As we head into cold and flu season, you want to stay as germ-free as possible to prevent illness. Should you inhale cold germs or touch a surface with cold germs on it and then touch your eyes or nose, you may develop a cold within two or three days. Washing your hands regularly is one of the best ways to fight all types of germs and avoid getting sick – and prevent spreading illness to others. When you wash, be sure to use non- antibacterial soap and clean, running water, and scrub for at least 20 seconds. If that’s not possible, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
In addition to maintaining good hygiene practices, you can also give your immune system a boost by following general healthy-living strategies. That means no smoking, getting adequate sleep, and exercising regularly. Be aware, though, that while moderate exercise may help you fight off mild infection, strenuous exercise can make your symptoms and the severity of your illness worse. If you do get a cold, be sure to hydrate with water, tea, or broth, get extra rest, and use a humidifier to ease your symptoms. Just be sure to keep your humidifier clean to prevent mold and bacteria. While no vaccine can protect you against the common cold, for the flu, vaccination is your best protection.