How do you get a cold in the summer?

The dreaded summer cold explained

So it’s summer out and just when you’re ready for some fun in that beautiful weather, out of nowhere comes the dreaded summer cold. What is the summer cold and is it really that different from a winter cold?

We define the common cold by a set of symptoms such as runny and stuffy nose, scratchy throat, cough, conjunctivitis, and sometimes low grade fever, all caused by a virus.

Preschool kids typically get five to seven colds a year, and adults get between two and three. These colds can happen all year round, and although summer colds are less common, they’re particularly notorious.

So what makes summer colds different?

First of all, there are over 200 viruses that can cause colds, but some of these, like rhinoviruses (which are the most common cause of colds), tend to peak in the autumn, whereas enteroviruses are more common in the summer. Enterovirus infections can cause more severe symptoms, and unusual symptoms such as rashes.

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That being said, despite the myth that summer colds are caused by enteroviruses, this family of viruses can cause many different ailments, but remains a rare cause of summer colds themselves.

The main reason for the difference between summer and winter colds may simply be psychosomatic –- in other words we probably feel like summer colds are worse because we think we’re not supposed to catch a cold in the summer.

And what about the idea that cold weather in the winter actually predisposes us to colds? We used to think this was a myth, but recent studies have shown that cold air might actually reduce the immunity of cells in our nasal passages, allowing viruses to replicate faster.

This may be one of the reasons that colds are more common in the winter months.

People also sometimes confuse summer allergies with colds.

Allergies will give you a stuffy and runny nose and runny eyes, but the symptoms typically last all season, whereas most colds resolve in seven to 10 days. So if you do have symptoms for most of the summer, it’s probably not a summer cold -– but more likely allergies.

And how should you treat that summer cold?

Unfortunately, like winter colds, there really aren’t any medications that cure these colds. Generally speaking, all you can do is treat the symptoms while you’re waiting for your immune system to do its work. This means decongestants for your nose, acetaminophen or anti-inflammatories for fever and body aches, and dextromethorphan syrups for severe cough. Unfortunately, antibiotics will not help with the common cold.

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At the end of the day, the best treatment is prevention. And whether it’s summer or winter, wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer to avoid catching the infection. We also know that lack of sleep and mental stress predispose your body to catching colds, and exercise can actually protect you.

So this summer, make sure to get good sleep, minimize stress, and exercise regularly to fend off the common cold.

More On Call with Dr. Samir Gupta stories on Globalnews.ca

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Summer colds vs winter colds

The summer cold

The days have got longer, your suitcases are packed, and the sun is shining. You are dreaming of your summer holiday, the glowing tan you are about to develop while you listen to the sound of the waves at the beach…

And then you sneeze… your throat becomes sore… your head begins to ache, and unpleasant memories of winter days spent curled up in bed with chicken soup and decongestants come flooding back with alarming clarity. Yes, this is not the annual bout of winter sniffles, but an unexpected attack of the summer cold.

How is a summer cold different to a winter cold?

A summer cold is not quite the same as its winter counterpart. Instead of being caused by the highly versatile and robust rhinovirus like many winter colds are, the summer cold is often caused by the somewhat more delicate, but more vicious enterovirus. This means that the symptoms may not be exactly the same – although in your sniffly, coughing state you may hardly notice the difference.

The winter cold might be short and violent, making you feel miserable for about a week, but the summer variety likes to hang around for a while. You may feel really rotten for a few days, but lingering coughs and feelings of tiredness can take a while before they go on their way. To add one further cheery note to this list, summer colds do have a habit of recurring, so that second and third doses are not uncommon.

Along with the typical symptoms of congestion, sore throats and coughing, you may also develop some symptoms with a summer cold that are more commonly associated with the flu, such as a fever, aching joints and general fatigue.

Summer colds can sometimes be mistaken for hayfever or other seasonal allergies, and for obvious reasons – it feels the wrong time of year for a cold, everybody else is complaining about hayfever, and your symptoms are uncharacteristically similar.

However, there are a few small hints that may give the game away. If your mucus is clear or slightly discoloured, it is likely to be a cold. If your nose, eyes and throat feel tickly and itchy, rather than painful and dry, this is more a sign of allergies, particularly if your eyes are puffy and bloodshot. Finally, troublesome as summer colds may be, they are not likely to last for several months at a time, nor be at their worst when the pollen count is high, though stranger things have happened…

What causes this troublesome summer cold?

Well, as mentioned, the fair-weather enterovirus enjoys the milder conditions of the summer as opposed to the winter-cold-inducing rhinovirus, which thrives in cooler conditions. However, there are certain summer tendencies and habits which invite the enterovirus into your system:

A sudden zeal for exercise – for obvious reasons summer encourages us to get out our running shoes far more than cold and rainy winter nights, and while it is good and important for us to exercise, sometimes launching into too much too quickly can run our immune systems down a bit. Additionally, during the winter, we do not seem to mind spending a few days wrapped up warm inside, letting our bodies recover from a cold, but in the summer, we tend to keep going that bit more. This doesn’t give our bodies the time it needs to fight off infection, as energy has to be diverted into sustaining our summer escapades.

Prolonged use of air-conditioning – just as it can be nice to spend a bit of time outside, being cooped up inside a hot stuffy room inside can be truly unpleasant. This is where many of us find ourselves rediscovering the delights of air-conditioning, wallowing in the pleasant cooling breeze. However, this has the effect of making our mouths and noses dry, meaning that the mucous lining of our respiratory tracts become less sticky and less effective at its enterovirus-trapping job. Not only this, but the virus finds it far easier to take lodgings to multiply in the dry environment, as it is not being swept away by a lovely flow of mucus.

A burst of stress – summer holidays are our chance to relax and enjoy watching the world go by… but what about the pre-holiday work deadlines, the suitcases that need to be packed, the planes that need to be caught, the hassle of hotels and communication in foreign languages. Stress can weaken our immune system, making us more prone to catching pesky colds, whether it is in the winter or summer.

Long-haul flying – not only are you sharing a fairly confined space with 400 other germ-ridden people, but you are surrounded by their coughs and sneezes for several hours. Research suggests that the length of time spent in the air and exposed to bugs dramatically increases your chances or developing an infection.

Foreign environment – when away from home, your body will be facing a whole host of new or unfamiliar viruses which can play havoc with your immune system. Not only this, but different foods can upset your digestive system, meaning that you are not efficiently absorbing nutrients, weakening your immune defences.

12 Ways To Get Over A Summer Cold Faster

Having a cold is never fun, but having a cold in the summer is a seriously unjust punishment. It’s already 90 degrees outside, and with the air conditioner on full blast, you’re still sweating and sniffling because allergies — to throw a cold on top of all that discomfort is really unfair. Alas, it’s a cruel world, and summer colds happen. And typically, they’re a lot worse than winter colds. Summer colds stick around longer and often go away only to come back. How rude!

What’s interesting though, is that they’re actually caused by different viruses than the winter colds, so you experience them differently. Summer colds can often affect the whole body in the form of aches, pains, fevers, rashes, on top of basic respiratory issues. And if you’re wondering if the air condition could be the culprit, you might be right.

When you walk into your chilled-out office, the cold air constricts the red blood cells in your nose and that prevents the white blood cells from getting there — creating a decrease in your immunity, and thus puts your at risk for a cold. Once the virus has made its way to you, everything you tough has a risk of becoming infected. So you spread it to your roommates, your partners, the people you share a bathroom with at the office, and so on and so forth. So what do you do when you get sick? You try to get rid of your summer cold as soon as possible. Here are some tips and tricks:

Don’t Work Out If You’re Sick

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Summer colds are really sneaky, and if you start working out again just as it starts to fade away, it might come back with a vengeance. Wait a few days to make sure you’re in the clear before you start working out again. This is your official excuse to take a break.

Stay Away From Sick People

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I mean, that might sound obvious, but you have to be strict about it. If you have a friend who isn’t feeling well, don’t visit them. Give them a call. And for your friend’s sake, don’t socialize while you’re in the throws of a cold. Otherwise you’ll all just keep passing it back and forth all summer.

Use A Humidifier

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Help keep your nose in tiptop shape but using a humidifier in your room. It will help keep your nasal passageway healthy and free from irritation.

Neti Pot

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Don’t just sniffle or blow your nose, get that stuff out of there. Use a Neti Pot and clear your sinuses out as much as possible. It’s the best way to properly flush your nose.

Turmeric

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Turmeric root is really good for inflammation. When you have a cold, your nasal passage gets super inflamed, turmeric will help calm it down.

Take Your Vitamins

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I mean duh, summer is not the time to skip out on your vitamin routine. Make sure you’re getting the max amount of vitamin C, especially.

Take Zinc Supplements

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If you take zinc at the first sign of a cold, it might help to reduce to duration of it. Just keep a bag of lozenges in your desk at work!

Stay Away From That Super Cold A/C

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Ask your boss to turn down the A/C a notch if it’s too cold at work. If it’s not possible, try to work as far away from it as possible. If you’re feeling deeply chilled, you’re too close and you’re challenging your immune system.

Wash Your Hands

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Wash your hands after you touch anything in public, before and after you use the restroom and before you eat or drink anything! You can’t be careful enough. You should have hand sanitizer in your bag, too.

Be Careful In Public Bathrooms

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Public bathrooms are crawling with germs, especially during the summer. Treat public bathrooms like they’re made of hazardous waste (they are) and don’t touch anything. Avoid them at all costs, if you can.

Eat Foods That Promote Immunity, Not Mucus

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Make sure you’re not eating all dairy, as that will only increase mucus production. Focus on greens, grains and citruses.

Water, Water, Water

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Drink water until you can’t drink water any more. Aim for 80 ounces a day. Settle at nothing less than 40. Carry a water bottle around with you all day and always choose water over soda or juice or alcohol.

13 Best Home Remedies To Treat Summer Cold Kushneet Kukreja Hyderabd040-395603080 April 24, 2019

A cold during summer? Sounds a bit weird, isn’t it? But, this is more common than you think. Many people catch a cold during the summer months and suffer due to the symptoms as well as the hot weather. No ice creams, no cool drinks, and no vacations to colder regions make the hot summer months worse.

A cold can become a bane during summer. So, what can you do when you contract the common cold in the hot summer months? How to cure a summer cold? Is going to the doctor and shelling out money the only option?

Well, no! There is a better alternative, and that is to use some amazing home remedies that are both inexpensive and highly effective. Want to know the effective home remedies for cold in summer? Then, sit back and give this post a read.

Before we get into the remedies, let us understand summer cold better.

Summer Cold Causes

Unlike the winter cold that is caused by the rhinovirus, summer colds are often caused by another group of viruses known as the enteroviruses. The infection spreads when you come in contact with an infected person or object, or when you consume water that has the virus in it (1).

Summer Cold Symptoms

Everyone experiences a wide range of symptoms during a summer cold. The most common ones are:

  • Sneezing
  • A stuffy, runny nose
  • A scratchy and sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Congestion

If you experience high fever and rashes, consult a doctor immediately (1, 2).

Find below the remedies to get rid of summer cold with natural ingredients found at home.

How Do You Get Rid Of A Summer Cold?

  1. Saline Spray
  2. Apple Cider Vinegar
  3. Vitamin C
  4. Ginger
  5. Echinacea
  6. Turmeric
  7. Herbal Tea
  8. Essential Oils
  9. Garlic
  10. Honey
  11. Red Onion
  12. Milk
  13. Cinnamon

Home Remedies For Summer Cold

1. Saline Spray

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You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • A cup of water
  • A pinch of baking soda
  • A saline spray bottle
What You Have To Do
  1. Heat the water until it is warm enough for you to bear.
  2. Put the salt and baking soda into the spray bottle, add the warm water, and mix well.
  3. Carefully spray this into your nostrils, one at a time, to rinse your nasal passages.
  4. Rinse the bottle and let it air dry.
How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this once or twice a day.

Why This Works

Saline water acts a nasal decongestant and clears up the crusty and/or built-up mucus from your nostrils (3).

Caution

Do not substitute sea salt with table salt as the latter contains additives and can cause further irritation in your nose.

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2. Apple Cider Vinegar

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  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • A glass of water

Mix the vinegar and water and drink this mixture. You can add some honey for taste to this concoction.

Drink 1-2 glasses of ACV water every day until the cold clears up.

ACV creates an alkaline environment in the body, and this helps to kill the viruses and bacteria easily and quickly (4).

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3. Vitamin C

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Vitamin C tablets

Take this supplement every day.

Consume as advised on the box.

Vitamin C enhances the body’s immune response to the viral infection. As a result, the virus will be quickly eliminated from the body (5).

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4. Ginger

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  • 1/2 inch ginger root
  • A cup of hot water
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  1. Brew some hot ginger tea by chopping the ginger and soaking it in hot water for a few minutes.
  2. Strain, add honey, and drink this tea.

Have 2-3 cups of ginger tea in a day.

Ginger has anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties (6). It will reduce the inflammation in your nasal passages and lessen the excessive mucus that is being produced. The warmth of the tea will also soothe your nasal passages.

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5. Echinacea

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Echinacea capsules or tincture

Ingest the herbal supplement as directed on the bottle.

Take about 900 mg of the herb divided into 2-3 doses over the day.

Commonly known as the purple coneflower, Echinacea increases the number of white blood cells in the body. This is beneficial for treating infections such as colds, flu, etc. as the WBCs are responsible for fighting the infection causing microorganisms (7).

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6. Turmeric

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  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • A glass of hot water
  1. Add the turmeric and salt to water and mix well.
  2. Gargle with this mix.

Repeat every 3-4 hours.

Turmeric is the go-to herb in Indian households when it comes to treating any infection. And rightly so, because this herb acts as an excellent antimicrobial agent. It also reduces inflammation and aids quick recovery from the illness (8).

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7. Herbal Tea

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  • 1/4 cup coriander seeds
  • 1/4 cup fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  1. Roast all the dry herbs together.
  2. Boil the water and add one and a half tablespoons of the roasted herb mixture to it.
  3. Heat it on a low flame for a few minutes.
  4. Let the mixture come to a boil. Strain the decoction prepared.
  5. Add the honey to it and mix well. Drink while it is warm.

Drink warm herbal tea twice a day.

Herbal spice tea works as an effective home remedy for summer cold. These herbs act as decongestants and give relief from the summer cold symptoms. They also possess antimicrobial properties and can eliminate the infection causing virus from the body (9, 10, 11, 12).

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8. Essential Oils

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  • A few drops of eucalyptus essential oil
  • A bowl of hot water
  • A towel
  1. Add the essential oil to the hot water.
  2. Cover your head and neck with a towel and inhale the steam from the water bowl. The towel is to prevent the steam from escaping into the surroundings and help it enter your nostrils.
  3. Inhale the steam for 7-8 minutes.

Alternatively, you can also use cyprus essential oil, tea tree essential oil, peppermint oil, or thyme essential oil for the steam inhalation.

Do this once or twice a day until you get relief from the summer cold.

The antiviral properties of eucalyptus essential oil make it a wonderful remedy for treating cold. It also stimulates the immune system and alleviates inflammation in the nasal passages (13, 14).

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9. Garlic

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  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder

Blend all the ingredients and drink the liquid.

Drink this concoction every day until the symptoms of cold subside.

Garlic is antibacterial and antiviral. It also helps boost your immune system and flushes out toxins from your body (15).

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10. Honey

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  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice or ginger juice

Mix the two and drink the mixture.

Have this syrup 2-3 times in a day.

Honey is antimicrobial in nature and contains compounds that kill the bacteria and virus that cause cold. It also has anti-inflammatory properties (16).

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11. Red Onion

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  • 2-3 red onions
  • 1/4 cup honey
  1. Cut the onions horizontally.
  2. Place a slice and pour some honey on it. Place another slice on top of this and pour some honey again. Repeat this until all the slices are layered on top of each other.
  3. Cover the bowl and keep it aside for 10-12 hours.
  4. Drink a tablespoon of the thick syrup that is present in the bowl.

Keep the bowl covered and store in a cool place. The same syrup can be consumed for 2-3 days.

Ingest the syrup twice a day.

The syrup made of red onions works great to treat your summer cold because onions possess antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties (17).

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12. Milk

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  • A glass of milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  1. Boil the milk and add turmeric and ginger powder to it. Mix well.
  2. Drink this warm milk.

Drink this twice a day.

If you combine milk with turmeric and ginger, it can help you get rid of the symptoms of cold like headache, runny nose, watery eyes, etc. The combination works as a decongestant that also possesses antimicrobial properties.(18)

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13. Cinnamon

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  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon powder
  • 2 cloves
  • A glass of boiling water
  1. Add the cinnamon and cloves to the water and let it boil for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Strain the liquid and drink a tablespoon of this.

Have this syrup 2-3 times in a day.

Like the other herbs mentioned in the remedies above, cinnamon also has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that relieve cold and its symptoms (9).

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Do not let a cold during the summer ruin your cold escapades to beat the heat. Treat the infection with these remedies and get relief quicker than you had expected. Some tips, precautions, and other questions are answered for you below.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Tips & Precautions

  • Chicken soup has nutrients and vitamins to treat cold. It also serves as an antioxidant to accelerate the healing process. Make a thick soup of vegetables and chicken. Drink it at least twice a day to combat cold.
  • Pepper contains capsaicin, which gives relief from congestion. Sprinkle some pepper on your food and let it clear up your sinuses.
  • Wash your hands before you eat or drink anything.
  • Try not to touch your face, especially around the nose, mouth, and eyes, as much as possible when you are in a public area that may be contaminated with various viruses, bacteria, and fungi.
  • Consume foods rich in vitamin C as it boosts your immune system and helps the body fight the infection faster.

How long does a summer cold last?

On an average, a cold lasts between 7-10 days.

Is it good to sweat when you have a cold?

This is a common myth and holds no logical explanation. People usually say that you can sweat out a cold or a fever, but medicine says otherwise. It does not make any difference.

So, there we have it! This article includes the best home remedies for summer cold. Get the herbs out of the kitchen pantry and kick the cold out. Enjoy summer to the fullest!

If you know of other such home remedies, do share them with us in the comments box below.

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Kushneet Kukreja

She is a Biotechnologist, what we in normal English would call Scientist. While she is an expert in experimenting, she also holds an exceptional talent in juggling words and churning out content with just the right amount of sass added to it. When not saving the world with her articles, she likes to hang around with her Siberian Husky (because, aren’t dogs the best?). In her spare time, she likes a little ‘jibber-jabber, full of chatter’ time with her friends. So, what gives her the energy to do all this? If you ask her, she would say,”My cup of sanity – an extra large mug of coffee!”

When you’re suffering from a minor bug, you might feel rather inundated with conflicting advice. Do you feed it or starve it? Sleep all day or run until you break a fever-killing sweat? We’ve cut through the nonsense and found some evidence-based tips for getting rid of the sniffles. Whether it’s the height of flu season or you’re stuck with a lingering summer cold, here are our tips for getting healthy faster:

Stay home and sleep

Yes, it’s tempting to go into the office. And if all you feel is a tickle in your throat, you might as well. But if you’ve got a fever, colored mucus, or other symptoms that suggest your “allergies” might be a long-lasting cold, get back to bed.

Even if you don’t care about infecting your coworkers, it’s important to take some time off. Working remotely might not cut it: You need rest to fight a cold. Depriving yourself of sleep can actually handicap your immune system. However, a little work is fine in moderation. “Telecommuting is a really good option if you have something to do but can’t work a whole day, or know you’re just not going to be productive,” Jennifer Collins, an assistant professor of immunology at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, told The Huffington Post. “You can work a little, nap, then wake up and do a little more work.”

Meditate

Generally speaking, colds are just going to run their course. There’s nothing you can do to make a cold last half as long, or to know you’ll be free of the virus causing it by a certain time. But you can certainly make yourself feel better. And it might be as simple as putting yourself in a better state of mind.

One study led by University of Wisconsin School of Medicine fellow Chidi Obasi found that meditation can make colds seem shorter and less severe. While the yogis weren’t magically cured, those who meditated were better at managing symptoms than those who exercised instead of meditating, or who did neither. New to the practice? Find some pointers here.

Raid your spice cabinet

Gargle, gargle, and gargle some more. The Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies suggests frequent gargling with warm salt water during illness. The salt water draws out fluid from your inflamed throat tissue, so swelling goes down. The act of gargling can also loosen mucus, which holds on to allergens, bacteria, and fungi that keep you feeling ill. In fact, gargling when you’re healthy could prevent infection in the first place.

While it hasn’t been investigated as a cold remedy, turmeric is also known for its stellar anti-inflammatory properties. Give golden milk a try (that’s turmeric in warm milk, with honey) or, if you’re all mucus-y, skip the milk (which doesn’t increase mucus, but might make it feel thicker) and try a concoction of turmeric, water, lemon, and honey.

Pour some water up your nose

Just as gargling with salt water can help reduce inflammation in the throat, pouring it through your nasal cavities can reduce swelling and congestion in your nose and sinuses. Studies show (paywall) the treatment to have a small but positive effect on cold symptoms. If a simple neti pot doesn’t appeal, you can even invest in an $80 “Sinus Irrigation System.” Just be sure to use filtered water: Several deaths have been linked to the use of contaminated water for sinus rinsing. Your cold might go away, but a brain-eating amoeba isn’t a great substitution.

Load your soup with garlic

Like a lot of home remedies, the jury is still out on garlic as a cold cure. One study (paywall) led by University of Florida nutritional scientist Meri Nantz, found indications that garlic extract can limit the length and severity of a cold, but for now this is the only good evidence.

But you know what’s definitely good for a cold? Chicken soup. And you know what’s really delicious in chicken soup? A few giant cloves of garlic. Can’t hurt.

Drink a lot of water, not a lot of booze

There’s some evidence that drinking wine habitually might boost your immune system, but once you’re sick it’s time to lay off the sauce. Alcohol won’t kill the virus or bacteria you’re infected with, but it will dehydrate you, and might weaken your immune system (paywall). For the duration of your illness, switch from wine to water. While there’s no evidence directly relating increased fluid intake to cold-battling ability, conventional wisdom holds that more water means thinner mucus, which will at least have you breathing easier. And you certainly don’t want to end up dehydrated, especially when your body is working hard to fight off infection.

Know when to see your doctor

If your “cold” has lasted for weeks and isn’t more severe than some sniffles and throat tickles, you’re probably suffering from seasonal allergies. But if you find yourself with a high or persistent fever, pained breathing, or any of these other symptoms, you need to get checked out by a physician. It’s possible your “cold” was always something more serious—or that your weakened immune system left your body prey to a secondary infection like pneumonia.

How to Treat Summer Colds

Summer colds are just as inconvenient as they are annoying, particularly when they interfere with vacations, weekend getaways, and outdoor activities. When it’s a beautiful outside and you’re stuck inside with a summer cold, you want to conquer your sore throat, sneezing, runny nose, fever, and cough quickly so you can get back to what summer is really about: fun in the sun!

When trying to treat your summer cold, keep a few considerations in mind, like how to tell the difference between a summer cold and a winter cold.

Difference between summer and winter colds

While summer and winter colds may feel different due to the time of year we contract them, the bottom line is both are caused by the same type of virus. And viruses, unfortunately, cannot be treated by antibiotics. Both types of colds are most often contracted by a person placing their infected hands to their eyes, nose, or mouth.

The biggest difference between summer and winter colds is how we respond to them. In the winter, we’re naturally more accepting of staying under the covers and eating chicken soup in an effort to treat our colds. That’s easier said than done in the summer months when Little League games, pool parties, and backyard barbeques are in full swing.

©/Shestakoff

Getting over a summer cold

The duration of a cold depends on your body’s immune system, which is dependent upon the foods we eat, the fluids we drink, and the activities we participate in. You can improve your chances of a speedier recovery by following some tried and true good advice — Mom really does know best!

  1. Wash your hands often.

    Germs are spread from a contagious person to a healthy person typically by hand, whether directly or indirectly. Your greatest defense is to wash your hands several times a day with warm, soapy water.

  2. Keep hand sanitizers handy.

    When washing your hands is not an option, hand sanitizers are the next best thing. They are especially convenient in places such as grocery stores, doctors’ offices, workplaces, and classrooms.

  3. Drink plenty of fluids.

    While you can’t flush a cold out of your system, drinking water and other liquids, like orange juice, will help prevent dehydration and maintain your body’s fluids.

  4. Rest.

    It’s easier said than done in the summertime, but in order for your body to recover from a virus, you must get plenty of rest.

  5. Spend some time outdoors (but limit strenuous activity).

    We are more likely to catch a cold in indoors rather than outdoors. Indoor, air conditioned environments and tight closed spaces, such as airplanes, pose many virus-sharing risks and ultimately increase the likelihood of catching a cold. That’s why a little time spent relaxing in the sun can be good for you. Why? Because the sun’s ultraviolet rays can kill cold viruses, just as ultraviolet light can kill surface germs.

  6. Treat the symptoms

    While there is no cure for the common cold, there are many over-the-counter treatment options available to help ease the symptoms, including cough suppressants, fever reducers, and nasal decongestants.

    According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, most problems with cold medicines occur when more than the recommended amount is used, it is given too often, or more than one cough and cold medicine containing the same active ingredient are being used.

  7. Take advantage of the fruits of the season.

    Eating fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins and nutrients will help boost your body’s immune system. In addition to being naturally good for you, they’re delicious — especially when in season!

Your beach bag is packed, your swimsuit beckons and your calendar is full of fun plans for barbecues and backyard parties. But if you’re stuck inside with a miserable cold, you’re probably wondering what the heck happened.

And to make things worse, summer colds often last longer and have a higher chance of recurring, according to Dr. Bruce Hirsch, attending physician for infectious diseases at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y.

“The summer cold is really kind of tricky,” Hirsch said, “probably because the viruses that cause it different than a winter cold. Something about it is awful and insidious.”

Why summer colds are worse

The rhino-, corona- and parainfluenza viruses that cause upper respiratory infections in winter are joined in the warmer months by a particularly nasty accomplice: enterovirus, which can cause more complicated symptoms, Hirsch said.

Enterovirus spreads by coughing and sneezing, and by the fecal-to-oral route. The virus can bring diarrhea, he said, along with sore throats, rashes and other symptoms beyond the common cold’s typical headache, hacking cough, congestion and low fever.

“Winter cold viruses tend to make you feel really sick, and then you get over it,” he said. “Summer colds just seem to lurk in the background… and just go on and on and on.”

Another summer-specific factor that can up the odds for colds is constant exposure to re-circulated air, which can dry out the lining of the nostrils, giving an open port to viruses. Such is the case in both air-conditioned buildings and in airplanes full of vacationing travelers, said Dr. Tamara R. Kuittinen, director of medical education in the emergency medicine department at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

“Surfaces are touched hundreds of times on airplanes,” Kuittinen said, recommending travelers pack a small medical kit containing cold relief products such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen and saline drops.

Prevention

So how can you prevent a cold from ruining summer fun? Hirsch and Kuittinen offered tips:

  • Wash your hands often and keep a stash of hand sanitizer handy in pocket or purse.
  • Get plenty of sleep to bolster your immune system.
  • Stay well-hydrated.
  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Use common sense and avoid contact with sick people.

Additionally, those who have been sedentary through the winter should gradually ease into physical activities, Hirsch said, because enterovirus is the only infection associated with strenuous exercise.

“I think these subclinical, mild infections have a way of acting up just when we’re getting excited about the beautiful weather,” he said. “In summertime, we go outdoors and exercise vigorously, maybe when we’re not in great shape. That’s when these enteroviruses like to show up.”

Fighting a summer cold, however, involves the same tactics as battling its winter counterpart, said Dr. Tom Slama, president-elect of the Infectious Disease Society of America.

During the typical five- to seven-day lifespan of a cold, Slama said, symptom management is key to staying comfortable. Keeping analgesics, cough medicine and saline drops on hand are probably smart bets, he said.

But asking your doctor for antibiotics — which fight bacterial illnesses, not the viruses that cause colds — won’t help.

“There’s no role for antibiotics in colds,” he said.

This story was provided by MyHealthNewsDaily, sister site to LiveScience. Follow MyHealthNewsDaily on Twitter @MyHealth_MHND

Nothing feels crueller than a summer cold. While your friends and family are making plans for beach trips and BBQs, you’re sneezing and coughing in bed. But there are a few things that can help stop your unseasonal sniffles in their tracks. You’ll be back in the pool in no time.

1. Eat well

Summer is the season of BBQs and cheap burgers topped with processed cheese. Where possible, opt for organic grass-fed meat. Not only can you be sure the animal has been reared to high animal welfare standards, but organic meat has been shown to have up to 47% higher levels of omega-3 essential fatty acids, which emerging research indicate could stimulate certain immune cells.

Serve your BBQ with an array of rainbow coloured salads, topped with nuts and seeds, to ensure you are getting a variety of immune supportive nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin E, zinc and selenium.

2. Up your intake of vitamin C

Vitamin C is also beneficial for immunity, and has been shown to shorten the duration of colds by up to 8%, as well as reducing the severity. Strawberries and other berries are a delicious source of vitamin C and luckily grow in abundance during the summer months. Go berry picking for strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, gooseberries, elderberries and black currants to top up on this immune supporting anti-oxidant.

3. Pop a probiotic

Approximately 70% of the immune system resides in the gut, which acts as our first line of defence against harmful viruses, bacteria and other pathogens. Taking a good quality daily live bacteria supplement, such as Bio-Kult Advanced multi-strain formula (£7.75 from Amazon), is a great strategy to support healthy digestion and immune function.

Traditional fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, yogurt, tempeh and miso have also been used for centuries to help keep gut flora balanced, so try incorporating some of these into your diet on a daily basis to help avoid summer sniffles.

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4. And breathe…

When we are stressed and overtired the immune system’s ability to fight off germs, viruses and other pathogens is reduced, leaving us as risk of infections. Summer can be none stop with parties and other social engagements, but be careful not to burn the candle at both ends. Set aside down-time for yourself – dig out that hammock, lie back with a good book and soak up some vitamin D (another key nutrient for immunity).

5. Fly smart

How many times have you landed on holiday only to get ill a couple of days later? One study found that colds may be more than 100 times more likely to be transmitted on a plane than during normal daily life on the ground. Some preventative measures you can take when flying include staying well hydrated, going easy on the in-flight drinks (alcohol depresses our immune system), getting some sleep instead of staying awake to watch in-flight movies and wearing a face-mask. You may also want to irrigate your nose with a saline solution to help wash out germs and keep your nose hydrated during the flight.

6. Prioritise hygiene

Washing your hands frequently can help prevent the spread of infection, however many commercial soaps and anti-bacterial products contain harsh chemicals. A more natural solution is to make your own hand sanitiser by adding a few drops of anti-microbial essential oils (such as clove, sage, rosemary cinnamon, lavender or orange) to aloe-vera gel. Store the mixture in a little bottle that’s easy to carry in your day bag at summer festivals and other times where you are at increased risk of picking up infections.

Hannah Braye is a nutritional therapist for Bio-Kult

Catching a Cold When It’s Warm

What’s the Deal with Summertime Sniffles?

Most everyone looks forward to summer—time to get away, get outside and have some fun. So what could be more unfair than catching a cold when it’s warm? How can cold symptoms arise when it’s not cold and flu season? Is there any way to dodge the summertime sniffles?

Cold symptoms can be caused by more than 200 different viruses. Each can bring the sneezing, scratchy throat and runny nose that can be the first signs of a cold. The colds we catch in winter are usually triggered by the most common viral infections in humans, a group of germs called rhinoviruses. Rhinoviruses and a few other cold-causing viruses seem to survive best in cooler weather. Their numbers surge in September and begin to dwindle in May.

During summer months, the viral landscape begins to shift. “Generally speaking, summer and winter colds are caused by different viruses,” says Dr. Michael Pichichero, a pediatrician and infectious disease researcher at the Rochester General Hospital Research Institute in New York. “When you talk about summer colds, you’re probably talking about a non-polio enterovirus infection.”

Enteroviruses can infect the tissues in your nose and throat, eyes, digestive system and elsewhere. A few enteroviruses can cause polio, but vaccines have mostly eliminated these viruses from Western countries. Far more widespread are more than 60 types of non-polio enteroviruses. They’re the second most common type of virus—after rhinovirus—that infects humans. About half of people with enterovirus infections don’t get sick at all. But nationwide, enteroviruses cause an estimated 10 million to 15 million illnesses each year, usually between June and October.

Enteroviruses can cause a fever that comes on suddenly. Body temperatures may range from 101 to 104 °F. Enteroviruses can also cause mild respiratory symptoms, sore throat, headache, muscle aches and gastrointestinal issues like nausea or vomiting.

“All age groups can be affected, but like most viral infections, enterovirus infections predominate in childhood,” says Pichichero. Adults may be protected from enterovirus infections if they’ve developed antibodiesGerm-fighting molecules made by the immune system. from previous exposures. But adults can still get sick if they encounter a new type of enterovirus.

Less common enteroviruses can cause other symptoms. Some can lead to conjunctivitis, or pinkeye—a swelling of the outer layer of the eye and eyelid. Others can cause an illness with rash. In rare cases, enteroviruses can affect the heart or brain.

To prevent enterovirus infections, says Pichichero, “it’s all about blocking viral transmission.” The viruses travel in respiratory secretions, like saliva or mucus, or in the stool of an infected person. You can become infected by direct contact. Or you might pick up the virus by touching contaminated surfaces or objects, such as a telephone, doorknob or baby’s diaper. “Frequent hand washing and avoiding exposure to people who are sick with fever can help prevent the spread of infection,” says Pichichero.

The summer colds caused by enteroviruses generally clear up without treatment within a few days or even a week. But see a health care provider if you have concerning symptoms, like a high fever or a rash.

Common Cold

Most people get colds in the winter and spring, but it is possible to get a cold any time of the year. Symptoms usually include sore throat, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, headaches, and body aches. Most people recover within about 7-10 days. However, people with weakened immune systems, asthma, or conditions that affect the lungs and breathing passages may develop serious illness, such as pneumonia. Common colds are the main reason that children miss school and adults miss work. Each year in the United States, millions of people get the common cold. Adults have an average of 2-3 colds per year, and children have even more.

Quiz

Key Facts

  • Every year, adults have an average of 2–3 colds, and children have even more.
  • Many viruses can cause colds, but rhinoviruses are most common. Infections spread through the air and close personal contact.
  • There is no cure for a cold. To feel better, you should get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Symptoms of a cold usually include sore throat, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, headaches, and body aches.
  • To reduce your risk of getting a cold wash hands often with soap and water, and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.

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Protect Yourself and Others

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Viruses that cause colds can survive on your hands, and regular handwashing can help protect you from getting sick.

How to Feel Better

There is no cure for a cold. To feel better, you should get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids. Over-the-counter medicines may help ease symptoms but will not make your cold go away any faster. Always read the label and use medications as directed. Talk to your doctor before giving your child nonprescription cold medicines, since some medicines contain ingredients that are not recommended for children.

When to See a Doctor

You should call your doctor if you or your child has one or more of these conditions: a temperature higher than 100.4°F, symptoms that last more than 10 days, or symptoms that are severe or unusual. If your child is younger than 3 months of age and has a fever, you should always call your doctor right away. Your doctor can determine if you or your child has a cold and can recommend therapy to help with symptoms.

Get Smart

When you have a cold, mucus fills your nose, causing runny nose, congestion, and mucus to drip down your throat (post-nasal drip), which can cause a sore throat and cough. This mucus helps wash the germs from the nose and sinuses. After two or three days, mucus may change to a white, yellow, or green color. This does not necessarily mean antibiotics are needed.

Prevention Tips

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. Wash them for at least 20 seconds, and help young children do the same. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Viruses that cause colds can stay on your hands, and regular handwashing can help protect you from getting sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Viruses that cause colds can enter your body this way and make you sick.
  • Stay away from people who are sick. Sick people can spread viruses that cause the common cold through close contact with others.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, including objects such as toys and doorknobs.

More at CDC.gov

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