According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the typical adult can expect to contract two or three colds each year. Follow these tips from the experts at the CDC to make this cold and flu season your healthiest yet.
1. Keep your distance. Many viruses travel in droplets of saliva and mucus. When someone coughs or sneezes, the germs can travel quite far from the nose and mouth. Keep your distance from people who exhibit signs of illness to avoid exposure to virus-laden droplets. If you're the one coughing and sneezing, do your co-workers and family a favor and use a tissue.
2. Wash your hands. Nothing beats frequent hand washing to avoid bugs. Be sure to use soap and work up a good lather for about 15 seconds before rinsing and drying your hands thoroughly. Bacteria and viruses thrive in damp environments, so drying is a key part of good hand-washing technique. You can also use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, but it can be harsh on your skin over time.
3. Wipe stuff down. Disinfect common work surfaces by wiping them down with disinfectant wipes.
4. Nurture the immune system. Stress, poor diet and a lack of exercise can weaken the immune system, so take steps to maintain the body's natural defense system. Eat nutritious foods, exercise three to four times a week and get plenty of rest so the immune system can recharge.
5. Find some alone time. Studies have found that some privacy at work can boost job performance and satisfaction. On the other hand, lack of privacy and control over the environment can lead to elevated job stress, potentially compromising the immune system.
6. Tune out the noise. Noise is among the biggest issues for people at work, but it constitutes more than just a nuisance. Research has linked routine noise exposure to chronically elevated levels of epinephrine, the hormone which triggers the body's "fight or flight" response. Try to tune out while at home by turning off the TV and ignoring other electronics.
7. Treat colds immediately. Even with all the proper precautions, germs can get you eventually. If you treat your symptoms aggressively, you may recover faster and avoid passing the virus to anyone else. Some remedies may even reduce the duration of a cold and lessen the severity of symptoms.