What can you do to protect yourself? "No single action will provide complete protection," the CDC notes, but taking a few steps can help reduce the likelihood of transmission.
1. Sanitize -- i.e. Wash Your Hands Frequently. It may sound obvious, but hand-washing with soap and water for around 20 seconds is the single best thing you can do (if you're going to go out into the world and interact with other human beings). The CDC estimates that 80 percent of all infections are spread by hands. If you can't wash your hands regularly, try hand-sanitizers with 60 percent alcohol content.
2. Avoid -- i.e. Engage in "Social Distancing." That's the fancy term for reducing unnecessary social contact, staying away from crowds, and avoiding people if you're sick or if you're concerned that they may be infected. It may not be especially practical when you have to go to, say, work, but experts believe it's worth repeating: Isolation and avoidance reduce your chances of getting infected or infecting others.
(Researchers in the UK - mentioned above and sponsored by a cold remedy company - found that 99 percent of commuters suffer at least one cold per winter. By contrast, 58 percent of people who work from home and 88 per cent of those who walk to work caught a cold last winter).
If you need to go someplace crowded, the CDC says, try to spend as little time as possible and try to stay six feet away from potentially infected people. Wearing a surgical or dental facemask - cleared by the FDA as a medical device - "can help prevent some exposures," the CDC says, but they're not foolproof.