Skip to content

    Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

    Understanding the Common Cold -- Prevention

    Font Size

    How Can I Prevent the Common Cold?

    A strong immune system is the best defense against all infections, common colds included. It may not keep you from getting infected, but you'll recover more quickly. Boost your body's natural resistance by eating well, not smoking, and drinking plenty of water every day.

    Minimize contact with people who have colds. Don't share towels, silverware, or beverages with them. Cold viruses often survive for hours in the open, on doorknobs, on money, and on other surfaces. Wash your hands frequently and properly.

    Understanding the Common Cold

    Find out more about the common cold:





    When you have a cold, do your best to keep it to yourself. A hearty sneeze can carry your cold virus up to 12 feet away, so always cover your mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough. If you sneeze or cough into your hand, your hand can transmit the infection -- so wash up.

    A vaccine to prevent the common cold has been difficult to make, primarily because there are more than 200 different varieties of viruses that can cause colds.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on March 02, 2015

    Today on WebMD

    hot toddy
    15 tips to help you feel better.
    man sneezing into elbow
    Do echinacea and vitamin C really help a cold?
    teen girl coughing
    Get a good night’s rest with these remedies.
    elder berry
    Eat these to fight colds, flu, and more.
    Natural Cold Flu Remedies Slideshow
    cold weather
    Allergy And Sinus Symptom Evaluator
    Boy holding ear
    woman receiving vaccine shot
    woman with fever
    Waking up from sleep
    woman with sore throat