s toys, doorknobs, drawer pulls, light switches, telephones, remote controls, countertops, sinks and any other thing in your house that you and your loved ones touch.

Use disposable items.

Paper and/or plastic cups, plates and utensils are easy to dispose of and can help to eliminate the possibility of sharing germs when someone in your home has a cold. This is especially true in the event that dishes aren’t washed properly to kill the virus. It’s just another layer of precaution when it comes to preventing colds from running through your entire household. And because viruses can remain on cloth towels, using paper towels in the kitchen and the bathroom is a good idea during the cold season.

Live a healthy lifestyle.

Just like the hand washing, you’ve heard it before, but we’ll say it again. Getting plenty of sleep, exercising on a regular basis and eating right can be some of your best defenses against the common cold. It’s also important to keep stress to a minimum – not always easy to do, but stress can weaken your immune system leaving you more susceptible to catching a cold.

Hopefully you find these tips helpful as you navigate this very long cold season! If you’d like any other thoughts on how you can keep you and family healthy and cold-free this winter, we’re happy to help so please don’t hesitate to reach out.

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