How to Minimize the Effects of a Common Cold?

November 12, 2012

How to Minimize the Effects of a Common Cold?

When you live with others and you see that one of them is sniffing or has a runny nose you know that the cold is coming to get you. We all get colds but when you live in a family unit things can be so much worse because no sooner has one family member recovered then another other one falls ill, until sure enough it’s your turn too. And then you succumb to the headaches, sore throat and runny nose. All in all it can take weeks before the home is free of the cold virus.

We know that we can’t stop catching the cold virus but what can we do to make the situation a bit better? Well many precautions are already known to us all and are common sense.

First of all, wash your hands. This advice, as recommended by the CDC and pretty much every healthcare provider, is because we know that about 80% of infectious viruses are transmitted by touch. The infection moves from the hands to the mouth, nose and eyes. Washing your hands is by far the most effective way to reduce the risk of the cold spreading throughout your household.

Washing must be thorough and soap must be used. It’s a good idea to scrub for at least 20 seconds using soap and warm water. Alcohol based sanitizers are becoming more common now and are just as effective when used properly.

Accept that you cannot eliminate the cold virus from your house but having clean hands cuts the risk of spreading meaning that the likelihood of people becoming sick falls.

Always cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, it’s best to use a tissue and then dispose of it right away, and then wash your hands thoroughly. However if that isn’t possible then sneeze or cough into the crook of your elbow, not your hands. The crook of your elbow is an area that is touched infrequently and so reduces the chance of the virus spreading. As soon as you can, go and wash your arm.

The lifespan of a cold virus on a surface can be hours. Watch where the most common places that are being touched by those with a cold are and disinfect them. However remember that you live in a family home, not an operating theater, you cannot make everywhere sterile. You’re just cutting down on the chances of the virus spreading unhindered.

In the modern world there are disposable towels, tissues and cups. For the period of a cold, around one week, it can be a good idea to use disposable items because cold germs can be present on towels or cups that family members share.

If you do get a cold then you must take care of yourself and make sure that you get enough sleep. There has been recent research which showed that we all had the same chance of getting a cold, however those who had more sleep recovered quicker and got the cold less severely than those who did not get enough sleep. When you are not sleeping ensure that you are eating well and always drink as much non alcoholic liquid as you can.

The medical fraternity has yet to agree if living a good lifestyle and remaining healthy actually strengthens the immune system but most experts agree that healthy fit people tend to suffer less when they get a cold.

Don’t Forget Colds are Everywhere

By following this advice the levels of infection can be curtailed and perhaps a few of your family members can avoid having a cold this winter. But you must accept that colds are everywhere, perhaps the children caught their cold from school and your spouse caught their cold at work or in the supermarket. At least you are making the family home the least risky place to be infected.

And because the cold can be infectious before any symptoms show themselves you may be too late to reduce or prevent the infection from spreading.

There can be times when you do everything right and still your child falls ill with the cold….just remember that you still did everything right. Life’s like that!


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