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Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

Understanding the Common Cold -- Prevention

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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:

Basics

Symptoms

Treatment

Prevention

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 David T. Derrer, MD on March 30, 2014

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