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iVillage: 10 Tricks You Haven’t Heard to Prevent Colds & Flu

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Use a Humidifier

The cold, dry air of the winter months can dry out your skin, as well as your sinuses, which isn’t going to do your immune system any favors. Your nasal passages, sinuses and throat depend on moisture for their immune functions, says Cathleen London, M.D., a board certified family medicine physician and assistant attending physician at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

“When moist, the immune cells in those passages trap and attack viruses, bacteria and allergens and act as your body's first line of defense against airborne pathogens,” she explains. Using a warm mist humidifier can help moisturize the air you breathe indoors. Dr. London recommends skipping cool mist ones since they have the tendency to grow molds and spew them into the air. London also suggests bolstering the health of your sinus and nasal passages by using a saline nasal rinse like Alkalol in the evening to help wash away what may have collected during the day.

(CREDIT: Keith Goldstein/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images)
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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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