A sore throat and a runny nose. A tickle in the back of your throat and that feeling that you have no energy. Yep, that’s the feeling when you’ve come down with a cold. Again.
Although colds are more common in the winter months, most people contract two or three colds per year. Children may have even more. Even though you’ll probably recover within seven to ten days, a cold can make you feel quite miserable.
The good news is that these easy, effective ways could increase your chances of keeping a cold at bay.
FREQUENTLY WASH YOUR HANDS
Washing your hands regularly with soap and water is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick. For instance, a large study published in the Lancet reported it might help prevent a cold.
In this study, the British research team followed 16908 people during winter. Via monthly internet sessions, they informed and reminded nearly half of these people to wash their hands regularly. The other half didn’t receive this information.
During those four winter months, the researchers also asked them to fill in a monthly questionnaire. They questioned them whether they had a sore throat, a cough, runny nose, fever, headache, muscle ache, or were tired.
The research team found that significantly fewer people had symptoms of a cold when they were reminded to wash their hands frequently.
This is great news. But, in addition to washing your hand regularly, there’s more you can do to avoid a cold. For example:
DO PHYSICAL EXERCISE
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison investigated whether doing exercise could prevent catching a cold.
During this study, 47 people exercised for eight weeks. Each day, they either brisk-walked or jogged for 45 minutes. They also attended a weekly 2.5-hour group session where they cycled on a stationary bicycle or walked on a treadmill. Fifty-one people in this study didn’t exercise.
The researchers asked them twice a week whether they thought they had a cold. If they did, then the researchers asked them to write down their symptoms. They also took a sample of their nasal mucus to measure if a cold virus was present.
After analysing these data, the research team found that significantly fewer people who exercised got a cold, compared to the people who didn’t.
GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP
The research team in this study followed 164 people to investigate whether sleep affects your chance of catching a cold. During one week, they measured how many hours these people usually would sleep. Then, they gave them a common cold virus via nose drops. The following five days the researchers checked if they had caught a cold by measuring whether this virus was present in their nasal mucus.
At the end of the study, the researchers found that the people who slept more than seven hours a night were less likely to catch a cold, compared to the people who slept less than five hours a night.
So, be prepared. Wash your hands often, exercise regularly, and try to get enough sleep. These easy and effective strategies may just help you avoid a cold this season.
What do you think about these strategies to avoid a cold? I'd love to hear about it. Feel free to leave me a comment below.