No vaccine has been developed for the common cold, which can be caused by many different viruses. But you can take some common-sense precautions to slow the spread of cold viruses:

  • Wash your hands. Clean your hands thoroughly and often, and teach your children the importance of hand-washing.
  • Scrub your stuff. Keep kitchen and bathroom countertops clean, especially when someone in your family has a common cold. Wash children's toys periodically.
  • Use tissues. Always sneeze and cough into tissues. Discard used tissues right away, and then wash your hands carefully. Teach children to sneeze or cough into the bend of their elbow when they don't have a tissue. That way they cover their mouths without using their hands.
  • Don't share. Don't share drinking glasses or utensils with other family members. Use your own glass or disposable cups when you or someone else is sick. Label the cup or glass with the name of the person with the cold.
  • Steer clear of colds. Avoid close, prolonged contact with anyone who has a cold.
  • Choose your child care center wisely. Look for a child care setting with good hygiene practices and clear policies about keeping sick children at home.
Apr. 17, 2013