Top 5 Tips for Preventing Colds

VIDEO: Dr. Alanna Levine discusses how to treat and prevent the flu.
ABCNEWS.com

When it comes to colds, you know the drill. Once you have one, the best you can do is try to manage your symptoms, not cure it. So as your mother told you: Prevention really is the best medicine. Here are some surprising ways to keep germs at bay.

What You Need to Know About Cold and Flu

Tips for Preventing Colds

This Eastern exercise rev's your body's cold-fighting defenses by as much as 47 and even triples the protection you get from a flu shot. The secret to tai chi's elixir-like quality, scientists suspect, lies in its slow movements and controlled breathing.

Tips for Preventing Colds

Every time you push an elevator button, clutch a treadmill handle, or twist open a doorknob, your hands get populated by tons of germs. That's why washing your hands is the single best way to keep from getting sick, say experts. Scrub with soap and hot water for 20 seconds, and don't forget between your fingers and under nails. When you can't get to a sink, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, says Allison Aiello, PhD, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health."

Cold or Flu: Can You Tell?

Tips for Preventing Colds

You know that friendships counteract the harmful effects of stress hormones, but new research says the more friends you have, the healthier you'll be. Carnegie Mellon doctors gave 83 college freshmen an influenza vaccine and found that those with larger social networks produced more flu-fighting antibodies than those who hung out in smaller groups. Students who reported feeling lonely produced fewer antibodies, as well. Start a book group or check the Web (try Meetup.com) to cultivate hobbies and meet new people.

Sneaky Habits That Are Making You Sick

Tips for Preventing Colds

If someone in your house has come down with a case of the sniffles, it may seem inevitable that you will start sneezing, too. One trick to avoid catching their germs: Keep your toothbrushes separate. Don't store your family's toothbrushes together in a glass. Put them in the sort of holder that doesn't let them touch each other. Shake them after using so that they dry fast--germs don't thrive well on dry surfaces. Of course, don't share toothbrushes--it's a very direct way to share germs.

The Worst Places For Your Health

Tips for Preventing Colds

Change dish towels every day. Don't dry dishes with the same towel that you use for your hands. Even better, let your dishes air dry. Clean your sponges in the dishwasher and change them often.

10 Places Germs Lurk

***

More from Prevention:

Dr. Oz's Secrets to Great Health

Old Wives' Tales About Cold and Flu, Debunked

The Best and Worst Natural Cold Remedies

Make a Speedy Recovery From a Cold or Flu

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Share
Copy
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: People stand in prayer after marching about a mile to the police station to protest the shooting of Michael Brown, Aug. 20, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo.
Charlie Riedel/AP Photo
A-Rod Buys Meryl Streeps LA Home
Zillow | Inset: Ethan Miller/Getty Images
PHOTO:
Paul Hames/California Department of Water Resources via Getty Images|Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
PHOTO: Jars of Nutella are displayed on a shelf at a market, Aug. 18, 2014, in San Francisco.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images