Fall and winter are cold and flu season. It may be impossible to avoid catching a cold, but doing the cold clipfollowing will certainly increase your chances of being cold free this fall and winter.

Wash Your Hands. Your best protection against the cold virus is to wash your hands with soap and water often. Be vigilant with hand washing during cold season if you work with kids or if you are around someone with a cold, especially someone in your own household. If you can’t always get to a sink, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends keeping some alcohol-based gel cleanser with you and using it often.

Keep Your Hands Away From Your Face. Because cold viruses like to get into your body through your mouth, nose, and eyes, keeping your hands away from these body parts is essential.

Use Your Own Stuff. Don’t use a cold-sufferer’s phone, keyboard, pen, drinking glass, or other items.

Do Some Disinfecting. Viruses are hardy creatures that can live up to three hours on objects. Use a disinfectant that specifically targets cold viruses to clean common areas.

Avoid Crowds. Because cold viruses are so contagious, you improve your chances of not getting one if you stay away from the pack.

Get Adequate Sleep Every Night. Get at least seven to eight hours sleep nightly.

Eat Healthily. Healthy foods such as vegetables, fruit, grains, etc., are an important part of keeping your body nutrition at its optimum. Processed, fatty, and sugary foods don’t give the immune-boosting protection that healthier food does. Sugary foods can decrease immune function for up to five hours.

Get Regular exercise. Exercise has immune-system enhancing effects that can help ward off illness. Don’t overdo exercise though, as too much strenuous or excessive exercise can leave you prone to illness.

Reduce Stress. Stress can harm the ability of your immune system to work optimally, and people who are stressed tend to catch colds more than less stressed people.. Manage your stress well.

Keep Hydrated. Dehydration inhibits the immune system’s functioning. Drinking water may also help wash cold and flu viruses from your throat to your stomach where they cannot survive.

Avoid Cigarette Smoke. Or quit if you already smoke. The smoke from cigarettes irritates airways and this can lead to increased vulnerability to colds, including passive smoke..

Keep Your Immune System Strong. Eat right, exercise, and manage stress to keep your immune system at its best to help you fight off any cold bug. Consult with your local Acupuncturist/Herbalist for immune enhancing herbal formulas, or remedies to take at the first sign of a cold.