By Kathryn Dunmore, Canadian Red Cross

I got a cold in September; early enough for others experiencing similar symptoms to question if it was their allergies but, as I don’t get allergies, I knew it was the dreaded cold. This one was with sinus congestion and a wicked, hacking cough – I blame my nephew who had previously picked up a cough from fellow kindergarteners.

If you too think you’re welcoming in the colder weather with a, well, cold, here are some tips to follow to minimize its duration and spread to others (unlike my nephew who seemed to enjoy spreading his germs).Wash hands frequently
  • Staying home not only helps keep folks around you from getting sick, it also gives you time to get better.
  • Cover your mouth when you cough.
  • Use a tissue or handkerchief when you sneeze.
  • Get lots of rest and plenty of fluids.
  • Use this chart to find out if it’s a cold or the flu. This helps because treatment options differ depending on which one you’ve got.
Still feeling healthy and breathing freely? Here are some tips to try to stay that way:
  • It’s good practice for kids and adults alike to wash their hands. Germs can live on surfaces for up to 48 hours, and some surfaces like doorknobs are touched constantly by lots of people.
  • Disinfect common surfaces in your home and work, especially spots like phones, keyboards and light switches - don’t forget your cellphone too! 
  • Try to keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth to keep germs out of your body.
  • Get the flu shot. Talk to your health care provider to find out if the flu shot is a good option for you and your family.
Find more information on preventing and dealing with the flu.