Wash your hands after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. Picture: Pexels
Wash your hands after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. Picture: Pexels

Simple steps on how to dodge the winter common cold blues

By Vuyolwethu Fundam Time of article published Apr 20, 2021

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Winter is around the corner and that means, whether you're an adult or child, you're susceptible to catching a common cold.

The common cold is a viral infection of your nose and throat, that can be caused by a variety of respiratory viruses.

Rhinoviruses, the usual viral infectious agent in humans, are the most common causes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Other viruses that can cause colds include a respiratory syncytial virus, human parainfluenza viruses, adenovirus, common human coronaviruses, and human metapneumovirus.

You may catch a cold through close physical contact with someone who is infected, or by touching a surface that has been contaminated with their germs.

According to the Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies, other risk factors that can increase your chances of getting a cold include:

Age - Children younger than 6 are at the greatest risk of colds, especially if they spend time in child care settings.

Weakened immune system - Having a chronic illness or an otherwise weakened immune system increases your risk.

Season - Both children and adults are more susceptible to colds in autumn and winter, but you can get a cold at any time.

Smoking - You're more likely to catch a cold, and to have more severe colds, if you're exposed to cigarette smoke.

Exposure - If you're around many people, such as at school or on an airplane, you're likely to be exposed to viruses that cause colds.

The symptoms of a common cold generally appear one to three days after being exposed to the virus that causes it.

A runny nose, scratchy throat, cough, congestion, slight body aches or headaches, and sneezing, are all symptoms that you might have caught it.

How to protect yourself from catching a cold as per CDC:

Wash your hands often, with soap and water

Wash them for 20 seconds, and help young children do the same.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands

Viruses that cause colds can enter your body this way and make you sick.

Stay away from people who are sick

Sick people can spread viruses that cause the common cold, through close contact with others.

Disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as toys, doorknobs, and mobile devices.

How to protect others if you are infected:

Stay at home while you are sick and keep children out of school or daycare while they are sick.

Avoid close contact with others, such as hugging, kissing, or shaking hands.

Cough and sneeze into a tissue then throw it away, or cough and sneeze into your upper shirt sleeve, completely covering your mouth and nose.

Wash your hands after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.

The CDC recommends staying home for 24 hours after experiencing a common cold and other flu-like symptoms.

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