How to stop yourself from catching a cold

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Tips that can help keep your immune system in tip-top, cold-fighting shape

Getting sick isn’t cheap. In fact, a recent study by GoBankingRates found that coming down with a few colds per year can end up costing adults around $1,000.

This number may seem steeper than you'd think, but Dr. Rob Silverman explained that the lost wages, various co-pays, and the cost of prescription and over-the-counter treatments can easily amount to $1,000 in a year.

While there’s no cure for the common cold, there are ways to protect your body — and by extension, your budget — from being affected by a minor virus.

In addition to using practical tips, such as refraining from touching contaminated surfaces or shaking hands with a cold-ridden person, there are a few lesser-known ways to keep from catching a cold.

Sleep well and think positive

Giving your body and mind ample time to recharge at night can help keep you healthy and cold-free. That’s because a good night’s sleep can boost your body’s immune defense against viruses, experts say. And the more you sleep, the better equipped your body may be to ward off colds.

In 2009, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that men and women who slept eight hours or more per night were less likely to catch colds. People who slept less than seven hours per night were three times more likely to be affected by the virus to which they were exposed.

Would you describe yourself as being happy, lively, and calm? If so, you may also be in a better position to fight off viruses. In 2006, the same group of researchers found that cold and flu viruses were more likely to strike people who were anxious, hostile, or depressed compared to people who had a generally positive outlook.

Take a hot bath or shower

Been around a person who’s been coughing and sneezing all day? Try soaking in hot water when you get home. According to Clare McHugh, editor-in-chief at, doing so may knock out a potential cold before it begins.

"Super HOT baths and showers immediately,” she told “My doctor once told me that cold viruses hate heat, and that if you keep your body and especially your chest very warm you will discourage the virus from multiplying."

Indeed, water can be a powerful defense against viruses. In addition to hot showers, drinking plenty of fluids and making sure to wash your hands throughout the day can help keep cold bugs at bay.

Banish the booze

In the interest of staying well, it might be wise to skip the nightcap. The dehydrating effect of alcohol can actually make cold symptoms worse, according to WebMD.

Not only does alcohol hinder your body’s ability to fight off colds, it may have a negative interaction with any medications you may be taking. Additionally, alcohol can prevent you from getting quality sleep.

Drinking alcohol before bed can leave you running to the bathroom multiple times per night, which can keep you from slipping into the restorative REM sleep your body needs to stave off viruses.

Getting plenty of rest is just one of the good health habits that can help prevent germs from turning into a sick day. Being physically active, managing stress, and eating nutritious foods can also boost the power of your immune system.

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