Senior Home Care Blog - Western Cook & Eastern DuPage Counties

Let Home Helpers Help You Prevent A Cold This Winter

By Mary L. Doepke, RN

Winter doesn’t officially start until Dec. 21, but the snow, the cold and the sniffles that come with the season are already here. We can’t avoid the snow and the cold, but there are things you can do to help prevent a cold.

Here are a few things to try yourself, along with a few ways that Home Helpers can help make this winter a healthy one for you and your loved ones.

Wash your hands often

Your mother told you, your teachers told you, and they all were right. Frequent and thorough hand washing is your best defense against all kinds of germs, including cold-causing viruses.

To wash properly, use warm water and suds up from fingertips to wrists for at least 20 seconds. Get under your fingernails and between fingers, too.

It’s best to use a paper towel for drying. Keep them on hand in your bathrooms at home to encourage good hygiene amongst your own family and friends.

Don't smoke

Smoking does all kinds of bad things to the body, including inhibiting its ability to fight off colds and other illnesses.

If you do catch a cold, smoking can worsen your symptoms, causing your throat to be more irritated and your cough more severe than if you hadn’t lit up.

Drink, rinse, repeat

Staying hydrated is so important. Among other things, water helps to flush toxins from our bodies and helps every part of our bodies to work more efficiently.

Drink plenty of water this winter, whether it’s in the form of hot herbal tea, chicken noodle soup or plain old H20.

Water isn’t just for drinking. Gargling with salt water offers welcome relief from a sore throat by reducing swelling, loosening mucus and flushing out bacteria and irritants.

Rinsing sinuses with a syringe filled with water can rid the body of bacteria that can turn a cold into a sinus infection. Just mix three teaspoons of salt and a teaspoon of baking soda into a cup of water, preferably distilled or boiled and cooled. Neti pots also are made specifically for this purpose.

Keep your house clean

To prevent a cold is to prevent coming into contact with the cold virus.

To decrease your changes of a viral encounter, frequently disinfect objects around the house that are frequently touched. That includes door and faucet handles, television remotes, buttons on appliances, toilet handles and even your cell phone.

Need help keeping the house clean? Give Home Helpers a call. Our caregivers can cook up a batch of soothing chicken noodle soup and also help you keep a germ-free home.

Eat right and sleep tight

Eating right and getting plenty of sleep are crucial to staying healthy. To help prevent a cold, eat a diet high in immune-boosting protein. You’ll need lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, too.

Need help stocking the fridge with good things to eat? A Home Helpers caregiver can do your shopping and food preparation for you.


Stress is at the root of so many problems, including our susceptibility to illness. Help keep your immune system strong by enjoying regular stress relief.

Try massage, a relaxing bath, soothing music, or whatever calming activity that suits you.

Home Helpers can help with your stress. Our caregivers can give you extra time to relax by preparing meals, shopping, cleaning up around the house, and of course, helping you or a loved one with activities of daily living such as bathing and dressing.