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.
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.
SOURCES: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: "Common Cold." Palo Alto Medical Foundation: "The Common Cold." University of Virginia Health System: "Upper Respiratory Infection (URI or Common Cold)." National Jewish Medical and Research Center: "Getting Well When You Have a Cold or the Flu." FDA: "Colds and Flu: Time only Sure Cure." American Lung Association: "A Survival Guide for Preventing and Treating Influenza and the Common Cold."