How to Prevent a Cold

A sick man sits on a couch wrapped in a blanket blowing his nose.

7 Effective Ways to Stop the Common Cold in Its Tracks

The common cold lives up to its name by being the most common virus in the United States. 

Affecting about a billion people annually, the common cold is often most prevalent in the fall and winter months, which is why we’ve seen an uptick in recent weeks of those coming down with this annoyingly common illness. 

Common colds can affect anyone at any time throughout the year but are more common during the colder months, when people spend more time closer to one another in smaller indoor spaces. 

While catching a cold usually isn’t something to worry about, it can put a damper on your everyday life and activities and stop you in your tracks. 

There is currently no cure for the cold, but there are a few simple ways to reduce your chances of contracting one in the first place.

Let’s explore the common cold in more detail, including the seven most effective ways to prevent a cold this season. 

What Is the Common Cold?

The common cold is a contagious respiratory virus linked to about 200 viruses

It is most often caused by rhinovirus.

A cold spreads from one person to another through the air and close contact.

The cold is contagious from the day of infection until your symptoms resolve completely. 

Cold Symptoms

A cold most often affects the nose and throat directly.

Symptoms range from mild to severe and can include any of the following:

  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Post-nasal drip
  • Runny nose
  • Stuffy nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Fever

Symptoms take 2 to 3 days to appear after infection and can last up to 2 weeks.

7 Ways to Prevent a Cold

Now that we’ve discussed what a cold is, how it’s passed from one person to another, and the typical symptoms you may experience, let’s take it a step further and discuss ways to prevent it altogether.

Stopping a cold in its tracks ensures you feel your best all winter.

Although there are various theories on preventing a cold, these top seven ways are tried and true options to help slow the spread of germs and reduce your risk of getting a cold. 

We encourage you to follow all seven of these steps:

  1. Wash your hands regularly and often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  2. Avoid touching your face as much as possible, especially your nose, eyes, or mouth.
  3. Stay away from people who are sick.
  4. Eat a well-balanced diet.
  5. Get enough sleep to keep your body and immune system healthy.
  6. Take regular daily vitamins, like zinc and Vitamin D, to help boost your immune response.
  7. Disinfect high-touch areas in your home and at work regularly. 

At-Home Cold Treatment Options

If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of a cold, it can most often be treated at home with rest, hydration, and symptom-specific treatment.

Some cold treatments may include

  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Pain relievers
  • Decongestants
  • Throat lozenges
  • Saline nasal spray or drops
  • A cool-mist vaporizer or humidifier

Complete and Timely Cold Care in Oxford

While we can do everything possible to try and prevent a cold, we can’t rule one out completely, especially if we’ve been in close contact with someone infected with the cold virus.

If you have a cold that is interfering with your daily life or worsening, you should visit us at Oxford Urgent Care for further diagnosis and treatment. 

It is essential to seek urgent or emergency care if you experience the following:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Dehydration symptoms
  • A fever that lasts more than 4 days
  • Symptoms that last more than 10 days or worsen over time

Don’t delay the care you can get today. We are open seven days a week with no appointments necessary. Walk in today to have your cold looked at now.