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Common Cold Prevention

Behavioral changes have been shown to significantly reduce the likelihood of becoming infected with or spreading the common cold. You have a much better chance of avoiding the common cold with a few simple actions.

Clean Hands

One of the most effective ways to prevent the common cold is simply washing your hands throughout the day. Some experts favor antibacterial soap. Use paper towels to dry your hands.

Hand Sanitizers

Hand sanitizers are usually alcohol-based (look for a minimum of 60% alcohol) and kill most germs, including the viruses behind the common cold. Carry a travel-size bottle of hand sanitizer in your bag and leave one in your desk drawer at work. They kill 99% of germs without water so they are a useful and very convenient precautionary measure.

Avoiding Infection

It can be tricky avoiding  close contact with everyone  infected with a cold virus, especially if it is  your spouse or child. But try to limit contact (a mask might be the only practical way to keep your distance from your child) with cold sufferers in the home because doing so helps reduce your risk of infection.

Covering Mouth and Nose

When you sneeze or cough, place your hand or a tissue in front of your nose or mouth to prevent spraying others  with droplets infected with the cold virus. No tissue? The bend of an elbow will work. It’s a good tip to teach children.

Avoiding Shared Objects

You can catch a cold by coming into contact with surfaces that have been infected by someone with the cold virus. Keep your bathroom and kitchen surfaces spotless. Don't share kitchen utensils or cups and drinking glasses with infected family members. (This is a good time to consider using disposable cups, at least temporarily.) Thoroughly clean children’s toys and their sleeping mats with an EPA-approved disinfectant. Disinfect sink handles, too.

Content licensed from:

Written by: the Healthline Editorial Team
Medically reviewed : Sue Russell

This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the care and information received from your health care provider. Please consult a health care professional with any health concerns you may have.
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