If you feel constantly surrounded by a chorus of coughs and sneezes – at work, at the grocery store, or even at home – you’re not alone.
Here are five things you can do to avoid catching a cold.
1. Wash your hands.
Do so often, especially after using the bathroom or touching inanimate objects, like bathroom faucets and door handles, in public places. Also, try to stop touching your face. It sounds silly, but the average American touches their eyes, nose, mouth, or face every 20 seconds, according to Gregory Poland, MD, director of the Vaccine Research Group at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., allowing germs easily access into the body.
2. Go to bed early.
You need plenty of sleep to keep your immune system in tip-top shape this time of year.
3. Eat healthy food with plenty of vitamins.
This will also keep your immune system going strong. Cold and flu season runs in tandem with candy season – from Halloween to Easter. So make an effort to fill your plate with vegetables at lunch and dinner, and snack on fruit throughout the day.
We know it’s no longer swimsuit season, but do your best to stay moving during the cooler months. Regular exercise is another immune-system booster, which can prevent cold bugs you do catch from making you sick.
5. Try zinc lozenges.
If you feel a cold coming on despite your best efforts to stave off germs, research has shown that zinc lozenges might shorten cold duration. “They bind to the viral particles and help prevent some of the replication,” says Michael Benninger, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic. “It won’t prevent you from getting a cold, but it may make your cold less sever and last not quite as long.”