BY JOANNA DITTMER
With summer gone and the cold weather upon us, people are staying indoors more, resulting in the cold virus being transmitted more easily.
Colds: everyone has experienced the pain and frustration, but many of us are left without a solution.
One common myth that many believe is that taking vitamin C makes a cold less severe or shorter. According to webmd.com, it does neither. Therefore, it is not recommended to up the dosage of vitamin C. However, taking the vitamin before you become ill can help ward off the virus.
The best way to avoid getting a cold has been mentioned a thousand times – wash your hands; this one isn’t a myth, it really does prevent infections. The warm water and soap kill germs, but make sure to wash slowly. You should sing happy birthday twice before turning off the faucet.
Kathy Sawyer, a graduate of Conestoga College’s nursing program, strongly recommends washing your hands.
“Always wash your hands, especially before you eat,” Sawyer said. “Sneeze into your elbow and wash your hands after you sneeze or cough.”
Sawyer said another way to avoid a cold, especially when symptoms are beginning to show, is to get an adequate amount of sleep.
Sleep and the immune system are tightly linked, so extra sleep is needed.
According to webmd.com, research suggests that poor sleep can increase your chances of getting sick.
Another way to keep healthy is to exercise. According to webmd.com, research shows that postmenopausal women who exercised for one year had far fewer colds than women who didn’t.
Another tip is: don’t touch your face. According to fitsugar.com, the average person touches their face up to 16 times per hour. The easiest way for viruses to spread is through mucus membranes such as the mouth, nose and eyes.
The cold virus can live up to 24 hours on inanimate objects, so if you touch an object than touch your face, you are greatly increasing your risk of getting a cold.
Sawyer says sanitizing your hands and staying away from sick people are good ways to avoid becoming ill, although that won’t help you in public places such as school.
“Be aware of solid surfaces that could be carrying the virus,” Sawyer said.
Students at Conestoga College have their own ways to ward off colds.
“Eat lots of fruit and don’t drink milk – it only makes it worse,” said Chelsea Ceffer, a first-year broadcast journalism student. “I think that taking pills or vitamins are OK, especially when you’re prone to colds.”
“I’m a germaphobe! I wash my hands all the time,” said Allison Moffat, a first-year early childhood education student. “I wash my hands probably 15 times a day and use hand sanitizer because I don’t want to get sick.”
Another thing to remember is that taking cold medicines will not get rid of the virus.
“Cold remedies don’t help you get over it, they just make the symptoms more tolerable; the cold, however, is going to run its course,” Sawyer said.