Preventing the Common Cold


| 13 Comments

It's that time of year again. More likely than not, the majority of the people around you are getting sick, or already there. Being a freshman, this is my first time experiencing a dorm setting, but I'm sure more of you would agree: once one person on your floor is sick, so is almost everyone else.

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         The most common virus going around at the moment is the good old common cold. Something that is easily caught, but not as easy to get rid of. Everyone hates the hacking, sniffing, sneezing, and coughing associated with the common cold, so why not try to prevent it? Here are some foolproof tactics doctors and nutritionists swear by:

1.    SUFFICIENT SLEEP! This is the most basic way to prevent the common cold, however, not often followed by people, especially college students. When you don't sleep enough, your mind and body are too weary to function properly. In a study published in Arch Intern Med, of the 153 healthy people given a rhinovirus (the predominant cause of the common cold), those who slept fewer than seven hours were almost three times more likely to develop a cold than those with eight or more hours of sleep. That means that if you get that 1 extra hour of sleep a night, your 3 times less likely to pick up a cold even if you're given the initial symptoms!

2.    WASH YOUR HANDS! Not a very surprising or new tactic, but research shows that 80% of diseases are transmitted by touch. Therefore, washing your hands often and washing them well will help to significantly decrease your chance of catching the common cold. Also, avoid touching your face with dirty hands! This may be hard to do, seeing as most people touch their face 2000-3000 times a day. Its much worse to touch your face with dirty hands though, so make sure to wash our hands often!

3.    NO SMOKING OR DRINKING This is another way to avoid the common cold that is hardest to avoid for college kids. Why so important? When you drink, many of you know that alcohol causes dehydration. Sadly, in dry environments, germs flourish, therefore drinking can increase your chances of multiplying your cold germs.

So there you have it, 3 of the easiest ways to avoid catching the common cold. Some other things that have been shown to prevent a cold are getting plenty of sunshine/vitamin D, and the classic eating chicken noodle soup. Why chicken noodle soup? The heat and hydration are both crucial for boosting the body's immune system, and preventing sickness.

Get a lot of sleep, wash your hands, and don't drink or smoke (at least not too much!) in order to prevent the common cold this year!

13 Comments

This is a really interesting blog! In addition to dehydration alcohol can also hinder the production of white blood cells, which makes you more susceptible for sickness and disease.

I've also heard that Vitamin C can help prevent colds. My dad claims that he hasn't gotten a cold in 10 years because he drinks orange juice every morning!

..Hey, I really learned a lot from your blog. The weather in this district is quite different from the weather in my hometown..And it changes so quickly..I am sure I need these suggestion to prevent myself from getting cold.Also, I've heard that, honey can help us stay away from catching cold."Some people use honey to treat coughs and to soothe a sore throat. A study conducted at the Penn State College of Medicine compared the effectiveness of a little bit of buckwheat honey before bedtime with that of either no treatment or dextromethorphan (DM), the cough suppressant found in many over-the-counter cold medicines. The results of this study suggest that honey may be useful to relieve coughing, but researchers need to do additional studies.
You should never give honey to children under 1 year of age because of the risk of infantile botulism, a serious disease."
for more info

more info

I think the point about drinking is one that a lot of us overlook, unfortunately... I was glad you put that in your blog. None of us have any problem sleeping a lot (I know for me, naps are often a first priority) but going out on the weekends is hard to pass up if you just have a little cold. I actually got really, really sick these past few weeks and it was because I never really let my body rest even when I felt sickness coming on. The point about dehydration is really important -- especially at football games when it's hot out.

I was on the verge of getting sick but since I didn't want to acquire the bug which a majority of my floor mates I took medicine every four hours for two days. When my soar throat was no more my roommate got sick. Is there a possibility that I gave her the bug that was going around, even though I was not coughing or blowing my nose when I was around her?

So basically, the common cold is the hardest thing to avoid as a college student! I know i personally struggle to get to bed at a decent time, with all the work, reading, studying, homework, and just adjusting. Washing hands isn't terrible hard but could definitely be more common if we had our own individual bathrooms. Finally the drinking and smoking, don't even need to explain this argument. I know I've already been a little sick since college and so have many of my friends. I think it's important for people to take these more seriously, and keep healthy!

Thanks for the tips! I've been sick ever since the day I moved in up here and haven't been able to shake this cold. One thing I can say for certain is that I definitely have not been getting enough sleep. I'll definitely start trying to get some more sleep and let you know if it actually helps!

I definitely think colds and sickness in general spread on college campuses faster than they do anywhere else, and obviously not just because we're all in such close contact all the time. When I was younger and all three of my siblings still lived at home, we definitely didn't all get sick at the same time. But now that I'm living on my own in an apartment, three out of the four of us living together have colds. I know I don't take care of myself as well at school as I do when I'm home, so it's good to remember these tips to help me kick this cold!

I thought that this blog post was very informative. I, along with many other girls from my floor, have already been extremely sick this year. Although you write about just the "common cold," your advice applies to everyone with a more extensive illness as well. I, personally, became so sick that I had to visit the health center. I was told that I had strep throat, and was put on antibiotics immediately. I was also told that since I had waited so long to visit the health center (I had been sick for over a week before I went), that my strep had most likely escalated to a different internal infection. I was therefore put on broader antibiotics than just strep antibiotics. A very important piece of advice that I personally think you are missing is to GO TO THE HEALTH CENTER! They are extremely helpful and informative, and can stop a sickness before it progresses further than it should.

I thought that this blog post was very informative. I, along with many other girls from my floor, have already been extremely sick this year. Although you write about just the "common cold," your advice applies to everyone with a more extensive illness as well. I, personally, became so sick that I had to visit the health center. I was told that I had strep throat, and was put on antibiotics immediately. I was also told that since I had waited so long to visit the health center (I had been sick for over a week before I went), that my strep had most likely escalated to a different internal infection. I was therefore put on broader antibiotics than just strep antibiotics. A very important piece of advice that I personally think you are missing is to GO TO THE HEALTH CENTER! They are extremely helpful and informative, and can stop a sickness before it progresses further than it should.

I'm a senior, and I've never gotten sick from my roomies. Then again, I've never lived in a "traditional" dorm setting, even when I was at PSU-Harrisburg. Maybe it was because I'm a bit of a germaphobe who used Clorox wipes all over the common areas whenever somebody was sick, or maybe it was because I stayed away from the smoking and drinking and got the proper amount of sleep.

However, I have heard that pumping vitamin c can help you from getting sick, or it can slightly reduce the amount of time you're sick.

When I have been sick with a cold, instead of eating chicken noodle soup, I've had spicy chili. Apparently spicy foods can also help colds because the spices can open up your nasal passages and help you breathe. They also make you sweat, which is like that old thing where people say "sweat out your sickness!"

Wow I never thought about the no drinking part. Although this tip wont help me much since I don't drink at all, I find it funny that some of the major aspects of being college are what make us that much more likely to get sick. I don't know that many college students that get 8 or more hours of sleep on a regular basis (I personally never get more than 6), nor do I know very many college students(other than myself) who do not drink. So in a way I guess you can say college life i making us all sick.

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