How to Not Spread Colds Around

This is the time of year when I try to not get a cold. Some years I am successful, others I am not.

The average adult gets a common cold two or three times a year; children bring them home more frequently, and toddlers can get struck with a runny nose and cough up to ten times a year.

If you’ve already been hit this winter, and would like to know about  some helpful home remedies, click here.

Here are some of my strategies to stay well this season and maybe help some other people do the same.

1. Avoiding Hibernation.

Colds run rampant during the winter partly because we spend so much more time in cramped quarters – Buses, classrooms, gym changing rooms, ski chalets, and so on – and less time outside. Those pesky virus’ pass from one to another via the air after a sneeze or a cough, and they hit their marks more often in warm crowds than they do outside.

It’s tougher when it’s really cold, but choosing to go for a walk in the park or a hike on the trail can be much more beneficial than a trip to the movie theater.  When you are inside, though, this is the time to bear down on handwashing – often and with soap. Also, some studies have suggested that a humidifier in the home can be helpful, because humidity and the rhinovirus do not share the same space well.

2. Dressing Sensibly

I know this may seem like a “no-brainer.” Still, be reminded that catching a chill after a long day out in low temperatures does not necessarily lead to a cold. Colds are caused by virus.’ It is true, though, that your immune system may be suppressed by severe cold, making it easier for the cold to find you.  There’s more to be said about strengthening your immunes system. Read on.

When going outside, dress in layers, primarily with natural fabrics or those designed for athletic use. These will keep you warm, comfortable, and dry. There is a double bonus here. You will be less likely to catch a cold in appropriate clothing, but you’ll likely stay outside longer getting some exercise, which is great for your immune system, and enjoying fresh outdoor air where colds have a harder time spreading.

3. Coughing and Sneezing Correctly                                             T

These activities are a normal part of life, for sure.  Coughing and sneezing into your own hands makes it very easy to spread your germs to someone else.  People younger than I were taught to aim for the crook of the elbow, which is a good way to help contain the cold virus and keep hands a bit cleaner as they move on to touch surfaces, other people, food, etc.

In general, it’s also a good idea to avoid touching your face often, as it’s an easy way to get the virus from our hands into your body via the mouth and nose.

4. Being Judicious about Supplementation    

I have written often about eating well and in ways that support the immune system. A good diet is a key factor in staying happy. A good diet is one of primarily fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, in as close to their natural states as they can be. See more about that here and again here.

Supplementation, especially in the winter months, may be a good thing to do in addition to eating well.  Vitamin C is very helpful, which makes the case for daily morning lemon water, which I highly recommend.

On the other hand, many experts recommend taking vitamin D, which, apparently is not taken enough by a great number of people.  Vitamin D is best absorbed when it comes though our skin via sunlight. Sunlight is harder to come by in cold climates, which means that our immune systems suffer for the lack of it, and colds may be the result of that lack. For example, there is evidence that people who live in nursing homes who are given vitamin D are less susceptible to colds and flu outbreaks.  About 400 to 1000 IUs a day are recommended throughout the year.

5. Respecting the Value of Quarantining

When someone in the house has a cold, it sometimes gets forgotten that part of the care-taking of the illness is containing it.  Along with the aforementioned hand-washing, isolating the towels, washcloths, glassware, and cutlery is a good way to cut down on the spreading power of the virus. As well, keeping a sick person home from work or school goes a long way towards preventing the illness to others. This is hard nut to swallow in our “get the dob done,” always show up for work” culture, but productivity may be better served by fewer people getting sick than the entire work force in any given office or other work place.

I’m doing ok so far this winter.  I hope we can all avoid the cold virus this winter. In my next newsletter/blog, I will share some home remedies in case the virus slips through the doors of your house or mine. Just in case the  rhino makes it through your  defenses this winter, I’ll have some ways to show it the door quickly and firmly in my next newsletter/blog.

If you want to get a head start in that direction, click here for some good information

Stay well.

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