Before we realize it, the leaves will be falling, and the sniffles will be starting. Fall's arrival often brings an uptick in colds, but you can take steps to reduce your risk.
Most colds are transmitted by hand contact, explains Daniel M. Feckoury, M.D., a Piedmont Family Medicine physician. Contrary to popular belief, he says, chillier weather itself isn't behind a rise in colds during this time of year. Instead, people are spending more time indoors - giving viruses perfect opportunities to spread. "We're inside more," he explains, " and we're touching more of the same things." If you do get sick, it's important to monitor your symptoms and ensure they don't worsen or indicate another illness, like the flu.
How to Protect Yourself from Catching a Cold
As temperatures drop and cold season approaches, there are several effective ways you can protect yourself from catching a cold.
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water. Every time you shake hands with someone, wash your hands afterwards. Washing your hands prior to eating and touching your face is a crucial way to prevent the spread of harmful viruses and bacteria. If you are unable to wash your hands, then use a hand sanitizer, such as MicroShield 360 Endure Hand Sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes and mouth. Germs can easily infect through your eyes and mouth. If you must touch your face, wash your hands first or use a hand sanitizer.
- Get plenty of sleep. Sleep deprivation can comprise the immune system, making you more susceptible to illness. Aim for 7 to 9 hours every night.
- Have a workout routine. Not only is working out good for your cardiovascular system and weight management, staying fit boosts your immunity and helps you manage your stress levels, which is important for staying healthy.
- Avoid people who are already sick. If someone is coughing or sneezing, keep you distance. Likewise, if you are sick and contagious, take time to rest at home so you can get better and not spread germs to those you come in contact with.
- Eat a healthy diet. Just like working out, eating right can have benefits for not only your weight, but also your immune system.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of fluids - especially water - flushes toxins out of your system and keeps you healthy. If you happen to get sick, staying well-hydrated is just as important for your recovery.
How to Treat a Fall Cold
When we catch a cold, it triggers the cells of the immune system to help fight inflammation caused by symptoms. By reducing inflammation in the cells of our airways, the symptoms of sore throat and cough are relieved. With no cure in sight, over-the-counter treatments can at best bring symptoms relief or shorten the duration of those symptoms. Or you can take a natural approach, such as:
- Blow your nose often - and the right way
- Stay rested
- Gargle with warm salt water
- Drink hot liquids to prevent dehydration
- Try a lozenge to soothe your throat
- Take a hot, steamy shower
- Apply hot or cold packs around your congested sinuses
- Sleep with an extra pillow under your head
When to Visit the Doctor
Adults usually catch 2 to 3 colds each year, according to Dr. Feckoury. While colds are uncomfortable and inconvenient, most are not dangerous. Some people, however, are at a higher risk for complications from the cold, which includes:
- Children under the age of 5
- Adults over the age of 65
- People with certain medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, sickle cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, cerebral palsy and epilepsy.
For the most part, though, a run-of-the-mill cold doesn't pose much of a danger. Good hygiene habits can protect you to some extent, but one you're sick, you're best to take a few days off and get the rest your body needs.
In conclusion, proper hand hygiene is very important to avoid catching a cold. It's important to regularly wash your hands with warm soap and water, however if unable to wash your hands, then it's important to use a hand sanitizer. MicroShield 360 Endure Hand Sanitizer is the perfect daily hand sanitizer since it's a non-alcohol hand sanitizer and gentle on your hands. Many hand sanitizer last a temporary amount of time on your hands, whereas MicroShield 360 Endure Hand Sanitizer lasts up to 4 hours on the skin. Visit our online store to order your MicroShield 360 Endure Hand Sanitizer today.