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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Top 10 Ways to Prevent a Cold

Top 10 Ways to Prevent a Cold

It’s that time of year again when the common cold begins being passed from one person to the next. The sneezing, coughing, sore throat, and runny nose leave you wanting to curl up under the bed covers. To avoid the misery, prevention is the best cure. So with over 200 mutating cold-causing viruses floating around, what’s a person to do to avoid getting sick? While it can be hard to dodge every germ, there are proactive ways to help prevent catching a cold. Here is how:

  • Wash hands frequently. Most cold viruses are spread through direct contact. Shaking hands and touching doorknobs, keyboards, and telephones are all easy ways to catch germs. Wash hands as often as possible, scrubbing with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds. Keep hand sanitizer available for when hand washing is not possible.
  • Avoid touching your face. The eyes, nose, and mouth are primary entry points for cold germs to enter the body.
  • Stay away from people who are coughing and sneezing. The less exposure you have to viruses, the less chance of catching them.
  • Drink plenty of water. Water is the best way to help flush toxins out of your system. Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day.
  • Eat healthy foods. Eating a well-balanced diet will provide the vitamins and minerals you need for a strong immune system.
  • Exercise. Regular aerobic exercise will help keep your immune system ready to fight off invading germs.
  • Avoid smoking and second-hand smoke. Studies show that smokers are much more likely to catch colds and display more severe symptoms than non-smokers. There is also evidence that breathing second-hand smoke suppresses the immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to getting sick.
  • Reduce alcohol intake. Alcohol dehydrates the body and has a negative effect on the immune system.
  • Spend time outdoors. Germs thrive in closed areas, so take time each day to step out for a breath of fresh air. In addition, central heating systems dry out the air and subsequently your body, leaving you more susceptible to germs. Running a humidifier in cold months will add moisture back into the air.
  • Get adequate rest. Working too hard and not getting enough sleep lowers your resistance to germs. Plan your day to allow eight hours of sleep each night.
  • If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.