Summer colds feel so unfair. How can cold symptoms arise when it’s not cold and flu season? Isn’t summertime supposed to be full of sunshine, warm breeze, and careless days? Well, as unnatural as they sound, summer colds are actually a pretty common phenomenon. Often confused with allergies, the fact is just that it doesn’t need to be cold outside for you to catch a cold. And yes, it’s extremely inconvenient to have your plans halted, your holidays ruined and your outdoor activities shifted indoors because of a pesky cold but with the right knowledge and efficient remedies, you’ll be having fun in the sun in no time.
So, how do you differentiate a summer cold from a winter cold?
Caused by the rhinovirus which can spread and infect people just as easily in warm weather as well as when its freezing, colds are often contracted by people placing their infected hands on their nose, mouth, or eyes, and because both are caused by a virus, it cannot be treated with antibiotics. During winters though, we respond to such colds by huddling in bed in an effort to get better, while during summers, we wish to enjoy the warm weather outdoors and get frustrated when we’re unable to.
But what if it’s just allergies?
It can be difficult to differentiate between a common cold or allergies but there are a couple of major differences that are absolutely telling. Summer colds and allergies share common symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, congestion, and an itchy or sore throat. But a cold will also bring coughing, sweating, and fever.
Also, allergies usually last longer than colds and cause itchy, watery eyes or itchy skin and rashes. If your symptoms disappear after a couple of weeks, around one or two, then you probably had a common summer cold. If your symptoms run longer than two weeks and refuse to go away, then your allergies are probably acting up.
Apart from this, allergy symptoms are always consistent and persistent while cold symptoms start mild, worsen for a bit, and then return to mild or disappear altogether. Allergy symptoms are also alleviated when you’re traveling, as a change in the region means a vastly different array of pollinating plants and potential allergens. And while a summer cold feels like an evil paradox, it’s normal and contagious.
How can you treat it?
Getting plenty of shuteye is the answer to your prayers. Sleep is the remedy for almost everything. Restorative rest allows your body to up the healing process and bounce back stronger. Plus, excessive activity and stress could aggravate your immune system so staying in is your best bet to recover from summer colds. Practicing mindfulness meditation before bed can improve your sleep quality and reduce daytime disturbance. To make the practice more effective, try and invest in a soothing silk eye mask that you can don before bed as well as a face mask to keep yourself from spreading the cold to others.
Stay hydrated and nourished
While it’s impossible to flush summer colds out of your system, consuming plenty of fluids will prevent dehydration. Beverages like orange juice can up your Vitamin C content and hot drinks like green tea or hot soup can soothe and abate annoying symptoms. Avoid dehydrating drinks like alcohol, energy drinks, or coffee. Prefer immunity-boosting juices full of vitamins and minerals like iron, vitamin C and zinc.
Take a hot bath
Sure, a hot bath may not sound so inviting in the midst of the warm season but the heat of the soothing water will do your body wonders. Sprinkle a generous amount of Epsom and magnesium salts and a few drops of peppermint oil in the bath to make the most of it. The hot water encourages blood flow and circulation, speeding up your recovery while the calming salts will release any pent-up stress in your body and expedite detoxification while also easing sore muscles. Peppermint oil is the perfect addition as it invigorates the respiratory system, cleanses your nostrils and helps you breathe easily.
Get a humidifier
We all know how tough it is to catch some zzz’s as the temperatures rise but having a post-nasal drip and subsequent dry open-mouth breathing just adds to the aggravation on top of it. Humidifiers can’t directly soothe a cold but they can help relieve symptoms like a runny nose, congestion, sore throat, and coughing. Add lavender essential oil to it to promote relaxation and deeper rest.
Try vapor balm
A crowd favourite and an absolute classic, vapor rub soothes like no other. Nobody likes sleeping with a heavy, dense, and impacted feeling through the night. MamaEarth Natural Breathe Easy Vapour Balm is packed with the goodness of eucalyptus, wintergreen, and tulsi for respiratory relief. It can be easily applied topically or added to a warm steam inhaler for deep lung support and comfortable breathing.
While there’s no sure shot way of preventing a summer cold, there are a few measures you can take to reduce your chances of getting one. The first step is to take proper care of your immune system by eating nutritious foods and avoiding stress as much as possible. Next, you must and we insist, get adequate sleep to restore your body and reset your immune system each day.
You can try this guided meditation for restful sleep.
Always make sure to wash your hands to prevent the spread of infection, especially in restrooms of public spaces and areas where pathogens can be galore. Please remember that if your cold is getting out of control, consult your GP or local pharmacist to get professional treatment like fever-reducing medicines, nasal decongestants, and cough suppressants.
Read more: 5 Practical Ways To Not Be A Serial Procrastinator