How to Survive and Thrive with a Summer Cold

Summer will be winding down soon and we’ll have to deal with a whole host of cold weather illnesses including the dreaded flu.  But for now, while the dog days of summer continue, some of us will catch a summer cold.  A summer cold is often felt to be worse than a winter cold and many people assume that the best course of action is to ride it out.  While that may be true, there are some steps you can take to lessen the severity and length of your cold.

 

Even though summer colds often feel worse than winter colds, Doctors say that while you can be infected with different viruses in the summer than the winter, enteroviruses are normal in the summer months.  Enteroviruses bring along all the obvious symptoms like coughing and congestion but they also give you other symptoms like sore throat, rashes, and diarrhea.  And, they also last longer than winter rhinoviruses.  These are just two reasons that you tend to feel much worse battling a summer cold than a winter one. 

 

However, there’s also a mental aspect to feeling ill in the summer.  Most of us don’t expect to suffer from a cold in the warm, active summer months.  This can lead to a psychological perception that the severity of your symptoms and length of your cold is much worse than it truly is.  The heat and humidity of the summer months can also make you feel worse for wear, especially if you’re already congested. 

 

Many people assume they’ve caught a summer cold when in reality; they might be suffering from seasonal allergies.  Chances are, if you’re running a low to high-grade fever and have achy, sore muscles; it’s a viral infection and not allergies.  And though allergies can impact your health for weeks at a time, a cold generally lasts anywhere from one to two weeks from your onset of symptoms.  Other factors to distinguish allergies from a cold include: red, itchy eyes and clear drainage from your nose (a cold will produce mucus but it won’t be clear, instead it will be yellow or green). 

 

While you might think that running to the doctor for medicine to clear up your summer cold is a sure remedy, experts say that you’re wrong.  At the end of the day, all you really need to get rid of a summer cold is time.  Viruses should run their course within a couple of weeks and you can pick up over the counter medicine to alleviate your symptoms, until then.  You should also make sure you wash your hands regularly or use an alcohol based hand sanitizer.  And while you might be tempted to head outside to enjoy the summer weather, doctors warn that you need to rest and stay inside:  as much as you might enjoy the weather or summer festivities, you’ll be apt to spread your virus to your friends and family so, stay inside and recover. 

 

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