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Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

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Colds and Chronic Medical Conditions

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Cold Prevention and Chronic Medical Conditions continued...

Wash your hands. Most cold viruses are spread by direct contact. Fight back by keeping your hands clean.

Don't touch your face. Viruses enter your body through your eyes, nose, and mouth. Keep your hands away from those areas to avoid a cold.

Move regularly. Aerobic exercise, which gets your heart pounding, helps increase your body's natural virus-killing cells and lets you fight off a cold. If you've got a long-term medical condition, talk to your doctor before you start a program of physical activity.

Eat healthy. Make sure your diet includes foods with lots of nutrients, like dark green, red, and yellow vegetables and fruits. But make sure your meals include lean protein, good fats, and complex carbs to keep your immune system in top shape.

Don't smoke. Heavy smokers get more severe colds and more frequent ones. Even being around smoke zaps your body's ability to fight off a cold.

Cut down on alcohol. Heavy drinkers are more likely to get sick and also get complications from a cold.

De-stress. There's some evidence that when you relax, your immune system gets stronger. Take time to learn how, and use those techniques throughout your day.

Cold Treatments

People with some long-term medical conditions are more likely to have side effects from cold medicines. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before you buy any. And make sure the medication doesn't interfere with other drugs you take.

When to Call the Doctor

Some doctors suggest you go see them before you get sick so you can make an action plan for a cold. It can lay out what to do if:

Call 911 if you have trouble breathing or get chest pain.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on August 06, 2014
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