Guard Against the Common Cold

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Cold weather may not cause the common cold, but colds are common this time of year. The common cold is caused by a virus that affects the nose and upper airways. Symptoms can include a sore throat, runny nose, coughing, and sneezing, as well as body aches, a slight fever, and a headache.

A cold virus can spread easily through the air. When someone with a cold coughs or sneezes, the virus can get into the air where it may come in contact with your mouth, nose, or eyes. It can also spread through touch. If someone with a cold coughs, sneezes, or wipes their nose, the virus may spread onto their hand or an object. From there, the virus can spread by hand-to-hand contact or by contact with the contaminated object. If you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth after the contact, you can catch the cold.

There is no vaccine for the common cold. But there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of catching or spreading the virus with the following tip

  • Wash your hands. Use soap and hot water and wash for 20 seconds. There’s no need to use antibacterial soap; plain soap is all your need. You may also want to keep hand sanitizer on you, in case you aren’t able to wash your hands.
  • Avoid touching your face. If you get the virus on your hands and then touch your face, the virus can enter your body through your eyes, mouth, and nose. So it is best to keep your hands away from your face.
  • Disinfect objects and surfaces. A cold virus can live on hard surfaces, such as toys, doorknobs, and countertops, for hours. And you may pick it up if you touch the contaminated object or surface and then touch your eyes, mouth, or nose. Using a disinfectant wipe or spray can help kill the virus. You don’t have to wipe down every surface or object. Just choose the ones that you touch the most.
  • Practice good hygiene. Sneeze or cough into a tissue or into the crook of your elbow. Throw your tissues away right after you use them. And wash your hands after you sneeze, cough, or blow your nose. This can help prevent the virus from spreading.