Health Topics

6 Tips to Keep Coughs and Colds Away

These good habits can prevent the transfer of germs to others.

Coughs and Colds

Colds are caused by dozens of viruses. Therefore, there are no effective cold vaccines. However, the easiest way to stay healthy in cold season is prevention. This can be tricky with curious children. Follow these steps to keep you and your family from getting coughs and colds this season. Good habits can prevent the transfer of germs to other children or family members.

Six Good Habits To Prevent The Transfer of Germs

  1. Stop bacteria and viruses in their tracks. When you can't get to a sink to wash, gently rub an alcohol-based hand solution with at least 60% alcohol. It will kill many infection-causing bacteria.
  2. Hand washing. It sounds so simple, but washing your hands throughout the day is surprisingly effective in keeping cold viruses from infecting you and those around you. Start these habits early:
    ◦ Teach your children the value of washing their hands several times each day.
    ◦ Remember to clean under fingernails where bacteria can hide.
    ◦ Timing is everything. Wash your hands for at least 15 seconds; enough time to hum "Happy Birthday" to yourself!
    ◦ Use hand gels and liquid hand cleansers that are gentle on skin. And since lather traps bacteria, be sure to rinse thoroughly.
    ◦ Then pat dry with a disposable paper towel.
  3. Keep things clean. Common household surfaces, like counters in the kitchen and bathrooms, are prime areas where cold viruses and bacteria can be passed from one family member to another. Also keep toys, those for children and pets, clean every day.
  4. Stop sharing. If someone in your home is not feeling well, don't share glasses or tableware. Designate specific glasses and mugs as your own.
  5. Make a tissue your target. Feel a cough or sneeze coming on? Try to cough and sneeze into a tissue. Then throw the tissue away immediately and wash your hands. No tissue within reach? Then sneeze or cough into your bent elbow.
  6. Keep your distance. If a family member or co-worker is suffering with a cold, avoid close contact for any length of time.

If you live with pre-school children, select childcare services and nursery schools carefully. Review their cleaning and health practices, especially their guidelines pertaining to keeping sick children at home.