You can prevent a cold with the right diet, exercise and hygiene. Although you won't be able to ward off every cold or cough, you can reduce the risk of infection with simple tips. We show you how it works!
Preventing the common cold by minimizing the risk of infection
Because of the Corona pandemic, we all know how important regular hand washing is in the fight against viruses. Since a cold, as well as the flu, is caused by viruses, washing your hands thoroughly is a great way to reduce the number of pathogens. Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 30 seconds, for example after shopping, a train ride and in between at the office. The cold viruses enter your body through the mucous membranes of your nose and mouth. Accordingly, you should avoid touching your face
If you do catch a cold, do not sneeze or cough into your hands, as this will spread the virus. Protect others and use the crook of your elbow or handkerchiefs, which you dispose of afterwards.
Airing also reduces the number of pathogens. For this reason, you should open the windows several times a day and let fresh air into the rooms. Incidentally, humidity is also an important parameter for preventing colds. Dry air also dries out your mucous membranes. Cold viruses then have an easy time. You can increase the humidity by placing a bowl of water on the heater and regularly changing the air.
Preventing the common cold with a healthy diet
Your immune system can only work optimally if you supply it with sufficient vitamins and minerals. Some nutrients from the diet play a particularly important role here:
- Vitamin C: The classic for the immune system. You can find this vitamin in fresh fruit and vegetables. Unfortunately, however, it is not very heat-stable and is largely destroyed during cooking. So it makes sense to include raw fruits and vegetables in your diet. You don't have to resort to foods from far away like lemon, because the most vitamin C is found in a local plant: rosehip.
- Vitamin B12: In a vegan lifestyle, this nutrient is not found in food, so it should be obtained through supplementation. In the body, it supports cell division, nerve function and blood formation.
- Zinc: The mineral supports, among other things, the function of the immune system and metabolism. It occurs naturally in wheat bran, oatmeal, pumpkin seeds and more.
Prevent catching a cold through sports and exercise
Exercise not only trains the body itself, but also the immune system. Scientific studies have shown, for example, that the function of natural killer cells increases after moderate exercise. These cells are part of the immune system and can fight off cold viruses. In one study, for example, a positive effect on the immune system was found with T'ai Chi.
However, if you are already sick with a cold or cough, or even have a fever, you should refrain from exercising. The additional strain can quickly become too much for your body. Exercise is therefore a good means of prevention, but not treatment of a cold.
Everyday tips against colds
There are numerous other tips and tricks on how you can prevent a cold. We have listed the most important ones:
- Simple but even more effective is the right clothing. If you get wet or freeze for a long time, the next cold is almost pre-programmed. Therefore, pack a rain jacket, scarf and cap as a precaution.
- If you do get caught in the rain unexpectedly, then replace your clothes with dry ones and warm up again with a delicious tea.
- A tea is in several respects a good idea against a cold. Because through sufficient liquid the mucous membranes remain moist, it warms from the inside and depending on the variety contains essential oils from medicinal plants. These can be useful in the fight against a cold.
- Alternating showers are a time-honored way to strengthen the immune system. Studies have also begun to suggest that alternating between hot and cold water while showering may be helpful. In the beginning, you can also perform the alternating showers only on your legs.
- Similar effects come from regular saunas. Interestingly, the effect of sauna on the immune system is greater in athletes than in non-athletes.
- Smokers have a higher risk of catching a cold and also tend to be sick longer. Therefore, not smoking is a useful strategy against viruses and bacteria.
- If your body lacks sleep, it is not 100 percent efficient. Your immune system also suffers. Find out here how you can sleep better.
- When the first signs of a cold appear, such as a mild sore throat, cold or cough, herbal substances can support the immune system. Examples include essential oils of sage, thyme or peppermint. They are even part of the treatment if your doctor recommends products from natural medicine.
- Some swear by a cold bath at the first signs. Again, the essential oils from plants are said to be beneficial. In addition, the warmth is relaxing, can relieve aching limbs and has a similar germicidal effect as a low fever.
Preventing the common cold: Conclusion
While you won't be able to ward off every flu-like effect, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of declaring one. To do this, make sure you eat a diet rich in minerals and vitamins and get regular exercise. Reduce the number of germs by washing your hands, ventilating, and practicing good sneezing and coughing hygiene.
With simple tips and home remedies such as alternating showers or suitable clothing, you can strengthen your immune system and reduce the risk of catching a cold.