How can you prevent the spread of colds?
Anwser; 1. Wash your hands and wash them often.
The Naval Health Research Center conducted a study of 40,000
recruits who were ordered to wash their hands five times a day. The
recruits cut their incidence of respiratory illnesses by 45
2. Wash your hands twice every time you wash them. When Columbia
University researchers looked for germs on volunteers' hands, they
found one handwashing had little effect, even when using
antibacterial soap. So wash twice if you're serious about fending
3. Use this hand-drying strategy in public restrooms. Studies
find a shockingly large percentage of people fail to wash their
hands after using a public restroom. And every single one of them
touches the door handle on the way out. So after washing your
hands, use a paper towel to turn off the faucet. Use another paper
towel to dry your hands, then open the door with that paper towel
as a barrier between you and the handle. It sounds nuts, but it's
an actual recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control to
protect you from infectious diseases like cold and flu.
4. Carry hand sanitizer with you. Colds are typically passed not
from coughing or kissing (although those are two modes of
transmission) but from hand-to-hand or hand-to-object contact,
since most cold viruses can live for hours on objects. You then put
your hand in or near your mouth or nose, and voilà! You're sick.
Carry hand sanitizer gel or sanitizing towelettes with you and you
can clean your hands anytime, even if the closest water supply is
100 miles away. It works. One study of absenteeism due to infection
in elementary schools found schools using the gel sanitizer had
absentee rates from infection nearly 20 percent lower than those
using other hand-cleaning methods.
5. Use your knuckle to rub your eyes. It's less likely to be
contaminated with viruses than your fingertip. This is particularly
important given that the eye provides a perfect entry point for
germs, and the average person rubs his eyes or nose or scratches
his face 20-50 times a day, notes Jordan Rubin, Ph.D., author of
the book The Maker's Diet.
6. Run your toothbrush through the microwave on high for 10
seconds to kill germs that can cause colds and other illnesses. You
think it gets your teeth clean -- and it does. But once you're done
brushing, your toothbrush is a breeding ground for germs. Sterilize
it in the microwave before you use it, or store it in hydrogen
peroxide (rinse well before using), or simply replace it every
month when you change the page on your calendar and after you've
had a cold.
7. Get a flu shot every fall. The Centers for Disease Control
recommends flu shots for anyone 50 years old or older, residents of
long-term care facilities, people of any age who have chronic
medical problems (heart or lung disease, asthma, diabetes, etc.),
pregnant women, and people whose immune systems have been weakened
(by cancer, AIDS, or other causes). Also, people who work or live
with a high-risk person should get a flu shot so they don't spread
the flu. Of course, anyone who just wants to avoid the flu should
also get one. Hate shots? Ask for the nasal spray vaccine.
8. Stop blaming yourself when things go wrong at work. Believe
it or not, blaming yourself makes you more likely to catch a cold!
At least, that's what researchers found when they studied more than
200 workers over three months. Even those who had control over
their work were more likely to begin sneezing if they lacked
confidence or tended to blame themselves when things went wrong.
Researchers expect such attitudes make people more stressed on the
job, and stress, as you know, can challenge your immune system.
9. Put a box of tissues wherever people sit. Come October, buy a
6- or 12-pack of tissue boxes and strategically place them around
the house, your workplace, your car. Don't let aesthetics thwart
you. You need tissues widely available so that anyone who has to
cough or sneeze or blow his nose will do so in the way least likely
to spread germs.
10. Leave the windows in your house open a crack in winter. Not
all of them, but one or two in the rooms in which you spend the
most time. This is particularly important if you live in a newer
home, where fresh circulating air has been the victim of energy
efficiency. A bit of fresh air will do wonders for chasing out
11. Lower the heat in your house 5 degrees. The dry air of an
overheated home provides the perfect environment for cold viruses
to thrive. And when your mucous membranes (i.e., nose, mouth, and
tonsils) dry out, they can't trap those germs very well. Lowering
the temperature and using a room humidifier helps maintain a
healthier level of humidity in the winter.
12. Speaking of which, buy a hygrometer. These little tools
measure humidity. You want your home to measure around 50 percent.
A consistent measure higher than 60 percent means mold and mildew
may start to set in your walls, fabrics, and kitchen; lower than 40
percent and the dry air makes you more susceptible to germs.
13. Sit in a sauna once a week. Why? Because an Austrian study
published in 1990 found that volunteers who frequently used a sauna
had half the rate of colds during the six-month study period than
those who didn't use a sauna at all. It's possible that the hot air
you inhale kills cold viruses. Most gyms have saunas these
14. Inhale air from your blow-dryer. It sounds nuts, we know.
But one study conducted at Harvard Hospital in England found that
people who breathed heated air had half the cold symptoms of people
who inhaled air at room temperature. Set the dryer on warm, not
hot, and hold it at least 18 inches from your face. Breathe in the
air through your nose for as long as you can -- 20 minutes is
15. Take a garlic supplement every day. When 146 volunteers
received either one garlic supplement a day or a placebo for 12
weeks between November and February, those taking the garlic were
not only less likely to get a cold, but if they did catch one,
their symptoms were less intense and they recovered faster. 16. Eat
a container of yogurt every day. A study from the University of
California-Davis found that people who ate one cup of yogurt --
whether live culture or pasteurized -- had 25 percent fewer colds
than non-yogurt eaters. Start your yogurt eating in the summer to
build up your immunity before cold and flu season starts.
17. Once a day, sit in a quiet, dim room, close your eyes, and
focus on one word. You're meditating, a proven way to reduce
stress. And stress, studies find, increases your susceptibility to
colds. In fact, stressed people have up to twice the number of
colds as non-stressed people.
18. Scrub under your fingernails every night. They're a great
hiding place for germs.
19. Change or wash your hand towels every three or four days
during cold and flu season. When you wash them, use hot water in
order to kill the germs.
20. At the very first hint of a cold, launch the following
preventive blitz. Here's how:
* Suck on a zinc lozenge until it melts away. Then suck another
every two waking hours. Or use a zinc-based nasal spray such as
* Take one 250-milligram capsule of the herb astragalus twice a
day until you are better.
* Cook up a pot of chicken soup.
* Roast garlic in the oven (drizzle whole clove with olive oil,
wrap in tinfoil, roast for an hour at 400°F), then spread the soft
garlic on toast and eat.
Studies find that all either reduce the length of time you
suffer with a cold or help prevent a full-blown cold from
21. Wipe your nose -- don't blow. Your cold won't hang around as
long, according to a University of Virginia study. Turns out that
the force of blowing not only sends the gunk out of your nose into
a tissue, but propels some back into your sinuses. And, in case
you're curious, they discovered this using dye and X rays. If you
need to blow, blow gently, and blow one nostril at a time.
22. Sneeze and cough into your arm or a tissue. Whoever taught
us to cover our mouths when we cough or sneeze got it wrong. That
just puts the germs right on our hands, where you can spread them
to objects -- and other people. Instead, hold the crook of your
elbow over your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough if a tissue
isn't handy. It's pretty rare that you shake someone's elbow or
scratch your eye with an elbow, after all.
23. Don't pressure your doctor for antibiotics. Colds and flu
(along with most common infections) are caused by viruses, so
antibiotics -- designed to kill bacteria -- won't do a thing. They
can hurt, however, by killing off the friendly bacteria that are
part of our immune defenses. If you've used antibiotics a lot
lately, consider a course of probiotics -- replacement troops for
friendly bacteria. [ Note that these are just TIPS, you DO
NOT have to do them all! ]