I dodged colds and the flu the past winter season. Of course summer colds happen too. But there are fewer of them going around. So how did I get so lucky?
Though not 100 percent perfect, pneumonia and flu shots offer pretty good protection. I recommend them. Colds are a different matter, and there are all kinds of myths about them. Even today, many people think you get a cold by being cold. You don’t.
You catch colds from rhinoviruses entering your body through your eyes or nose. Shake hands with someone with the virus, then rub your eye or nose with your hand . . . and welcome to seven days of congestion, sneezing, and feeling lousy.
Some people think Echinacea and other herbal stuff strengthens their immune system and will ward off the viruses? I’m a skeptic, but to each his own. Most of what I read these days (from medical people not charlatans) is that the best known cold preventative is frequent hand washing and keeping your hands off your face.
A 2006 study in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine found rhinoviruses on 63 percent of gym equipment at fitness centers they tested. Further, they found that disinfecting the equipment twice a day didn’t do anything to reduce the virus count. My advice is to train yourself not to touch your face between exercise sets, since most colds are transmitted through hand to nose contact. Then wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after your workout – and before touching your face. And how about those workout gloves you wear? The gym’s bugs love ‘em. They provide nice warm and sweaty conditions for viruses. Keep those babies away from your face.