How to beat that summer cold and get back to enjoying your summer!

It's finally summer! The weather is warm, you're finally able to ditch the heavy clothes and hit the beach! But wait, is your throat scratchy, throbbing and painful every time you swallow? You may have... a summer cold!

Why is this happening in the middle of summer? Colds are caused by viruses, not the weather, so they can occur at any time of the year. However, colds are more common during the colder months because the virus is able to spread more easily in cold, dry air. Cold symptoms are familiar, but usually only in the cold winter months. A winter cold is for many of us, the only cold we've known. When it's cold outside and the thermostat is on inside, sometimes temperature differences arise and the heat dries out our mucous membranes.

Summer colds have nothing to do with the flu disease influenza, although it is triggered by viruses just like the flu. The often-proclaimed "summer flu viruses" are mostly enteroviruses - which tend to spread in larger crowds such as public transport, malls or theatres. What are the symptoms of a summer flu? Much like the flu-like infection in the winter, symptoms such as sore throat, headache, runny nose and cough also occur in the summer. Very high fever in adults is typically more a symptom of a flu virus, not a cold. 

 

What causes a summer cold?

In the warm summer season, we often go from hot temperatures outside, to cold, air-conditioned temperatures inside. This has the same effect as when we heat the air inside in the winter when it's cold out. Even air conditioning systems in the car, plane or train can lead to colds and flus.

When swimming outside in pools in the heat, the cool water in the swimming pool/lake/ocean can shock our bodies and cause a cold. It is very important to dry off properly after bathing and put on dry clothing right away; the importance of this is underestimated. Although cold and hypothermia does not directly trigger the common cold, it leads pathogens to the body and has better opportunities to multiply and trigger a summer cold.

Man cooling off in front of fan

 

How can you protect yourself in the summer?

In order to avoid a summer cold, consider following these tips:

  • Point ventilations in the car away from the neck or chest area
  • Don't set the air conditioners too low so that the temperature difference between inside and outside will not be so great
  • Pay attention to sufficiently moist mucous membranes, for example, make sure there is enough humidity in the room

Kids wrapped in towel

  • Dry off properly after swimming or bathing (especially children)
  • Do not enter chilled rooms when you have come from the heat and sweaty
  • If you are unsure of how you might feel, use the onion principle in clothing: wear several thin layers that can be put on or taken off as needed to prevent overheating, sweating or overcooling

 

Prevention: A well-trained immune system is the best protection against pathogens

What can bring relief to summer cold? Before you get sick, strengthen your immune system so that viruses and bacteria don't have a chance!

  • Enjoy a balanced diet with plenty of vitamin C.
  • Moving and/or exercising a lot in the fresh air will make your body more resilient and more able to fight off disease or infection.
  • Get enough sleep and rest so your immune system doesn't become run down and more susceptible to viruses. Also remember, a strong immune system needs a strong lymphatic system.
  • Use a humidifier. Although humidifiers cannot get rid of a cold, they can help relieve symptoms like runny nose, congestion, sore throat and coughing.

Licorice Root

  • Take some herbal remedies like echinacea, licorice root, elderberry and garlic. These herbs may help strengthen and support your immune system and fight rhinovirus.

If you have a cold in the summer, you can also use old home remedies such as a hot broth to moisturize the mucous membranes, adequate hydration and natural medicine when the first symptoms of summer cold appear, especially sore throat, as they are often harbingers of a cold, even in summer. If one notices the first slight scratching in the neck, it is advisable to become active.

There are several remedies you can try. Heat or cold for a sore throat? We often hear contradictory statements that range from warming with a scarf, to drinking icy drinks. Both options can not only fight a sore throat, but make the unpleasant feelings of a summer cold more bearable.