How to Avoid the Common Cold

The common cold strikes almost all of us sometimes. The average American adult will catch two to four colds over the course of a year, but if you follow these simple tips, you’ll be taking important steps to beat those odds. It isn’t difficult to practice a few easy habits that will reduce your chance of getting sick, but most people simply don’t know what to do to protect themselves against the common cold. Read on to arm yourself with the information you need to stay healthy all year-round.

Wash Your Hands
Many people believe that the common cold is primarily spread by kissing, sharing glasses, or other mouth contact. However, one of the most prevalent ways the common cold spreads is not by mouths, but by hands, and sharing a handshake with someone who is sick actually leaves you more vulnerable to their cold than sharing a kiss would. Primarily for this reason, research shows that washing your hands frequently is one of the best ways to avoid getting a bug. If you can’t get to a sink, use an anti-microbial hand lotion like Purell that will zap germs and bacteria before they penetrate your skin. Keeping your hands clean not only means busting the germs that cause the common cold, it means doing so before they can even get into your system.

Keep Your Immune System Strong
If the common cold makes it into your body, you’ll need a strong immune system to kick it back out before you get sick. We encounter the germs that cause the common cold far more often than we contract an illness. In most cases, the difference between catching a cold and not getting sick comes down to the strength of your immune system at the time when you’re exposed to the virus. A weak immune system leaves you vulnerable, whereas a strong one will protect you against the common cold, the flu, and plenty of other bugs. To keep your defenses up, make sure to get your daily allowance of vitamin C. A single glass of orange juice each day will do the trick. Of course, vitamin C isn’t the only nutrient your body needs to stay strong and keep out the common cold, so strive to eat an array of fresh fruits and vegetables. Five varied servings of produce each day will give your system the spectrum of nutrients it needs to protect you against getting sick.

Fly Smart
Just as some habits, like eating a balanced diet, will reduce your risk of getting the common cold, some habits will increase your chances of getting sick. One of these habits is frequent air travel. The cabin of an airplane is the ideal place to catch the common cold for several reasons. The primary culprit is the air you’ll be breathing. Because there are so many people exhaling their germs into the closely confined cabin, airplane air usually carries many times the amount of germs that regular air does. This means that during a long airplane flight, you’ll be exposed to a substantial quantity of infectious bugs. There’s not much you can do about that, but there are a few habits you can practice to protect yourself when you take to the skies. First, make sure you pack a warm outer layer of clothing in your carry-on baggage. Airplane cabins tend to be chilly, which can weaken your immune system, so stay healthy by staying warm in a favorite sweater. Another fact of cabin air is that it tends to be extremely dry, leaving you dehydrated. Your immune system runs on water, so fight dryness with this two step plan: avoid diuretics like caffeine or alcohol that will dehydrate you, and tote a large water bottle that you can sip from throughout the flight. These tips will help you fly healthy so that no matter where you’re going, you’ll be able to enjoy it without the common cold as your travel companion!

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