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The researchers collected and analyzed data on more than 1,000 men and women between the ages of 18 to 85 over a 12-week period. In addition to its preventive effects, the study discovered that physically active people recovered more quickly from colds than the sedentary group.

Lead researcher David C. Nieman, director of the Human Performance Laboratory at the Appalachian State University, North Carolina Research Campus, in Kannapolis, speculated that exercise may activate the immune system at an accelerated rate, causing immune cells to attack viruses.

Catching a Cold

cold

Both adults and children are more vulnerable to colds and flu during the fall and winter months. Kids are in school several hours each day, and people in general spend more time indoors when the weather turns cooler.

A cold virus uses your mouth or nose as an entryway into your body. The virus is typically spread through tiny droplets in the air when a person who already has a cold talks, coughs or sneezes. A cold can also be spread by sharing objects like telephones or towels.

Cold symptoms typically begin two to three days after infection. Common symptoms include fever up to 102°F, coughing, sneezing, muscle aches, headache, fatigue, sore throat, and a runny or stuffy nose, reports the American Academy of Family Physicians. Most people recovery from the common cold in one to two weeks.

Treating and Preventing the Common Cold

If you do catch a cold, get as much as rest possible and drink plenty of water and other fluids. Throat sprays and gargling with warm salt water may help sooth an irritated throat.

Regularly washing your hands and coughing and sneezing into tissues can help stop the spread of cold viruses, notes the Mayo Clinic. Make an extra effort to keep your bathroom and kitchen counter tops clean. Also refrain from sharing silverware, cups and glasses with other people in your household.