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How to Avoid the Common Cold this Winter

While winter may not be a concern down here in South Florida, it certainly is for the rest of the country. Along with shorter days, cloudy skies and temperatures in the single digits, winter inevitably brings cold season. Stay healthy with these six tips to avoid the common cold:

Eat a Nutritious, Balanced Diet
The right diet is your first defense against the common cold. When your body has the vitamins and nutrients it needs, it’s better prepared to help you fight off a virus. Eat plenty of fruits, veggies, lean protein and whole grains. Avoid sugar, a known immunity suppressant.

Keep Your Hands to Yourself
Unfortunately, the common cold is ridiculously easy to pick up. Think about all the things you touch throughout the day. Now think about all of the other people that touch the same thing. One study found that viruses spread to fingertips 60% of the time when touched within an hour of contamination. Even 18 hours later, transmission still occurred 33% of the time. Regularly cleaning and/or disinfecting surfaces that are touched a lot (i.e. countertops, desks, doorknobs, handlers, phones, toys) can help slow the spread of germs.

Wash Your Hands… A Lot
It isn’t very practical to avoid touching common surfaces the entire winter. The next best solution is to keep your fingers out of your eyes and nose, however most of us do this subconsciously throughout the day. Therefore, the most realistic approach is to wash your hands frequently. Use warm water and soap, scrubbing the fronts and backs of your hands, as well as in between your fingers, for at least 60 seconds.

There is a direct correlation between stress and a weakened immune system. In a 2006 experiment at Carnegie Mellon University, researchers found that people who are generally happy, lively and calm are better able to fight off both the common cold and the flu than people who were anxious, hostile or depressed!

Get a Good Night’s Sleep
In one study, participants who slept less than seven hours were three times more likely to come down with a cold than those who slept eight hours or more. The quality of sleep also matters. The better you sleep, the better your body is at fighting off a cold.

Supplement with Immune Boosters
A multivitamin is important every day, not just at the start of the cold season. Look for products with Vitamin C, zinc, Quercetin and other antioxidants to help protect cells and promote a healthy immune system.