Baby, it’s cold outside. And you know what that means…the season of the common cold has arrived.
But before you isolate yourself in your sterilized bubble or break out your emergency supply of tissues, consider this: there are steps you can take to prevent a cold from coming on so you can get through this frigid winter healthy and well.
How to Prevent a Cold
1. Wash (and dry) your hands
Just goes to show that Mom’s always right. Washing your hands—and often—is perhaps one of the most effective steps you can take to prevent a cold. After all, your hands come in contact with a ton of germs, and when you touch your face or rub your eyes, you’re giving these germs a clear pathway into your body. Wash your hands thoroughly with plenty of soap to get rid of those germs—but make sure to dry your hands thoroughly afterwards, as germs cling to your skin easier when it’s wet.
2. Keep stress levels down
If you’ve had a highly stressful winter, keep a box of tissues at the ready. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), stress can weaken the immune system. Dealing with your stress effectively will not only make you happier, but healthier, too. Just another incentive to live a stress-free life—after all, being sick would just make you more stressed!
3. Get plenty of sleep
Make sure to get your beauty sleep. Sleep quality and quantity is important for the strength of your immune system. A Carnegie Mellon study found that those who didn’t sleep as well or as often were more susceptible to coming down with the bug.
Lace up those running shoes. According to a study by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (say that five times fast), exercise can prevent a cold. In the study, compared to a control group, the exercise group was sick 30-40% less often.
Not feeling up to a full workout? Your morning meditation can also boost your immune system. The University of Wisconsin study also tested with a mindfulness meditation group. The participants who meditated were sick a whopping 40 to 50% less often than the control group.
Probiotics are live organisms that help promote health and are present in foods like yogurt, milk, and even dark chocolate. If you eat foods rich in probiotics, it may help prevent a cold from attacking, according to a 2012 study.
7. Eat garlic
If you want to prevent a cold, try eating more garlic—the bad breath is worth it. Garlic contains allicin, and one study has found that participants who consumed allicin had significantly fewer and shorter than those who did not.
Don’t be afraid of the season of the sniffles. You can prevent a cold by washing (and drying) your hands, keeping your stress levels down, getting plenty of sleep, exercising and meditating, eating foods full of probiotics, or eating garlic. You don’t have to be fear getting sick. With these tips, you can make your winter a healthy and happy one.
Photo by anna gutermuth