Six Ways to Help Prevent a Cold

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Information & Advice

Health and Beauty Magazine

Six Ways to Help Prevent a Cold

Lucie Tobin

Lucie Tobin

Health & Beauty Magazine Online Editor

Published 17th November 2008

'Tis the season for carols, crowds, and – like it or not – colds. The best way to fend off winter chills and increase your chance of staying well is with our expert practical prevention tips.

1. Wash your hands… properly

The best way to prevent the spread of winter bugs is to wash your hands – 80 per cent of infectious diseases are spread through human contact. But are you washing them thoroughly enough? ‘Rinse your hands with water first. Add a 50p-sized blob of hand wash and work up into a lather, then work this over the top and sides of each hand, and your wrists. Run each hand over the other, working your fingers over and between your knuckles, making sure everywhere is covered with soap,’ says Boots Pharmacist Angela Chalmers. ‘Lastly, rinse your hands thoroughly and pat dry with a clean towel.’

Ask about Boots Antibacterial Aloe Vera Hand Wash


2. Use a tissue

The average adult gets two to five colds a year, so the occasional sneezing session is inevitable. But unless you can wash your hands immediately, the best place to sneeze or cough is directly into a tissue. Throw the tissue away afterwards – not into your handbag to roll around with your make-up and spread germs. ‘If you can’t wash your hands straight away, antibacterial hand gels really helps, just make sure you rub it in until it has dried,’ advises Angela. ‘It sounds bizarre but if you don’t have a tissue, sneeze into the crook of your elbow, not your hand. This will help stop you passing on germs.’

Ask about Cuticura Anti-Bacterial Hand Hygiene Gel and Boots Ultrabalm Tissues


3. Stop the spread of germs

Try to get out of the habit of touching your face – on average we rub our eyes or nose, or scratch our face between 20 and 50 times a day. ‘Your fingers can easily become contaminated with viruses by touching door handles or shaking hands,’ explains Professor Ron Eccles, director of the Common Cold Centre. ‘You may then touch your nose or eyes and infect yourself.’

Ask about Vicks First Defence Hand Protection Foam


4. Wear slippers

Two-thirds of germs in the home are brought in from outside. A study in April 2008 by the University of Arizona found our shoes regularly carry bacteria including E. Coli and pneumonia, and 99 percent of these health-threatening germs transfer to our floors. So copy the Japanese, invest in some slippers, leave all footwear by the door and make your house a shoe-free zone.


5. Look after your nose

As temperatures drop it’s second nature to bundle up in coats, hats and gloves, but what about your nose? ‘Cold air causes the blood vessels in your nose to constrict and dry out. But it’s these vessels that carry the immune cells that fight bacteria and help ward off colds,’ says GP Dr Chris Steele. So next time you venture out, be nicer to your nose and wrap your scarf over it. You may look like a bank robber, but at least you’ll be a well one!

Vaseline Lip Therapy soothes dry and sore skin around the nose.


6. Hike up the humidity

‘Central heating can dry out the air in a room and this dries out the mucus lining in your nose, which is the first barrier of defence in stopping infections getting into your system’ says Dr Chris Chris. Opening the window a crack will help too – circulating a bit of fresh air works wonders for chasing out germs.
Try the Heaven Fresh Silent Personal Ionic Air Purifier & Built-in Humidifier XJ-850.

Written by Wendy Golledge

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