Acute viral nasopharyngitis primary prevention

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1];Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Ahmed Younes M.B.B.CH [2]


Effective measures for the primary prevention of acute viral nasopharyngitis include avoiding close contact with patients and washing hands regularly.

Primary Prevention

The most effective measures for preventing the common cold include:

  • Avoiding close contact with people who have a cold.
  • Hand hygiene and avoid touching mouth and face.
  • In 2002, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended alcohol-based hand gels as an effective method for reducing infectious viruses on the hands of health care workers.[1] As with hand washing with soap and water, alcohol gels provide no residual protection from re-infection.
  • Antibacterial soaps have no effect on the cold virus; it is the mechanical action of hand washing that removes the viral particles.[2]


Common cold is caused by a large variety of viruses which mutate frequently during reproduction resulting in constant variation in viral strains. Thus, successful immunization is highly improbable.


  1. Boyce JM, Pittet D, Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee. HICPAC/SHEA/APIC/IDSA Hand Hygiene Task Force (2002). "Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings. Recommendations of the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee and the HICPAC/SHEA/APIC/IDSA Hand Hygiene Task Force. Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America/Association for Professionals in Infection Control/Infectious Diseases Society of America". MMWR Recomm Rep. 51 (RR-16): 1–45, quiz CE1-4. PMID 12418624.
  2. "The importance of handwashing for your health". Canadian Health Network.