The Common Cold Prevention Hygiene Cleanliness

During cold season, it’s important to practice good hygiene, not just at home but also at work and/or school, when you could be interacting with people carrying the cold virus. By being aware of how colds are spread and following some simple cleanliness routines, you can greatly reduce the chances that you or a member of your family will catch a cold.

The best way to treat a cold is by never getting one in the first place. So how can you take steps to work toward cold prevention?

The common cold is caused by a highly contagious virus. This virus is spread from human to human through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes and through a direct or indirect transfer of body secretions, such as saliva or mucous. The best way to avoid getting a cold, therefore, is to take steps to minimize the transfer of the virus.

Washing Your Hands and Other Prevention Tips

Washing your hands with antibacterial soap kills the cold virus and halts the transmission cycle. It’s a good idea to stock up on antibacterial soap and keep it at every sink in the house.

Other antibacterial products, such as antibacterial hand sanitizers and antibacterial lotions, are also great tools to help keep hands clean when you are away from a sink. You can even buy travel-sized antibacterial products for you to keep in your car, in your purse or in your backpack. However, never count totally on antibacterial products. Some brands are more efficient than others and there is nothing that will kill the cold virus as well as washing your hands with soap and hot water.

In addition to keeping your hands as clean as possible, it is also important to minimize your contact with your mucous membranes. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with hands that may be dirty or covered with germs, as this is precisely how the cold virus can be introduced into your body.

You should also avoid sharing cups and utensils and should avoid eating off another person’s plate to avoid passing a cold from one family member to another.

Using disposable tissues is also a very good idea. This allows the user to throw the tissue away immediately and get rid of a potential source of viral transmission. After using a tissue to either sneeze or blow your nose, be sure to follow up by washing your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap.

Cleanliness in the Home

Colds germs can be transmitted indirectly, such as when an infected person coughs on his hands and then touches a surface or object. When another person touches the surface or object, he can become infected.

To minimize infection via indirect transfer, keep common areas in the house clean. Wiping down sinks and counters with antibacterial cleaners can help minimize your family’s risk of catching a cold, but you should also be mindful to clean other surfaces that people touch, such as doorknobs and even children’s toys.

Easy-to-use commercial disinfectants such as Lysol® can be used to easily kill germs on often-used surfaces. If you don’t want to use a harsh cleaner, consider making your own. For example, some people advocate using vinegar-based solutions instead of chemical disinfectants to clean your home.

One last way to help minimize the cold virus around your home is to open doors and windows occasionally as weather permits. This helps ventilate your home, which, in turn, reduces the opportunity for the cold virus to proliferate in stagnant air.

Resources

Gallion City Health Department (2007). Cold Prevention: 10 Tips for Stopping the Spread of Colds. Retrieved November 4, 2007, from the Galion City Health Department Web site: http://www.ci.galion.oh.us/Health/HColdPrevent.htm.

The Mayo Clinic (2007). The Common Cold: Prevention. Retrieved November 4, 2007, from the Mayo Clinic Web site: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/common-cold/DS00056/DSECTION=8.

Vaxa.com (2007). Cleanliness Next To Healthiness? Just How Important is Good Hygiene? Retrieved November 4, 2007, from the vaxa.com Web site: http://www.vaxa.com/healthtip/wht-cold-prevention.cfm.