News BDA: hand washing protects against colds

News BDA: hand washing protects against colds

In order to avoid catching a cold, the hands should be washed regularly with soap, advises the Federal Association of German Pharmacists’ Associations (BDA). Alternating baths and walks also strengthen the immune system.

No disinfectants are needed to protect against colds. Regular hand washing with soap is completely sufficient in the opinion of the BDA. The hands should be soaped thoroughly for about 30 seconds, including between the fingers, because this is where the disease carriers tend to nestle. A cold is usually caused by viruses. If these get into the body via the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose or eyes, it can lead to infection and thus to the onset of the disease. The transmission from person to person usually takes place via objects that are touched by many people, such as door handles or banisters. Regular hand washing interrupts this path of infection, according to the BDA. If you already have a cold, you should never sneeze into your bare hand, as the viruses could infect others. The BDA therefore recommends always sneezing into a handkerchief or, in an emergency, into the scarf or the crook of your arm. To harden the immune system, alternate morning baths of alternating hot and cold water help. You should always stop with a cold shower in order to trigger the body’s own warming reactions. Long walks are also suitable to strengthen the immune system against the cold viruses. But you should dress warmly so that the body does not get too cold.

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