The common cold can be tricky to avoid since more than 200 viruses may cause it, it lives on surfaces for a relatively long time, and it is virtually impossible to avoid contact with it. Your behavior is your best weapon against most ailments and the common cold is no exception. So…
AVOID IT LIKE THE PLAGUE!
KEEP YOUR HANDS AWAY FROM YOUR FACE! You do not want your hands to become public transportation for germs. During the course of the day, you are bound to touch a door handle, shake hands with a new acquaintance, hold on to a rail on a bus or a train, make a copy, open a refrigerator, handle money, type on common keyboards, use shared gym equipment… get my drift? No matter how frequently you wash your hands or use sanitizing gel, it’s impossible to completely avoid germs. So if you don’t touch your face, you will not transport cold viruses on to your face.
Also, try not to touch door knobs or handles. I personally use my arm or my shoulder to push on doors. Pulling doors is tricky. You can always use tissue, your jacket, but that can be inconvenient. Try telekinesis to open the door if at all possible… just kidding.
Try to avoid crowded places whenever possible since someone is likely to be coughing up the microscopic critters around you. If you take public transportation or enjoy going to the movies, crowded restaurants, malls or bars on a regular basis, you can minimize exposure by avoiding those places during peak hours. And yes, you can wear a protective mask, but you have to be very comfortable and confident with drawing a lot of attention towards yourself. Finally, because it is almost impossible to completely avoid touching surfaces that everyone else touch, you need to wash your hands frequently, which brings me to…
KILL THE INVADERS
Wash your hands when you arrive at home or your office. Remember to lather up and scrub so that your hands are in contact with soap for at least 20 seconds. If you are in a hurry, get a disinfectant gel and carry it with you at all times.
STRENGTHEN THE FORT
WATER IT: Your nasal mucosa (the lining inside your nose) is the first line of defense against the cold, so strengthen it by watering it. A moist mucosa is a happy mucosa and will serve you well. Dry cold air, furnaces, space heaters and some cleaning agents, pollutants and allergens irritate the nasal mucosa. A dry and irritated mucosa will develop “small cracks” that will allow the entrance of viruses to your system.
- Spray a saline solution onto your nostrils on a regular basis. Keep a bottle at your office and your car. Make sure you don’t contact your nose with the nozzle when you use it. You don’t want to contaminate the saline solution.
- Steam It: If you have access to a steam room at your gym, use it. Take a warm shower and breath the steam into your lungs.
- Drink plenty of water and liquids (avoid sugary drinks). I usually drink Bolthouse Farm’s Green Goodness which has a high concentration of Zinc and Vitamin C along with other helpful ingredients. Chicken broth has been shown to help prevent and fight colds.
- Avoid sugars and processed foods which tend to lower our immune system, especially during the Winter.
- Find your environmental and food allergies or sensitivities. Once tested keep away from them especially during the Winter or the rainy season.
- Take antioxidants: Vitamins A, C, E; Minerals Selenium and Zinc. It’s not necessary to take them individually unless you actually get a cold. Take a good multivitamin that contains these.
- Add fruits and vegetables to your diet by having more soups, salads and steamed vegetables during meals.
- CLEAN IT: Use a neti pot to clean your nasal passages several times a week. The netipot is an irrigation system for your nasal passages. Not only does it add moisture to your nasal lining, but also it rinses out particulates and germs that might irritate your nose. Most people who have used it swear by it. I’m one of them. I found this video on you tube to give you an idea of how to use it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8sDIbRAXlg . The idea might not be appealing at first, but once you get used to it, you’ll crave your date with the neti pot.
Finally REST! Your body tends to reboot and rebuild during the night hours. If you don’t sleep well, your immune system gets depressed and might not be effective at combating a viral “invasion”.