Acchoo! Tips to prevent spreading a cold

Common colds are the primary reason why children miss school and adults miss work. You’d think that would stop people from spreading the disease, but unfortunately, it does not. If you are under the spell of a pesky cold, you must take a few basic precautions, so you can protect yourself as well as others. Every little bit goes a long way.

  1. Minimise your exposure to others

Staying home for the first few days of a cold to prevent spreading it to others is long-standing medical advice. If you do get sick, try to stay home from work and limit contact with other people. Avoid hugging, kissing or shaking hands with others too. Move away from others when coughing or sneezing. In fact, cough and sneeze into your upper shirt sleeve to complete cover your mouth and nose. If by chance their immune system is weak, they will be vulnerable to getting infected too. That’s avoidable.

Staying home also gives you some control over what you do and don’t expose yourself to. However, there are some situations where staying home may be less effective than staying in an open office environment. For example, if you have a child who gets sick often and needs help at school or day-care during the flu season, it’s probably better for you to keep working until you’re better than if you didn’t have any other options.

The reverse is also true. If you are healthy, it’s best to avoid contact with people who are nursing a cold. You don’t want to bring the virus home either.

  1. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth
    Don’t touch your face, especially your nose and mouth immediately after arriving home from a trip. If you have had contact with allergens or cold causing viruses, they may enter your body through these three sources. The pandemic has made us mindful of how often our fingers touch these areas. And just how much damage that can do. A way to minimize contact – keep a box of soft tissues handy. Cough and sneeze into a tissue then throw it away to avoid reinfection. Remember to wash your hands after doing so too.
  1. Wash your hands regularly

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after coming home, using the bathroom, changing diapers or going on a sneezing spree. Plenty has been said about this precaution. But it cannot be emphasised enough, personal hygiene will go a long way in minimising the spread of a cold virus. If hand soap is not available, use an alcohol-based sanitiser. Keep it within reach.

4. Prevent further infection
If you are the one with the cough or cold, wash your dishes separately by hand instead of using a dishwasher, to prevent further infection. Disinfect frequently touched surfaces like toys, doorknobs, mobile devices, TV remotes, computer mouse. Sigh! The more surfaces you think of the more you realise how easy it is to spread the virus. So don’t go on a cleaning spree. The best you can is good enough.

Remember, there is no cure for a cold. In addition to the above precautions, drinking plenty of fluids, taking lots of rest, staying in are your best bet. Reaching for safe, natural over the counter medicines might do well to curb your cold too. But never make a habit of medicating yourself without prescription. If your cold persists for more than 7 days, do consider talking to your local physician.

Tags: Preventing colds, Household tips to prevent cold infection, hand-washing