Preventing a cold • How to stay healthy

A cold can be prevented: Certain hygiene measures prevent the disease-causing viruses from getting into the body at all. Otherwise, the pathogens will be stopped by the immune system and the onset of the common cold will be prevented. The good thing: the body’s defenses can be actively strengthened.

You get infected with cold germs via droplet infection: a sick person coughs or sneezes, the viruses get into the air and are inhaled by other people. We can also become infected with the virus through objects: when we touch door handles or handrails on escalators or when shaking hands, pathogens get on our hands, which we then use to touch our eyes, mouth or nose. If the mucous membranes there do not manage to fight off pathogens, they get into the body and can make us sick. But you can intervene in this process and actively prevent a cold.

Proper hygiene prevents a cold

The most important rule to prevent viruses from entering the organism in the first place is hand washing. A US study has shown that washing your hands five times a day reduces the risk of infection by up to 45 percent.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) also recommends washing your hands several times a day, but at least before each meal, after using the toilet and when you come home. Hold your hands under warm running water, then rub them thoroughly with soap for half a minute, also between your fingers and on or under the nails. Then rinse your hands well and dry them carefully with a fresh towel or a disposable towel. Disinfection is not necessary – unless you are dealing with people who are particularly susceptible to infection, because they are sick or immunocompromised.

Do not touch your face and ventilate regularly

Viruses use the mucous membranes as gateways into our body. Therefore, get into the habit of touching your face with your hands – especially your mouth, nose and eyes. In closed rooms, the virus load in the air increases sharply over time. Regular ventilation – at least four times a day for ten minutes – purifies the air naturally. Tilting the windows is not enough, however. Open the windows as far as possible (ventilation) so that the air exchange works optimally.

Protect others from a cold

Anyone who has already had a flu-like infection should be careful not to infect others. The following tips will help:

  • Don’t sneeze or cough into your hand: Pathogens get into the hand and are spread to other people or objects. Better to cough and sneeze into the crook of your arm. This way, your hands stay clean and you even turn away from the person opposite.

  • Use Paper handkerchiefsif you have a cold. Handkerchiefs are usually used more than once before being washed again. However, paper tissues are only the more hygienic alternative if they are only used once.

  • Avoid body contact with infections: You should refrain from cuddling, hugging and kissing so as not to infect others. If possible, the patient should even sleep in a different room.

Strong defenses are the best protection against colds

In contrast to the real flu, there is no vaccination against the common cold. Usually the immune system can deal with the pathogens on its own. However, a one-sided diet, a lot of stress, little sleep and a lack of exercise can weaken it. Evil takes its revenge in the cold season: Our health police are simply overwhelmed by the massive numbers of viruses.

Preventing a cold: tips for a strong defense

There is no one hundred percent protection against cold viruses. However, there is a lot that can be done to strengthen your immune system. This includes a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables as well as sufficient fluid intake, enough sleep (adults six to eight hours, children ten to twelve hours), as little stress as possible and avoiding alcohol and nicotine. In addition, alternate showers, foot baths and saunas have proven effective in preventing flu-like infections. Exercise in the fresh air keeps the immune system on its toes – don’t do without it, even in cold or bad weather. However, pay attention to clothing that keeps the body warm and dry so as not to overwhelm the immune system.

Preventing colds in children and pregnant women

Children catch colds particularly often. Your immune system is not yet that strong, it must first be “trained” for many pathogens. In addition, they come into contact with a large number of other children and their “sniff noses” in daycare or school. Teach your child to wash their hands with soap and warm water several times a day. Hand washing is mandatory, especially before eating! In addition, enough sleep and vitamin-rich food make you fit for the cold season. If the flu infection is already in full swing, it is better to leave your little one at home for a few days so that other children do not get infected.

Pregnant women are also more susceptible to the common cold virus because the immune system focuses on protecting the unborn child. During pregnancy, you should therefore pay particular attention to a healthy, vitamin-rich diet, exercise in the fresh air, adequate sleep and as little stress as possible.

Colds in Children: The Best Tips

Source: Lifeline | Das Gesundheitsportal by

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