Common cold is a viral infection where the upper respiratory is attacked and infected. There are more than 100 different types of virus which are found to be responsible for common cold. All of them are highly contagious in nature. It is usually not a very serious health issue. However, the symptoms - sore throat, runny nose, nasal congestion, cough, sneezing, etc. are extremely bothersome. The main reason why people want to know about common cold prevention is because they get this infection very frequently. On an average, small children suffer from common cold 7-8 times in a year while adults may get it 2-4 times every year.
How Do You Get a Cold?
The common cold virus gets transmitted from an infected person to others through air. This happens when the liquid droplets released while coughing and sneezing are inhaled by a non-infected person. Other medium of transmission include direct physical contact and touching of those materials which are contaminated with secretions of infected people. Once the virus enters your body, it starts multiplying in numbers within 8-12 hours and the symptoms show up within 2-3 days. It continues to bother the patient for 7-10 days depending on the age and health condition of the patient.
When you visit a doctor with a cold, they prescribe you with such medicines that can only reduce the intensity of the symptoms but cannot treat the actual infection. There are no medicines available for its treatment. This is mainly because many of those viruses that cause common cold are yet to be identified. For this reason, the best way to tackle this infection is by following some preventive measures. A few prevention tips are discussed below:
#1: Try to avoid close contact with an infected person as much as possible. Keep a safe distance from the person with common cold until his or her symptoms subside. Thus you can minimize the chances of a direct transmission of the virus into your body.
#2: When you are infected by the common cold, you have to make extra efforts to prevent spread of the virus to others who are around you. Cover up your face with a tissue while coughing and sneezing so that the droplets are not released into the air and inhaled by others. Throw out the tissue into a bin after every use and wash your hands thoroughly. If you do not have a tissue at hand, bring the bend of your elbow near the mouth and then cough or sneeze.
#3: Keep your hands clean by washing them regularly. Most of the time, the virus enters your body through hand contact. You touch the contaminated surfaces with your hands and then put them in your mouth, eyes and other parts of the body. So, washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water before eating and after coming back from outdoors is a must. You should also wash your hands immediately after a close encounter with an infected person.
#4: Try to avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands. This is because these areas have highly sensitive tissues and the common cold virus finds it very convenient to enter your body through these tissues. So, the next time, you want to rub your eyes, make sure you wash your hands first.
#5: Sharing personal belongings of an infected person like towel, handkerchief, dishes glasses, cups or other such items should be strictly avoided. If you have an infected person at home, make sure all his or her stuff are kept in a separate place and labeled properly so that no one else uses them.
#6: Maintain a clean and hygienic environment in your home. Kitchen counters, bathroom countertops, stair railings, telephones, door knobs are few such surfaces where the viruses stay on for as long as 3 hours and can spread infection. If you have someone at home with a cold, you have to clean and disinfect all these exposed areas several times to prevent transmission of the virus to other members of your family.
#7: Eat healthy foods that supply you with vitamins, minerals and all other nutrients that are essential for maintaining a good health. As a result, even if you are exposed to the virus, your body can defend itself from the harmful effects of the virus. Those who have a tendency to get colds easily can take vitamin C supplements after consulting their doctor. This helps in boosting up the immune system.
#8: When your body is tired and stressed out, then it cannot fight off any kind of infections properly. Therefore, you must provide adequate amount of rest to your body in order to keep your immune system strong. An adult requires 8 hours of sleep daily while children need 13 hours of sleep.
The common cold prevention methods that are discussed in this article are applicable for both adults and children. So, start implementing these tips in your daily life and also teach the young ones in your house to follow the same.