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On average, adults get two to four colds each year, mostly between September and May. The highly contagious common cold can be hard to avoid, especially when traveling during the holiday season, but it’s not inevitable. This minor infection can last about a week,1 ruining your routine and causing unpleasant symptoms in the meantime. Taking steps to prevent catching a cold can help you avoid getting sick this season. Once you’ve already caught a cold, you won’t be able to stop all your symptoms.However, there are plenty of ways to ease your discomfort on the road to recovery. Keep reading to find out how to prevent a cold and relieve symptoms once you feel them coming.
How to Prevent Catching a Cold
Although different types of viruses can cause a cold, rhinoviruses are the most common cause.1 Viruses spread from infected people to others through the air and close contact.2 You can also catch a cold when you shake hands with someone who has a cold or when you touch a surface, like a doorknob, and then touch your eyes, mouth, or nose.2
You might not always be able to avoid being around other people who have a cold. But you can help reduce your personal risk of catching it with these preventative measures.2
- Wash your hands. Washing your hands often with soap and water can help protect you from getting sick. Wash them for 20 seconds, and help young children do the same.
- Avoid touching your face. Touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands allows the viruses that cause colds to enter your body.
- Practice social distancing. Stay away from people who are sick. Sick people can spread viruses that cause the common cold through close contact with others.
Prevention is the best option for avoiding cold symptoms, but once you’ve caught a cold there are several ways to relieve symptoms when you feel them coming.
How to Relieve Cold Symptoms
Sore throat pain, runny nose, sneezing, and coughing are symptoms of a cold that we’d all rather avoid.2 If you’ve already caught a cold, you won’t be able to get rid of it entirely, but these remedies can help soothe your worst symptoms.3
- Stay hydrated. Drink water, juice, clear broth, or warm, decaffeinated tea to prevent dehydration and loosen congestion. Avoid dehydrating beverages like alcohol, coffee, and caffeinated sodas.
- Get good rest. Resting and getting a good night’s sleep will help your body heal.
- Soothe your sore throat. Gargling saltwater can temporarily relieve a sore throat. Ice, lozenges, or sore throat sprays may also provide relief.
- Add moisture to the air. Dehumidifiers add moisture to your home, which can help loosen congestion.
- Try over-the-counter medicine. Over-the-counter cold medicine can help stop many of your cold symptoms, including nasal and sinus congestion, sore throat pain, and minor aches and pains. Try Theraflu ExpressMax Daytime Severe Cold & Cough Syrup for daytime relief from nasal and sinus congestion, cough, pain, and fever.
How to Stop a Cold from Spreading
Preventing the spread of the common cold can protect others from getting sick and even help you stay healthy in the future. If you have a cold, taking these preventative measures can stop it from spreading.2
- Stay at home. Avoid going to public places while you are sick, and keep your children out of school when they have a cold.
- Avoid close contact. When you do come in contact with others, avoid hugging, kissing, or shaking hands.
- Cough and sneeze into a tissue. Then throw it away, or cough and sneeze into your upper shirt sleeve, completely covering your mouth and nose.
- Wash your hands. Frequently wash your hands throughout the day and always wash them after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
- Disinfect surfaces. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces like doorknobs and mobile devices.
Your cold should go away on its own after a week, but there are plenty of ways to improve or relieve your cold symptoms in the meantime.2 To find out more about how to deal with a cold, explore common cold resources from Theraflu.
1. Common Cold. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/common-cold/symptoms-causes/syc-20351605. Accessed 10/27/21.
2. Common Cold. https://www.cdc.gov/dotw/common-cold/index.html. Accessed 10/27/21.
3. Cold remedies: What works, what doesn't, what can't hurt. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/common-cold/in-depth/cold-remedies/art-20046403. Accessed 10/27/21.