Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is there any way to prevent colds?"
I don't want to get a cold because I really can't afford to miss work this winter. Is there any way to prevent them? I know you're supposed to wash your hands a lot but what can I do other than that?
The common cold is one of the most common causes of illness and one of the most common reasons for missing school and work. You are correct in that washing your hands often with soap and water is one of the easiest and most effective things you can do to prevent illness. However, there are many other things you can do to help prevent a cold. Avoid touching your face as the eyes, nose, and mouth are common entry points for the viruses that cause the common cold. Also keep all your household or work surfaces clean, including door knobs, light switches, keyboards, telephones, etc. Viruses can live for hours on these surfaces after being used by an infected person. If a friend or family member is sick, do not share glasses, utensils, etc and use paper towels to dry your hands as the virus can live on hand towels. Used tissues should also be disposed of immediately as germs can be transmitted to any surface that they touch. Finally, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including getting plenty of sleep, eating well, exercising, and not smoking, is important to keep your immune system in top condition to fight illness. If you are sick, make an appointment with your primary care doctor to rule out anything serious. Good luck!
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