A boy with a Common Cold with a tissue

6 Ways to Prevent the Common Cold

The common cold can be a real pain during the winter months and can affect children and adults alike. Colds can make children and adults feel ill and tired. Most treatments serve the ease the symptoms, and it’s really a matter of time, waiting it out until it passes.

There are, however some steps that you can take to help prepare your bodies to be strong for winter! Preparation and being informed about what helps prevents colds, can make winter a lot more enjoyable!


The Common Cold usually affects children (and adults) in the following ways:

• Runny or blocked nose
• Cough
• Watery eyes
• Sore throat
• General congestion

Children (young children in particular) can find colds difficult to deal with and the younger they are, the more they may be affected. Adults can find that children have difficulty sleeping and may find they have to support them during the night. Knowing what helps prevent the common cold and how you can ensure children’s bodies are strong, fit and healthy will help their immune system to be prepared for the winter cold virus.


So, what can you do?

1. Eat well- Ensuring children have a healthy and varied diet and eat lots of fruit and vegetables will help their immune system to be fit and healthy
2. Hand washing –Practicing effective hand washing after being outside, before eating and being around others is an effective way of minimising the spread of the cold virus and transferring it children themselves
3. Drinking water – Drinking plenty of water will ensure children’s bodies are hydrated, this will help children to feel fit and help their bodies to work correctly during the cold virus season
4. Dressing correctly – Wearing appropriate clothing (hats, gloves, coats) depending on whether you are indoors or outdoors will help children to maintain the right temperature, which will ensure they are ready for the cold virus
5. Preventing the spread of colds – Covering their mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing and using a tissue if possible (wash hands afterwards). Adults should remind children to do this and help younger children. (Keeping a pack of tissues in their (of your) bag is always handy during winter! Alcohol gel can be beneficial but should be supervised at all times with young children.
6. Exercise- Keeping active can help the body to stay strong, fit and healthy, which can help to prevents colds, so ensuring children are active can be beneficial.


Further information
For further reading or information, two useful sites on the Internet that provide information and advice are:
1. The NHS http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/coldsandflu/Pages/Preventionandcure.aspx
2. The Common Cold Centre: http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/common-cold-centre/the-common-cold/symptoms

These sites both provide some good, solid advice on preventing and treating colds, as well having an online symptom checker, that allows you to seek information when the children you are caring for display cold symptoms.

The most important aspect of fighting and preventing colds is ensuring that children and adults are ready for winter and try to ensure that everybody is fit and healthy. Some children may find is helpful to take it easy and rest if a cold takes hold before carrying on with normal activities such as school/nursery. Children that start to display common cold symptoms should always be monitored and medical advice should be sought if you start to feel worried about their health.