skip to Main Content

Colds are extremely difficult to prevent entirely.

The following suggestions may help:

Wash your hands well and frequently 1

person washing their hands

Wash your hands with soap and water after touching someone who has a cold, after touching an object they have touched, and after blowing your nose. 2,3

If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser especially when someone in your family has a cold. 3 If a child has a cold, wash his or her toys after play. 2

Avoid cigarette smoke 1

woman smoking cigarette, looking at smoke that is in the shape of the no smoking sign

You are more likely to catch a cold and to have a more severe cold if you smoke. 3 Cigarette smoke and nicotine suppress your immune system and make you more vulnerable to infections. 4

Use a tissue 3

tissue in a blue box

Do not inflict your cold on others! Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, then discard the tissue straight away and wash your hands carefully. 2,3

If you don’t have a tissue on hand, sneeze or cough into the bend of your elbow so that you cover your mouth without using your hands. 3

Don’t touch your face 1

girl laying down on pillow with hands in front of face yawning

Keep fingers away from your nose and eyes to avoid infecting yourself with cold virus particles you may have picked up. 2

Avoid contact with sick people 1

woman with surgical face mask on

Avoid close contact with people who have a cold, especially during the first few days when they are most likely to spread the infection. 2

Take care of yourself 3

smiling woman holding red apple

Prevention focuses on strengthening the immune system by eating a healthy diet low in sugars and high in fresh fruits and vegetables, practicing meditation to reduce stress, getting adequate sleep, and getting regular moderate exercise. 1,3

Disinfect your stuff 3

person pressing down on soap dispenser

Clean kitchen and bathroom countertops and door handles with disinfectant, especially if someone in your family has a cold. 3 If a child has a cold, wash his or her toys after play. 2

Don’t share 3

children listening to music sharing an ice cream

Don’t share drinking glasses, utensils or towels with other family members when someone is sick. 2,3

References: 1. Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine. Common Cold. [online] 2016 [cited 2018 Mar 19]. Available from: URL: 2. American Lung Association. Facts About The Common Cold. [online] [cited 2018 Mar 19]. Available from: URL: 3. Mayo Clinic. Common cold. [online] [cited 2018 Mar 19]. Available from: URL: 4. Doyle WJ, Cohen S. Etiology of the common cold: Modulating factors. [online] 2009 [cited 2018 Mar 19]. Available from: URL:

Back To Top