How can I keep from getting a cold?
- Always wash your hands: Children and adults should wash their hands after they visit public places, use the bathroom, diaper a baby or wipe their nose. They should also wash before eating or making food.
- Disinfect: Clean places that are touched often (such as sink handles, door knobs and telephones) with a germ-killing cleaner and use instant hand sanitizers to kill germs.
- Use paper towels in place of cloth towels. (2)
- Find a smaller day care class for your child, if possible: Adults often catch colds from their kids, so a day care where there are six or fewer children is preferable.
- This will greatly reduce the spread of germs. (2)
- Don’t share eating utensils, cups, tissues or toothbrushes.
- Try to avoid close contact with someone who has a cold. (4)
If I have a cold, what can I do to feel better?
Get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids. Hot fluids, such as tea with honey, can soothe a sore throat. Short-term use of over the counter (OTC) cold and cough medications may help ease symptoms in adults and older children. They do not make your cold go away faster, but they can help you feel better. Make sure to read product labels for dosing instructions, possible side effects and warnings. (5) For example, if you have high blood pressure, do not take a decongestant with phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine listed as an ingredient because they raise blood pressure. (6)
Do I need antibiotics if I have nasal discharge?
Green or yellow nasal discharge is not a sign that you need antibiotics. Colds often begin with a clear nasal discharge that may turn creamy yellow or green after a few days. But colds are caused by viruses, so taking antibiotics will not help. To thin out mucus try:
- Drinking plenty of fluids.
- Increasing the moisture in the air with a vaporizer or humidifier.
- Using saline nasal sprays or drops. (9)