What is the longest that a cold has ever “knocked you out?” Often, we can feel a cold coming on and then it blows up to full force. That lingers for a few days and then it kind of drifts off. From start to finish, you could be living with a cold for around a week and that is just seven days too long to be feeling lousy. Luckily, there is an action plan you can put into effect to prevent you from getting a cold this year. Here’s what you need to do:

Drink More Water

Are you drinking your recommended eight glasses of water a day? The reason for all that water is simple: Flush out your system. Any bacteria or toxin that has found its way into your body can be flushed out by staying hydrated. And it is not just water. Soups and juices count to keep you hydrated. If the juices are freshly squeezed, then you get bonus points for adding in an extra dose of vitamins.

Strengthen Your Tummy

We’re not just talking about ab crunches here. You want to make sure you’re getting enough nutrients, vitamins and probiotics into your stomach in order to keep your immune system operating efficiently. Look for foods that can add more vitamin C, iron, calcium and magnesium like fresh veggies, citrus fruits and berries. Yogurt is also a good option for the probiotics.

Add Supplements

The hope is that your healthy diet is going to provide a steady stream of nutrients that your body needs. It wouldn’t hurt to have an extra boost from supplements. Specifically, you should look for ways to add herbal supplements like Echinacea. That can come from special blended teas, which is another way to stay hydrated.

Wash and Ventilate

You need to be washing your hands a lot during cold season. That is vital any time you are handling food or after you’ve coughed or sneezed. The quickest way to spread a cold virus is rubbing your eyes when you have the germs on your hands. Be sure the soap you will be using is antibacterial. As for ventilation, your home and workplace need to have the air flowing freely. That also means flowing through clear air vent filters. Be sure to replace them every month.

Keep Moving

If you exercise on a regular basis, then you’re already doing a lot to keep the colds away. If not, then you should consider starting. This will help improve your circulation and increase the blood flow to your lungs and organs. That is another way to help the immune system “make the rounds.”

Get Rest

Your doctor will always tell you to get plenty of rest if you have a cold, but by then it is too late. You can should fortify your body by getting plenty of rest on a regular basis. If you can’t get in seven good hours of sleep each night, then try to get in a 20-minute nap during the day. It all counts towards resting.

Finally, be sure to stay warm. Add a sweater and keep your socks on. Our feet are our body’s regulators for warmth. When they are cold, the rest of the body gets cold, too and your immune defenses can drop.