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Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

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Common Cold Prevention

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If you're sick of being sick with a cold, then it's time to learn some cold prevention techniques. It's not hard to prevent a cold. You just need to learn and use some new behaviors and lifestyle habits, every day. Here is how you can stay well.

Prevent Colds With Frequent Hand Washing

Your best protection from the common cold and flu is frequent hand washing. Amazingly, about 80% of contagious diseases are transmitted by touch. The simple friction that occurs when you rub skin against skin while using warm water and soap followed by thorough rinsing and drying can get rid of most potentially harmful germs.

While germs are often transferred to others through household objects -- telephones, doorknobs, toothbrushes, and faucet handles -- the biggest transportation center for germs is your hands. That's why frequent hand washing gets rid of the illness-causing germs and helps to prevent the spread of some diseases -- especially if a family member, friend, or classmate has a cold or flu virus.

The CDC estimates that as many as 49,000 people die from the flu or flu-like illness each year. The CDC also says the simple act of hand washing is the single most important means of preventing the spread of viral and bacterial infections. Yet some studies reveal that many Americans using public restrooms don't wash their hands before leaving. People also forget to wash their hands before preparing meals, and they grab snacks without thinking of washing their hands beforehand. If you want to help prevent colds, just stop -- and wash your hands.

For more in-depth information, see WebMD's Common Cold Prevention: Hand Washing 101.

Also, see WebMD's Video: The Dirty Truth About Proper Hand Washing.

Natural Tips for Preventing the Common Cold

You can't cure a common cold. The best thing you can do is prevent catching the virus that causes the common cold.

For in-depth information, see WebMD's 12 Natural Ways to Prevent a Cold.

Common Cold Prevention at School

Kids lose about 22 million school days collectively because of the cold virus. If you're a parent, you know how a cold can run through a family, making everyone miserable. But there are some excellent tips to stop germs at school.

For in-depth information, see WebMD's Kids and Colds: Germs in the School Room.

WebMD Medical Reference

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