Home » Your Health » 7 Surprising Ways to Ward Off a Winter Cold

7 Surprising Ways to Ward Off a Winter Cold

It’s the colder season, so you probably just assume you’re going to end up with a cold at some point in the next few months. However, what if there were ways to avoid getting a cold in the first place? Turns out there are strategies you can try.

While they’re not foolproof, these seven tips you can try at home or in the office (and outside) are worth a shot to avoid being miserable and stuffy for a week or more – or at least will help reduce the amount of time you’re sick.

1. Blow Away Germs

One of the suggestions from Health.com is interesting – it’s a strategy to avoid letting airborne germs enter you in the first place. Cold viruses enter your system through your nose and mouth, whether you’re touching them (after touching an infected surface) or breathing in particles from an infected person.

The source suggests that if you find yourself near someone that’s sneezing or coughing, you can “gently and slowly breathe out” until you’re a safe distance – which is 6 to 10-feet. This will help ensure you don’t suck in airborne viruses.

2. Wash Your Hands Regularly

Seems like a simple one, but many people don’t follow this advice closely enough. WebMD says you should think like a doctor, who may be exposed to cold and flu viruses multiple times a day (and so can you).

Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds regularly throughout the day, suggests the source. You can also try carrying hand sanitizer with you if you don’t have regular access to a faucet. Use a paper towel to turn the faucet off, or you could be ending your hygiene ritual by picking up more germs.

3. Use Antiseptic Wipes

There are many surfaces in an office or home that can harbor cold germs, so one great way to avoid picking them up is by regularly disinfecting the places they most like to hang out. Disinfectant wipes are readily available at most stores, and are usually safe on electronics as long as you follow all the directions (it’s best to unplug devices before cleaning when you can).

Common surfaces that germs love to gather on include computer keyboards, smartphones, remote controls, drawer and door handles, and even car steering wheels and dashboard controls, notes ThisMamaCooks.com. Don’t forget light switches and even your dog’s leash handle, it adds.

4. Run Away from Viruses

Okay, not literally. However, running and types of exercise are one way to ward off a cold, as exercise helps to promote a stronger immune system, according to MedicinePlus.gov.

“Physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways. This may reduce your chance of getting a cold, flu, or other illness,” explains the source. The site also explains it can help you avoid more serious health problems such as heart disease. Interestingly, the source admits that no one really knows exactly why or how physical activity can help boost immunity. But if it works for you, who cares?

5. Consume Antioxidants

Not only have antioxidants been shown to reduce the chance of developing serious illnesses like cancer by protecting cells, they can also help ward off colds and flu, according to LifeScript.com. That means eating lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, as well as nuts and seeds, it explains.

The antioxidants in these foods are actually in the form of vitamins A, B6, C, and E, and also contain minerals that help fight off sickness such as copper, iron, selenium, and zinc, it adds. These all have other essential functions in your body, so it’s best to try to include them in your regular diet or consider supplements.

6. Rest and De-stress

WebMD notes there’s a “deep ‘mind-body’ link at play when it comes to fighting off a cold,” and that being sad, angry or overworked can increase your chance of getting sick. These kinds of emotions can also “slow your immune system just when you need it running at full power to fight the cold virus,” it explains.

The source suggests listening to your body, and if you feel some signs of an illness coming on (like a scratchy throat or fatigue), kick it down a gear and get some rest and all the sleep you can. Take a day off or avoid stressful situations if you can to give your brain and body a chance to fight back.

7. Drink Enough Water

This is another simple trick to beat colds that you should already be doing. FitDay.com lists 5-benefits of drinking water in relation to your immune system, noting proper hydration helps your all of your bodily functions stay at optimal levels.

The list of benefits of drinking water throughout the day includes flushing toxins through your kidneys, and also by allowing cells to take in nutrients by expelling waste. Water also helps lymph production to circulate white blood cells (that fight infections), and it also helps keep your eyes and mouth clean and moist (which the source says will help repel dust, dirt and germs). The source recommends 8 to 10-glasses a day, but you can consult a doctor or dietician to get an accurate amount based on your needs.


We Recommend

More on ActiveBeat
  • 12 Natural Cough Remedies
    With winter in full force and people spending most of their time within the warmer confines of homes and offices, the common cold is highly visible.
    Your Health
  • Five More Die From Flu in San Diego County
    Five additional people have died from flu-related causes in San Diego County. This brings the influenza-related death tally from 14 up to 19—marking this season as the fourth...
    Your Health
  • Try to Stomach These 12 Facts About Gastroenteritis
    This illness has the word "flu" in it, but let's be clear – it's not the same thing as influenza, and is not caused by the same virus as flu.
    Your Health
  • 10 Ways You Could Be Prolonging Your Cold
    Regardless of if you’re sniffling from a common cold or battling full blown fever and sore throated-influenza, you should be making time for rest and relaxation.
    Your Health
  • 10 Convincing Reasons to Get Your Flu Shot
    Influenza might be just a minor 2-week annoyance for you. However, the flu causes more hospitalizations and deaths in children, seniors, and those with compromised immune systems...
    Your Health
  • 12 Benefits of Barley Water to Drink Up
    When you hear the words barley water, some people may make a connection to beer. But the main difference is that barley water hasn't gone through a fermentation process, so there's...
    Your Health
  • The Early Warning Signs of Menopause
    Perimenopause is referred to as the final cessation of your menstrual cycle and the time in which you will start to see and feel the signs and symptoms of menopause—including...
    Your Health
  • Ministroke or TIA: 12 Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments
    No stroke is good, but there are some worse than others. That's the case of a "ministroke," also known as a transient ischemic attack (TIA), which doesn't present all of the...
    Your Health
  • Distemper in Dogs: 12 Symptoms and Treatment Options
    Canine distemper is a viral illness that affects dogs. It is highly contagious, and can be spread among dogs and other animals including coyotes, ferrets, foxes, raccoons, and...
    Your Health
  • 15 Signs You May Have an Ulcer
    An ulcer is like a nasty canker sore (or crater) that typically develops either on the lining of the stomach (a gastric or peptic ulcer) or at the opening of the small intestine in...
    Your Health
  • Eyeing 13 Myths and Facts about Vision Health
    Our eyes – we sometimes take them for granted, but they're responsible for one of our most important senses.
    Your Health
  • 15 Common Symptoms of a Blood Clot
    Blood clots typically form deep within the veins of the legs—deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and can travel through the body.
    Your Health
  • 12 Possible Medical Causes of Hyperventilation
    Hyperventilation, or overbreathing, is a condition in which a person breathes deeper and more rapidly than normal.
    Your Health
  • Balancing 12 Signs Your Gut Bacteria Are Unhealthy
    Most of us are aware that what we put into our bodies will have an effect on our health, but there is more and more evidence that links your gut health to other health problems –...
    Your Health
  • 12 Strength-Building Exercises for Women Over 50
    It's no secret that staying lean and physically fit can become a much tougher challenge with age.
    Your Health