The common cold is unfortunately just a part of life for most of us. Even though we can’t avoid germs all the time, there are a few precautions you can take that may be helpful in preventing yourself or others from coming down with a cold.
What is a Common Cold?
The common cold is a virus—which means that it doesn’t respond to antibiotics. On the plus side, your body builds antibodies that fight against viruses after contracting them only one time. However, with more than 200 strains of the cold virus in existence, most people catch colds several times throughout their lifetime.
A common cold typically starts with a sore throat and runny nose, followed by coughing and sneezing. Other symptoms include headaches and body aches. For most people, these symptoms disappear within 7-10 days, but if they linger for too long, they have the potential to develop into infections such as sinus infections, pneumonia, or bronchitis. Even though there’s no cure for the common cold, it’s important to take care of yourself while you’re sick and seek medical attention if you’re not feeling better after 10 days.
Common Cold Prevention Tips
According to the CDC, there are some simple ways you can protect yourself and others from contracting the common cold virus. These prevention techniques include:
- Frequently wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth—especially if you haven’t washed your hands in a while.
- Stay away from people who are sick. Conversely, stay home when you’re sick to avoid spreading germs.
- Hugging, kissing, or shaking hands can transfer germs between people, so try to only come into close contact with healthy people.
- Disinfect surfaces or objects that are touched frequently.
- If you have a cold, always cover your mouth and nose while coughing and sneezing. Try to use a tissue and then dispose of it to ensure that germs are not spread.
Take Care of Yourself
The only cure for a cold is taking it easy and letting your body focus on fighting the virus. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated and try taking over-the-counter cold medicines and pain relievers to alleviate your symptoms.
With cold and flu season on its way, make sure you’re listening to your body and resting when you need to. You’ll be amazed by how much a restful sleep and a healthy diet can strengthen your immune system and help your body prevent illness. And if you do get sick, take precautions not to spread germs to others or prolong your symptoms.
Products like Mucinex congestion relief tablets or Fisherman’s Friend throat lozenges are great options for keeping cold symptoms at bay. These cold relief products (and more) are readily available at all Wiley’s Pharmacy locations. Don’t suffer through your symptoms. Get the rest you need and soothe your symptoms with simple OTC treatments.