No one wants to deal with a cold. The headaches, sniffles, chills and fever that accompany them can make anyone miserable. However, with some small, simple changes, you can reduce your risk of contracting this common yet bothersome illness. So, keep reading to learn about four easy and effective ways to prevent colds.

  1. Protect Kids from Germs

Every fall when children return to school, there is a spike in colds and other sicknesses. So, to prevent colds from their classmates, give them two bottles of hand sanitizer. Attach one to their backpack and give them one for their desk. It’s also crucial to keep kids from spreading germs to their peers when they go back to school after being sick.

Make sure your child knows to bend their arm and sneeze or cough into it, rather than using their hands or, worse, doing nothing. Also, teach kids to wash their hands often and thoroughly. You can sing Happy Birthday twice to give them a gauge for how long they should wash.

  1. Relax to Prevent Colds

Here’s some good news: You can prevent colds or at least reduce them just by hitting the snooze button. Those who sleep six hours or less per night have a four-times higher risk of catching a cold than those who get plenty of rest. Taming tension can also help lower your chances of getting sick.

This is because too much stress can weaken your immune system. Just be careful if you enjoy alcohol when you unwind. Drinking too much can increase your chances of coming down with illness over the next 24 hours.

  1. Do Some Smart Sanitizing

Regularly wipe down your tablets, cell phones and other devices with an alcohol wipe. When ill family members are in the household, consider wiping shared items, too. They include items such as landline phones, remote controls, and any other often-handled devices. You’ll want to clean the doorknobs and railings, too.

Also, wash your hands before and after using the computer since keyboards are excellent germ-spreaders. However, you don’t have to continually sanitize every inch of your home since germs survive a relatively short time on surfaces.

  1. Boost Your Immune System with Food

Although vitamin C isn’t a cold cure, it stimulates the antibodies that boost your immunity. And that will help you prevent colds in your home. Food sources of vitamin C include green and red bell peppers, grapefruit, kale, oranges, broccoli and strawberries. Each of these food items contains at least 50 mg of vitamin C per serving.

You may also want to consider eating more yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso soup, and kefir; all of which contain good bacteria. In fact, probiotics can help increase the number of immune system cells in your gut. So eating more fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains can improve your immune system’s effectiveness.

You can prevent, or at least reduce the number of colds in your family with these four tips. It may take a bit of extra time and effort, but you’ll have a much healthier household.