There’s nothing worse than catching a cold during the winter months. Cold and flu season is fast approaching. The last thing you want to do is to be sick. Nothing is worse than the sneezing, coughing, and aching that comes with these common illnesses.

Thankfully, there are many ways that you can keep these viruses at bay. When you get a cold, there’s no magic pill or antibiotic to cure it. A viral infection must work its way out of your system, and it can mean many days where you struggle until your body can overcome it.

Prevention is the key to ensuring you don’t get it in the first place.

Here are 20 ways that can reduce your chances of developing a cold this season.

1. Wash Your Hands

Many people wash their hands, but they don’t do it the right way. You need to make sure that you wash for at least 20 seconds. If you hum the chorus of your favorite song, it can help you ensure you spend enough time scrubbing bacteria away.

Since hand hygiene is so important, you want to make sure you get the backs of your hands and in between your fingers. There are often many places that are missed that can harbor germs that you need to get so you can avoid catching a cold.

catching a cold
2. Stop Touching Your Face

Face-touching is a significant problem. You scratch your nose, mess with your glasses, or lean your hand on the side of your head while working. Every time you touch your face, you take the germs from your hands and transfer them to another area.

Since your mouth and nose can quickly ingest any bacteria it encounters, it can make you sick. Face-touching is tempting but should be avoided.

3. Avoid Crowds

If you are worried about catching a cold, then you should avoid crowded areas. When the holiday season rolls around, people will be eager to head to the shopping malls. However, being around an of people only increases the chances of you developing the cold or flu.

Do your shopping online or choose smaller stores with fewer people. You can’t be too careful during the prime season.

4. Never Reuse a Tissue

When you’re sneezing and having issues with a runny nose, you look for anything you can find for relief. However, you should never reuse a tissue more than once. After you use it once, throw it in the trashcan.

All those germs you blew into that tissue will be redeposited into your nasal cavities if you use it repeatedly. This is one time you should not recycle. If you were about to get over that cold, using a dirty tissue could reinfect you.

5. Don’t Touch Public Surfaces

While you can’t live in a germ bubble, you can watch what surfaces you touch. Public door handles are one of the dirtiest things you can touch. Keep a tissue with you or use the end of your shirt to open doors.

Do whatever it takes to avoid touching public surfaces if you don’t need too.

6. Don’t Shake Hands or Hug Others

If you’re worried about catching a cold this season, don’t shake hands or hug others. No matter how much people want to hug you or shake your hand, tell them, you’re social distancing.

You don’t know how many times they’ve sneezed or coughed, and the germs are active on their body. There are a few exceptions to the rule, but you should always wash your hands afterward.

7. Use More Honey

Did you know that honey is full of antibacterial properties that can keep a cold and sore throat at bay? Additionally, if you do get a cold, studies have found that it works better than cough syrup to stop the hacking.

Honey is so good for you that you should make it a part of your daily consumption. Thankfully, it tastes great in just about anything.

8. Cover Your Nose and Mouth

To avoid catching a cold this season, you need to invest in a scarf or face mask. You cannot avoid going out forever. But a scarf will protect your nose and mouth. It acts as a barrier to keep the germs of the outside from getting into your mucus membranes.

face mask
Nurses explain the correct way to wear a face mask to protect yourself from germs.

9. Get Sufficient Rest

Your body needs at least seven hours of sleep each evening. During this time, your body is busy creating new cells and repairing damage from the day. When you don’t have sufficient rest, your immune system becomes compromised.

You can catch a cold easily when your immune system is not in top shape. Getting sleep is essential for your health and well-being.

10. Don’t Use Public Ink Pens

There’s nothing nastier than a public ink pen. When you go to the bank, at work, or anywhere else that asks you to sign, bring along your pen. Those pens connected to chains are touched by hundreds of people each day.

Think about how dirty they are. It’s the same as shaking hands with all those people, and you know how many germs would expose you.

11. Carry Hand Sanitizer

Part of your hand hygiene is scrubbing whenever possible. However, what are you supposed to do when you are not near soap and water?

Hand sanitizer is the next best thing to hand washing, though it should never be substituted for it. Make sure it kills at least 95 percent of the germs to be effective.

12. Keep a Good Distance from Others

Catching a cold is easy when you’re always around others. Remember that microscopic droplets from a cough or sneeze can travel up to six feet. So, you need to make sure you’re a good distance from coworkers and others outside your immediate family.

13. Take Probiotics

Probiotic is an important part of immune health. This good bacterium is essential for your immunity. Gut health cannot be ignored, and more studies show the importance of adding good bacteria into the body.

You can take a supplement or aim to get about 25 to 38 grams of fiber each day from legumes, beans, or plums.

14. Humidify Dry Air

Do you have a vaporizer or a humidifier? You need to invest in one of these devices to use during the cold and flu season. The heat you use to make your home comfortable is very drying to the nasal passages.

Additionally, tiny cracks form inside the nose that allows bacteria to enter quickly. You want to make sure you keep your nasal passages in top shape by hydrating your air. Plus, you won’t face everyday issues with dry skin either.

15. Drink Plenty of Green Tea

The antioxidants in green tea act as a support for your immune system. A study found that drinking green tea regularly can keep colds and other viruses away, and if you already are infected, it can shorten the duration by up to two days.

16. Load up on Garlic

The benefits of garlic have been studied for decades. Is it any wonder that it’s used to ward off vampires? If it can keep these creatures at bay, it can surely keep you from catching a cold.

Garlic has a compound called allicin. This compound has antibiotic properties that can not only help you to keep from getting a cold, but it can also make a cold’s duration shorter. If you can’t stomach eating a raw clove, you should incorporate it into as much food as possible.

17. Use Essential Oils with Anti-Viral Properties

Did you know that eucalyptus oil and tea tree oil have antiviral properties that could help you during the cold season? While research is still outstanding on the effectiveness of such products, many testimonials cannot be denied.

By merely rubbing some essential oil around your nose and breathing in the fresh aroma, you could be saving yourself a trip to the doctor.

18. Quit Smoking

Did you know that your chances of catching a cold increase if you smoke cigarettes? When you smoke, you compromise the body’s ability to move germs away from your lungs. Plus, smoking weakens your immune system and compromises your body so it can’t fight off these germs.

19. Eat Plenty of Vegetables

To avoid catching a cold this season, you need to eat plenty of organic vegetables. Your leafy greens are loaded with antioxidants that can enhance your immune system and increase your ability to fight off such conditions. A study showed that eating fruits and vegetables with bright colors that are full of flavonoids can help keep colds at bay.

20. Avoid Junk Food

Your body needs good food like chicken soup, vegetables, fruits, and green tea to stay healthy. If you’re loading up on sugars and carbohydrates, then you’re not nourishing your cells. If you want to avoid getting sick this season, then fuel your body for ultimate infection protection.

catching a cold
Final Thoughts on Protecting Yourself from Catching a Cold

When both bacterial and viral infections are ramped, there are things you can do to protect yourself and your family. Even something as small as proper handwashing can help to keep a cold away. By incorporating a few things from this list, you can minimize your overall risk of contracting a cold or virus.