Preventative Methods For Keeping A Cold At Bay

by Sarah Ruhlman

What does a cold do to you and your body? Does it stuff up your nose, and make it run at the most inopportune times? Does it make your throat itch and your chest feel all tickly, and you have to cough up a lung from time to time? Does it make your head pound and feel like it’s vibrating, and all you want to do is go back to bed to try and reset it? All in all, does a cold make you feel like hell? Of course it does! And that’s why we need to be more proactive in our fight against such a common virus. 

We can all suffer from colds – it’s one of the most common afflictions all the way around the world – and you never know when one is going to creep up on you. You might get a warning sign the day before, you might not. You might wake up with a tickle in the back of your throat and think nothing of it, only to have developed a full-blown runny nose and hacking cough by lunchtime. Colds can act fast, or they can take their time, and it’s their unpredictable nature that means we haven’t found a cure yet! 

Which is why it’s key to take preventative measures, as often as you can, and especially during flu seasons and school holidays. When there are more people around, and when the weather is in a perfect condition to promote bacterial preservation and growth, you’ll want to have tips like these on your side. 

So, if you’re someone who has an immune system that’s prone to picking up bugs and germs, read on for some ideas on how to better protect yourself. Colds can make life feel very nasty to live through, and if your head is aching like mad at the moment, it doesn’t have to be too late to take measures like these into your own hands! 


Wash Your Hands

During the height of cold and flu season, the number one rule is to wash your hands as much as possible. Your hands are the main way you interact with the world – you open doors with them, you pick up items and objects, you shake another person’s hand when you first meet them, etc. And because of this, they can get covered in all kinds of germs, especially if someone has just sneezed and not had a tissue to hand.

And so, it’s important to wash as often as possible, to get rid of the majority of the germs that might be lingering on any surfaces you come into contact with, and on the palms of other people’s hands. If you can carry a little bottle of antibacterial gel around with you, the more’s the better! Even just a spritz of this here and there can kill off germs you can never be sure are lingering on your skin or not. And make sure you’ve got a pack of tissues stashed in your pocket or bag at all times. 

Look After Your Throat

Whatever a cold is doing to you on the inside will eventually end up on the outside, and it’s your throat that’s going to be the conduit for most of the mess! Your throat can go through a hell of its own when you’ve got a cold – it can be all red and sore, or it can get itchy, or the doctor might tell you it’s covered in a layer of white phlegm or fur! No matter what’s going on inside your throat, it’s best to look after it ahead of time, and to keep to those practices if a cold does strike. 

Of course, your mouth (and subsequently, your throat) are the fastest healing parts of your body. These are the places where you take in food and drink, and if they’re out of order, your body is going to find it hard to survive! And when you’ve got a cold, a similar rule applies: the sore throat is usually the first thing to clear up, but that doesn’t mean you’re not in pain the entire time. 

And unless you like to use an essential oil for sore throat during times like these, you’ll have to rely on herbal remedies, usually mixed into some hot water and sipped slowly. Lemon and honey is a very popular concoction, simply for their natural healing and soothing properties. And not to mention how good they can taste… They can form a barrier over the most sensitive parts of your throat, and help any other food or drink pass through without issue. So, make sure you’re heating up some water! 

Get Plenty of Rest

Even before you get sick, make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep, and resting in those moments where you’re feeling tired. Don’t push yourself to go out when you’re not feeling up to it – you’re feeling run down, and you might come into contact with all kinds of cold and flu germs, and you’re in a prime state to be infected by them. 

Set yourself a bedtime, if you don’t have one. Make sure you’re getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night, even if that sleep isn’t quite as quality as it needs to be. When you’re getting plenty of deep/REM sleep, you’re letting your body fall into a much needed healing state. 

Wipe Down Your Keyboard and Mouse

Going on from the point of washing your hands above, make sure you wash down the surfaces you regularly come into contact with as well. Of course, you can’t go around the entirety of your workplace with a spray bottle and some wet wipes, but you can provide a similar treatment to your own workstation, as well as your own home! And honestly, it’s much more effective to focus on these areas, rather than worrying about the potential for germs in the world at large…

If you’re someone who uses a computer a lot, and if you’re reading this post there’s a strong chance you are, finish the day off by wiping down the keyboard you’ve been using, and make sure you do the same to your mouse. This will ensure there are no lingering germs left overnight, to sink into the material or multiply for when you come back again in the morning. If you can take care of these excess bugs right now, you’re going to be walking into a much cleaner work/leisure space when you get up again the following morning. 

Really, make sure you wipe down and disinfectant any of your personal surfaces, such as leather sofa cushions or kitchen counters, to eliminate the amount of dirt and bacteria that might have built up there during the day. And don’t forget about your phone screen either! 

Take on Some Gentle Exercise

Exercise strengthens the immune system, and that’s a fact quite a few people don’t seem to know. Exercising when you’re already sick might not be a good idea, unless you can breathe normally and feel otherwise OK, but it’s a great preventative measure to try and keep the common cold at bay. 

After all, at a basic level, the warmer you are, the fewer germs you can carry in your body. It’s why we present with fevers when we’re ill – they can act as a short term measure for eliminating the bulk of bacteria currently inside of our bodies. Thus, if you’re exercising regularly, and sweating things out and getting your heart rate up, you’re going to be running a lot warmer than the common cold can handle. Exercise is especially good for the winter months as a result! 

But beyond this, the more you exercise, the fitter you’re going to feel. And the fitter your feel, the stronger your immune system is going to be, behind the scenes. A body that’s in good shape helps keeps our fatigue levels down and our energy levels at a normal level, and most of the organ systems inside our bodies will be running at an optimal rate as well. If you can exercise during the peak of cold and flu season, you might just outrun the cold and flu germs that are trying to catch you up! 

Can Colds Be Stopped Completely?

Of course not, and even when you stick to preventative methods like these, you might still catch a cold and be sick for a couple of days. But that’s how germs and bacteria work! They can adapt, and they can infect us at the more subtle and random of times – maybe you sat for too long next to someone who was sniffling, or maybe you didn’t wash your hands as effectively as you thought you did; things like these happen!

Make sure you don’t blame yourself, as you need all of the rest and relaxation you can get right now! A cold can pass in and out of you within a few days, and it doesn’t have to be a disaster.

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