How can I prevent a cold?

Washing hands, getting adequate sleep, eating a diet rich in citrus fruits and keeping stress levels low can help reduce your susceptibility to cold viruses. A 2013 study in the Annals of Family Medicine suggests that regular exercise coupled with regular meditation may be almost as effective as a flu vaccine’s impact on the immune system.

Most provocative in the study were the findings that exercise alone or meditation alone did have a positive impact on health. Exercise seemed to reduce the number of episodes of a cold infection. Meditation seemed to decrease the severity of the infection. When the two modalities are combined with regularity, the “one-two” punch was an overall reduction in both frequency and severity of colds.

To lower your chances of catching a cold, avoid large crowds or places where many people are sick. Wash your hands with soap and water frequently. Avoid sharing personal items such as drinks, towels, and pillows. Eat a well-balanced diet and get an adequate amount of sleep every night. Also, try to avoid emotional stress by utilizing coping skills and learning stress management.

This answer provided for NATA by the Southern Connecticut State University Athletic Training Education Program.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.