Microbes Are Everywhere: 10 Things You Can Do to Avoid Catching a Cold

When someone in the office begins to cough, sniff, or sneeze, most people run the other direction. They may also open all the doors using their elbow and wear a mask around the office. Rather than taking these extreme measures, why not use a few, more practical strategies to avoid catching a cold this season.

  1. Use Essential Oils

Regardless of if a person is at home or in the office, keeping a few basic essential oils on-hand is highly recommended. Lavender, peppermint, and tea tree can all help someone who is healthy, stay healthy and someone who is sick, recover faster. They have the additional benefit of reducing cases of pain or stress, too. To get all the benefits offered by essential oils, be sure to purchase quality options, like the products available at

  1. Turn on a Humidifier

If a person is exposed to low levels of humidity throughout the day, their nasal passages become dry. This is something that occurs because the air is dry, which prevents moisture from getting into the nose and mucous membranes. This makes it more difficult to trap and eliminate the micro-bugs that often settle in the sinuses, and eventually cause a cold. A humidifier can help to prevent this problem and keep things from getting too dry.

  1. Get Plenty of Vitamin D

Research has shown that individuals who aren't getting enough vitamin D are more likely to experience an upper respiratory infection. This results in a stuffy nose, scratchy throat, and cough. However, with plenty of vitamin D in the system, a person has an effective way to activate their infection-fighting responses and prevent respiratory infections and the common cold.

  1. Keep Hands Clean and Away from the Face

Even if a person doesn't notice it, they probably touch their face quite a bit through the course of the day. In fact, a study actually showed that an individual has the tendency to touch their face, on average, 16 times an hour. During cold and flu season this is one of the fastest ways to get those germs and bacteria into a person's system, so just don't do it. While it may not be possible to stop this altogether, make a conscious effort to do so and make sure to wash hands regularly throughout the day.

  1. Disinfect the Phone

Consider all the different places a person is likely to put their phone down during the day -; in the bathroom, kitchen, and even on the restaurant table. In fact, phones carry up to 10 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat. To disinfect these devices, use disinfecting wipes, but be sure to shut the phone down first.

  1. Take Some Time to Relax

If a person is feeling a bit on edge or run-down, it may pave the way for cold and flu germs to take hold. That's because stress causes the body to pump out more cortisol, which is a hormone that can seriously weaken the immune system's ability to fight infection. This means that it is important to make winding down a priority, which can be done by meditating, doing yoga, or just going for a walk in the evening.

  1. Get Enough Sleep

Getting plenty of sleep is another key element of preventing a cold. People who tend to get under seven hours of sleep up to three times each week are much more likely to suffer from a cold than individuals who are able to sleep eight or more hours per night. According to the National Sleep Foundation, healthy adults should get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night.

  1. Just Add Zinc

It has been proven that zinc can be extremely effective at reducing the growth and spread of various viruses. Even better, when a person takes zinc directly after they appear (either in the form of nasal sprays or lozenges) the duration and the severity of symptoms of a cold are reduced significantly. Rather than taking a zinc supplement, though, try to get the mineral through the foods that are eaten. Lentils, meat, oysters, and tofu are all great sources of this mineral.

  1. Don't Share Drinking Glasses

When someone in the family has a cold, consider using disposable cups or labeling everyone's glass. This will help to prevent someone from accidentally spreading the bug. Also, be even more careful when it comes to sharing anything that may be contaminated by someone who is sick, such as utensils, towels, and telephones.

  1. Power Up with Probiotics

It's important to remember that not all bacteria are considered bad -; there are good bugs in a person's gut and found in various probiotic foods, such s kombucha, sauerkraut, and yogurt. These can help to give the immune system a bit of a boost. After all, the biggest portion of a person's immune system is located in the GI tract.

While more research is needed to provide proof that probiotics are effective at keeping viruses at bay, studies have suggested that the "good bugs" are beneficial when cold symptoms arise. Even if there is no concrete proof, it can't hurt to give the immune system a bit of a boost with quality probiotics, right?

Keeping the Cold at Bay

As anyone can see, there are several steps they can take to help minimize the impact and occurrence of the cold in themselves and their family. While it may still be necessary to use caution when around others who display symptoms, there's no need to go into quarantine to remain healthy. The tips here provide effective and realistic ways to keep the germs away and fight off any germs that may infiltrate a person's defenses.

There is no question that being informed is one of the best ways to keep a cold away. If someone needs more advice or information about what they can do to remain healthy, they should talk to their doctor who can provide even more tips and information about what to do and avoid, to help keep from catching a cold.