Praise Featured Video

How to Prevent the Common Cold

Winter is around the corner — and unfortunately that also means cold and flu season will be in full swing. If you start to sneeze and experience a stuffy or runny nose, a sore throat, and a mild cough, chances are you’ve contracted one of the 200-plus viruses that cause the common cold. And though following a healthy lifestyle like the South Beach Diet — which involves eating vitamin-and-mineral-rich foods and getting regular activity — does help bolster your immune system, everyone gets colds from time to time.

One of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent getting a cold is regular hand washing. Engage in this habit often — especially if you’ve been in contact with someone who is coughing or sneezing, or you’ve touched frequently handled objects in public places (like shopping carts and handrails). If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. If you do get a cold, it will probably clear up in 7 to 10 days. In the meantime, you can take steps to manage your symptoms and make life a little more bearable. Here are a few tips from Dr. Arthur Agatston, preventive cardiologist and author of The South Beach Diet Supercharged, on how to treat a cold:

  • Drink plenty of fluids. Water is the obvious choice, but other sugar-free beverages — and even a clear consommé or broth — will ensure you don’t get dehydrated while you’re trying to recover. In addition, hot herbal tea may soothe a sore throat.
  • Choose a medication in pill or sugar-free liquid form. Pills do not contain a significant amount of added sugars, and sugar-free cough drops and cough syrup are available at most pharmacies. (Keep in mind that they may contain sugar alcohols, which should be consumed in moderation because they can cause gastrointestinal distress.) Also, remember that antibiotics are not effective against the common cold — or any other virus.
  • Get plenty of rest. Allowing your body the proper amount of rest — 7 to 9 hours per night for most adults — will help you get better faster. And unless your doctor says otherwise (or if you have a fever), stick with your usual exercise routine if you feel up to it — there’s no medical reason to skip it.


Leave a Reply