Colds with runny noses and coughs are annoying, and once the symptoms are there, one can often only wait and take it easy. It is better to be active in advance by preventing the common cold, for example, with the help of cold spray. Here are the other ways you can protect yourself.
Avoid infection with cold germs
A cold – also called flu infection – is an infection of the upper respiratory tract, whose causes are usually viruses. We mainly infect other people with pathogens. Please note the following in order not to be infected with viruses and thus to prevent the common cold:
- Keep your distance from the sick. Because droplets that get into the environment when you cough and sneeze fly relatively far. Cold viruses can be transmitted through the air (droplet infection). If someone sneezes around you, you can discreetly turn away.
- You should also avoid physical contact with sick people, including shaking hands and kissing and cuddling.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap to remove pathogens. Special disinfectants are not absolutely necessary. You should not use towels that others have used to dry off!
- We touch our faces several times an hour – mostly unconsciously. As a result, our hands come into contact with the mucous membranes. Avoid touching your face if possible.
Prevent colds by supporting the body’s defenses
We come into contact with many pathogens every day, but only a few of them cause diseases. Whether we get sick after exposure to cold viruses depends on the amount of the pathogen and on our immune system. Support your body’s defenses with these tips so that you can avert colds better.
Protect the nasal mucosa
Our nasal mucous membrane lines the nose from the inside and has an important task: It provides the first barrier against cold viruses that have penetrated. The cells of the nasal mucous membrane have small cell processes that transport foreign bodies out of the body through their even movement. The nasal mucous membrane can only perform this natural defense function if it is kept sufficiently moist. Certain cells of the nasal mucous membrane form a secretion that ensures sufficient moisture in the nose. That means: If the nasal mucous membranes dry out too much due to dry heating air in winter or due to excessive air conditioning in summer, the nasal mucous membrane can no longer perform its natural defense function properly, and the risk of infection with cold viruses increases. The majority of all cold viruses enter our bodies through the mucous membranes of the nose.
This is how you can support the barrier function of the mucous membrane in order to ward off colds:
- Especially during the winter months, the nasal mucous membrane is irritated by dry heated air. This makes it easier for cold viruses to enter the body. Regular ventilation and water bowl setting up provide oxygen and humidify the air.
- During your lunch break, always get some fresh air to avoid the cold viruses and dry air.
You can also use the cold spray: The active ingredient forms a moisturizing protective film on the nasal mucosa and can thus prevent cold viruses from infecting the nasal mucosa cells and thus triggering a cold.
Diet: balanced and healthy
With a balanced and healthy diet, you can support your immune system and thus prevent colds:
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables to provide the body with adequate vitamins and minerals.
- It is also important to drink a lot: at least 1.5 liters of water or unsweetened tea a day is recommended. This tip will also help if you are already sick. Because the liquid also makes the mucus in the airways more liquid and can be better transported away.
Vitamin supplements are usually not necessary with a varied diet.
Exercise strengthens the immune system because it keeps our immune cells busy. The movement of our muscles also stimulates the lymphatic fluid. In this way, our immune system deals more actively with foreign bodies in the lymph nodes. Moderate training is best for strengthening your defenses. However, if you have already caught a cold, you should take it easy, and it would be better not to do any sport.
Get enough sleep and rest
Sufficient sleep is important for our immune system because our immune cells are particularly active when we sleep. In addition to getting enough sleep, you should also pay attention to relaxation in everyday life. In the case of long-term stress, the hormone cortisol is released, which reduces the activity of the immune system. Take time out and relax consciously to ward off colds.
Hardening off with alternating showers
If you like, you can also go to the sauna or take alternating showers: The temperature change from cold to warm strengthens the immune system and helps prevent colds. However, you should avoid these methods at the first signs of a cold, as they can put additional strain on the body.