Tips to avoid getting a cold

Colds are the most common cause of illness in adults and children.1 This is especially true through the winter months when we tend to spend more time indoors and in closer proximity to one another, which makes it easier for colds to circulate through sneezing, coughing or hand contact.

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Tips to avoid getting a cold

Colds are the most common cause of illness in adults and children.1 This is especially true through the winter months when we tend to spend more time indoors and in closer proximity to one another, which makes it easier for colds to circulate through sneezing, coughing or hand contact. While it can be very difficult to avoid exposure to a cold virus, there are several precautions you can take including:

  • Hand washing – The simple act of hand washing is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and passing germs onto others,2 as our hands are the biggest vehicle for germs. It is important to clean your hands thoroughly and often, and teach your children to do the same.
  • Avoidance – If possible, avoid close, prolonged contact with people who have a cold. At the very least, avoid sharing drinks and utensils, and wash your hands before and after caring for someone who is sick.
  • Disinfecting – Cold viruses can survive for up to three hours on objects such as stair railings and telephones.3 It pays therefore to clean these surfaces regularly in your home and workplace. Also clean kitchen and bathroom bench tops, door handles and kids toys, and remember to wash your hands after shopping or catching public transport.
  • Educating your children – Along with teaching your children the importance of hand washing, teach them to always cough and sneeze into a tissue or in the bend of their elbow when a tissue is not available. Children tend to get many colds every year, which quickly spread through schools and child care centres, and parents often get colds from their children.4
  • Staying healthy – To improve your chances of being cold‐free, eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables which are high in nutrients including anti‐oxidants, and exercise regularly. Several research studies have found that people who exercise regularly have a reduced number of colds compared to those who do not.5
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