Keep That Summer Cold From Stealing Your Fun!

I just recently got over a summer cold.  I think it had to be one of the worst colds I’ve had in a long time. Maybe it just seemed worse because it’s summer and it put a real damper on all the things I like to do – swim, bicycle, baseball games, picnics, canoeing. It’s miserable sweating out a cold while you’re also sweating from the heat – especially in the heat wave the whole country’s been having lately.  That’s why I thought you’d like to know some tips on how to make yourself more comfortable should you get a summer cold.

Colds: A Lion in Winter, A Bear In Summer

Winter colds can be particularly miserable but since you’re indoors more, and less active,  you may not feel great but you likely won’t feel like you’re missing out on all the fun either.   Personally, I think summer colds trump winter colds most the time.  They’re like 2 weeks of rainy summer days in a row. Who feels like paddling a canoe, or swimming in the hot sun when your head is congested, your throat is sore, running a fever, and you have to carry a box of Kleenex with you everywhere? In fact, trying to remain active in the hot sun if you’re running a fever can actually further weaken your immune system and make you sicker.  It can also cause dangerous dehydration faster from sweating.

Most people don’t realize that you can get a cold in the summer just as easily as you can in the winter.  It’s not cold weather that causes a cold – it’s a particular type of virus called a rhinovirus that’s more prevalent in the spring, summer and early fall.

Mold and bacteria are also more prevalent in warmer weather, which can cause a nasty upper respiratory infection that may require special antifungal or antibiotic medications.  Being in air conditioned buildings most of the day can be the perfect breeding ground for upper respiratory infections.  First, AC’s dry out the mucous lining of your nasal passage that naturally gives some protection against viruses and other bugs.  Secondly, condensation from air conditioners and dehumidifiers can breed mold and bacteria like a Petri dish.  Their tiny spores can get past your AC, or dehumidifier filters and into your breathing space 24 hours a day.

If you’re traveling on planes or trains for your summer vacation, the canned air re-circulating through the plane or train cabin may harbor cold germs in the air you breathe.  Voila – you arrive at your destination with a summer cold.

How To Beat A Summer Cold

First, be sure that your “summer cold” is just the garden-variety rhinovirus type. If you’re running a high fever, have a very sore throat, stiff neck, having a hard time breathing, painful earache, do see your doctor first.  These symptoms could mean something more than a cold and could require specific medications and/or breathing treatments.  If it’s just a regular cold, here are some things you can do to feel better and get back to all your summer activities faster:

1.  Rest.  As much as you won’t like laying around on a beautiful sunny, summer day, it really is the best thing to help you get over a summer cold faster.  As I said earlier, too much activity in the hot sun can actually cause you to get worse.

2.  Fluids.  Drinking enough fluids is important to good health all the time.  It’s even more important with a cold – especially in the high heat temperatures that can dehydrate you and compound your symptoms. I always recommend drinking half your body weight in water every day.  During a summer cold, though, it’s good to add another 8-16 ounces due to sweating more.  Avoid drinking too much caffeinated sodas or iced tea as they can also lead to dehydration.

3.  Medications.  Over-the-counter herbal cold medications that contain zinc can help shorten the duration of a cold.  I recommend saline nasal sprays over packaged cold decongestants.  The saline spray helps break up congestion but won’t further dry out nasal passages as decongestants can. There are several nasal saline sprays on the market that you can find at your local pharmacy or health supplement store.

4.  Eat. You may not feel like eating much in the summer heat.  However, with a cold, eating properly helps boost your immune system and knock out those viruses faster.  Eat a little saltier food than you may normally to prevent dehydration.  The old standby chicken soup broth is even helpful to help clear up any sinus and lung congestion.  Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables to keep your vitamin, mineral and antioxidant levels up.

5.  Antioxidants.  Be sure to get enough Vitamin C 1-2,000 mg, E 400 mg, D3 2,000 IUs, selenium 200 mcg, every day.  Antioxidants help boost your immune system to prevent viruses and help you stay healthy.

I know firsthand that a summer cold can be a real bear to wrestle.  Following the recommendations listed here, though, will not only help you feel better fast, they can help you get back to all that summer fun faster!

Stay well,
Mark Rosenberg, M.D.
Natural Health News

How To Sweat Out A Summer Cold,

How To Stop a Summer Cold in Its Tracks,

photo credit: vierdsen


Mark Rosenberg, M.D.

Dr. Mark Rosenberg, MD is a Phlebologist in Boca Raton, FL. He is affiliated with Boca Raton Regional Hospital.

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