Though you might think it is impossible for you to catch a cold in summer, you might catch one. A common cold that you get during summer is termed as a summer cold. Though most people think that you get a cold only in winters, you can acquire it in summer as well. Sometimes, summer cold can be mistaken for allergies. You can even catch a cold when temperatures outside are not low. A cold acquired in winter is similar to the cold acquired in summer. Rhinovirus is the organism that causes the common cold. Irrespective of the temperatures outside, the rhinovirus can spread and infect people easily. In this article, we discuss the various causes, symptoms, and treatments of summer cold so that you can effectively treat and prevent it.
Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Summer Cold:
There are some very effective home remedies that you can try at home to cure your summer cold. We have listed below some home remedies that will definitely help you manage a cold.
1. Saline Spray:
You can make a saline spray for yourself at home. For this you would need:
- A tablespoon of sea salt
- A cup of water
- A punch of baking soda
- A saline spray bottle
How to use:
- Heat the water to a lukewarm temperature.
- Add salt and baking soda to the water and mix well.
- Pour it into the spray bottle.
- Spray it into your nostrils, one at a time.
- This will clear your nasal passages.
- Wash and dry the bottle.
Do this once or twice a day to get best results. The saline water will clear up your nostrils by removing crusty and build up mucus. Make sure to use sea salt and not table salt as table salt can irritate your mucus line further as it has additives.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar:
Apple cider vinegar kills viruses and bacteria in the body by creating an alkaline environment.
How to use:
Mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and drink the mixture once or twice a day till your symptoms subside. You can also add some honey for taste.
You can also make fresh apple cider vinegar at home.
3. Vitamin C:
Take Vitamin C supplements as mentioned on the pack till symptoms subside. Vitamin C improves your immune system which makes it easier for the body to fight the infection.
You can brew ginger tea for yourself. For this you will need:
- Half a ginger root.
- A cup of hot water
- One tablespoon of honey
How to use:
- Heat the water and soak some chopped ginger in it for few minutes.
- Strain the fluid and add honey to it.
- Have two or three cups of ginger tea in a day. It has anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties that reduce the inflammation and the mucus production in the nasal passage. Drinking hot ginger tea also soothes you.
Echinacea is an herbal supplement. Echinacea increases the number of white blood cells in the body. White blood cells help to reduce cold and flu as they fight the bacteria and the virus.
Consume it as mentioned on the bottle. Take about 900 mg of the herb throughout the day divided into two or three doses.
Turmeric has extraordinary antimicrobial properties; therefore, it effectively fights infections.
Its health benefits are versatile.
You can add turmeric and salt to a glass of water and gargle with the solution. Repeat it every two or three hours.
7. Herbal Tea:
Herbal tea is a drink made from the infusion of some spices and herbs.
To prepare herbal tea you will need the following ingredients:
- One-fourth cup of coriander seeds
- One-fourth cup of fenugreek seeds
- Half tablespoon of cumin seeds
- Half tablespoon of fennel seeds
- One teaspoon of honey
How to use:
- Begin by roasting all the dry herbs together.
- Boil water and add one and a half tablespoon of roasted seeds to it.
- Heat the mixture.
- Once it boils, strain the solution.
- Add the honey to it. Stir it well and consume while it is still warm.
Drink the solution twice a day. It will act as a decongestant and has microbial properties that can fight the virus.
Note: Keep the mixture in the air tight container and you may use it afterwards.
8. Essential Oils:
Essential oils are very useful.
Eucalyptus oil is one of them. It has antiviral properties that help to cure cold. It improves your immune system and reduces inflammation in the nasal passage.
To use essential oils you will need:
- A bowl of hot water.
- A towel
- Few drops of eucalyptus essential oil
How to use:
- Add few drops of eucalyptus oil to the bowl of hot water.
- Cover your face with the towel and inhale the steam.
- Make sure the steam does not escape and enters your nose.
- Do it for 7-8 minutes.
Do this once or twice a day to get best results. You can replace the eucalyptus oil with Cyprus essential oil, tea tree oil, peppermint oil or thyme essential oil.
Garlic has antibacterial and antiviral properties and it also boosts your immune system. Garlic also flushes out toxins from your body.
For this you will need:
- A clove of garlic
- Two tablespoons of lemon juice
- One teaspoon of honey
- Half tablespoon of red chili powder
Mix all of the above ingredients and drink it. Drink it once every day until symptoms subside.
Honey is an antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agent that kills microorganism causing the common cold.
Add two teaspoons of honey to one teaspoon of lemon juice or ginger juice. Consume this solution two to three times a day.
11. Red Onions:
It effectively treats your summer cold as onions possess antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
For this you will need:
- Two or three red onions
- One-fourth cup of honey
How to use:
- The onions should be cut horizontally.
- Place an onion and pour some honey on top of it.
- Place another slice of onion and pour honey again.
- Keep doing it until you have no more onion pieces left.
- The bowl should be covered and kept aside for 12 hours.
- Have a tablespoon of the syrup that is formed.
The covered bowl can be kept in a cool place and the syrup can be consumed for two to three days. Consume the syrup twice a day.
Add half a teaspoon of ginger powder and half a teaspoon of turmeric powder to a glass of warm milk. Drink it twice a day.
Milk combined with ginger and turmeric helps you to treat symptoms of a cold. Symptoms like a runny nose, watery eyes and headache will be relieved by the milk.
Cinnamon is a spice with a thrilling aroma and flavor.
For this you will need:
- A tablespoon of cinnamon powder.
- Two cloves
- A glass of boiling water
How to use:
- Boil the water and add cinnamon powder and cloves to it.
- Strain the liquid and drink it.
Consume this syrup for two to three times a day. Cinnamon has antimicrobial properties that will help cure your summer cold.
14. Adequate Sleep:
Do not stress out your body. Get adequate sleep and rest. Remember your immune system can only fight germs if your body gets proper rest. You might also have to stay away from fun summer activities.
Make yourself a thick soup of vegetables and chicken. Have it twice a day. It increases the rate of your healing.
- Do not touch your nose, mouth and other areas of your face.
Causes Of Summer Cold:
Cold can be caused by over 200 types of viruses. As mentioned above that, rhinoviruses are the most common cause of the common cold, a summer cold might be caused by enteroviruses as well. In fact, when it comes to a summer cold, it is mostly caused by an enterovirus than a rhinovirus.
Most people feel that summer colds are worse than a winter cold. This could be psychosomatic rather than real. The reason why people feel that summer colds are worse is that they think that they are not supposed to catch a cold in summer.
It is true that a common cold is mostly caused in winter. This is because the cold air that blows during winter reduces the immunity of cells that are present in the nasal passage. This gives a chance to the virus to replicate at a much faster rate. The virus also spreads easily in cold and dry air. But this doesn’t mean that you cannot get a cold in summer months. Common cold viruses are always around and can attack you always.
Stress and fatigue can also worsen your immune system which might make your body susceptible to the virus. Dehydration can also have a worsening effect on your summer cold.
Spending a lot of time in air-conditioned rooms and traveling in airplanes can worsen your summer cold symptoms as well. Viruses causing cold enter your body through your mouth, eyes or nose. It also spreads through the air when an infected person coughs talks or sneezes. Sharing of objects with a person suffering from cold can also cause a cold.
Factors that increase your chances of getting cold are:
Generally children who are younger than six years of age are more susceptible to a cold attack. With age, the chance of getting a cold reduces.
ii. Immune system:
If you’re suffering from a chronic illness or if your immune system is weakened, you have increased chances of getting a cold.
Smokers catch a cold quicker than non-smokers. Smoking also makes your existing cold worse.
If you are with people who already have a cold, you might get a cold as well.
Symptoms Of Summer Cold:
The incubation period of common cold is three to five days. This means the difference when the virus gets inside you to when the first symptoms are seen is three to five days. The most common symptoms of common cold are:
a. Running or blocked nose
b. A sore throat
c. A general feeling of not feeling well also referred to as malaise
e. Body aches or mild headaches
f. A cough
h. Scratchy throat
The discharge from the nose might change its color to green or yellow which might be mistaken for a bacterial infection. However, this is not the case.
Difference Between Allergy And Cold
Sometimes a summer cold can be mistaken for an allergy. However, it is easy to differentiate between an allergy and cold if you look at the symptoms carefully. The differences between allergy and the common cold are:
1. A common cold has more symptoms:
Sneezing, Running nose and congestion are common to both common cold and allergies. However, symptoms like coughing, sweating, and fever are exclusive to a common cold.
2. Allergies stay longer:
If your symptoms last for one or two weeks, it is a common cold. If the symptoms last for more than two weeks, you are probably having an allergy.
3. Fluctuation of symptoms:
The symptoms of common cold fluctuate. They start off mild, worsen and then might return back to mild. But in the case of allergies, the symptoms remain persistent for long durations.
4. The onset of symptoms:
The time when each symptom appears is different when it comes to colds. But, with allergies, all of these symptoms are seen at once.
5. Symptoms differ in different places:
When it comes to allergies, your symptoms undergo a change when you travel from one place to the other. This mostly happens if the pollinating plants in these two regions are different.
6. Nasal discharge:
In case of cold, the mucus will be thick greenish or yellowish in color. However, in the case of allergies, it will be thinner and translucent.
7. A severe headache:
A severe headache that does not reduce could be a sign of sinus infection.
How To Prevent A Summer Cold?
If you do not want your summer activities ruined, make sure you take the following precautions to lessen your chances of acquiring a summer cold.
a. Do not lower your air conditioning temperatures to a bare minimum. Constant movement between warm outdoors and freezing indoors, make you more prone to a summer cold. Your blood vessels get constricted and the defenses in your nose and throat come down.
b. The same goes for consuming ice cold water. If you have been engaged in strenuous physical activity do not drink cold water directly from the fridge while you are still sweating. Rest for some time and drink water that is at a moderate temperature.
c. If you’ve been inactive throughout the winter months do not engage in physical activities as soon as summer approaches. This might increase your chances of acquiring enteroviruses. Instead, gradually move on to moderate activities from mild.
d. Try and reduce the number of cocktails that you drink in summer. Consuming too much alcohol will weaken your immunity.
e. Last but not the least, maintain proper hygiene. Wash your hands after an outdoor activity or coming in contact with an already sick person.
When to visit a doctor?
In most cases, a summer cold gets cured and intervention of a medical expert is not required. However, you might need to visit a doctor in the following cases:
- Chest pain: If you experience chest pain or find it difficult to breathe, the problem could be more serious. This could be a symptom of asthma or pneumonia.
- Consistent fever: If your fever does not subside in a few days or if your temperatures are higher than 100.4 degrees F, you should visit a doctor.
- Vomiting: If you experience vomiting and fail to drink anything without throwing it up, you should go to a doctor or to the hospital as your body might need an IV drip to remain hydrated.
- A problem in swallowing: A sore throat or a little discomfort is common but if you are having severe pain and difficulty in swallowing, get it checked by a doctor.
- A persistent cough: If you’ve got a persistent cough for more than two weeks or if your cough is accompanied by wheezing you could be suffering from asthma, GERD or whooping cough. Get yourself checked by a doctor.
Frequently asked question:
1. How long does a summer cold last?
Summer cold and winter cold last for the same duration. If properly taken care of, a cold subsides in about 10 days. In children, however, conditions improve much faster. They are completely fine in less than a week.
2. Is it good to sweat when you have cold?
Sweating does not help to cure a cold. Sweating is an indication of your fever subsiding if any. An adequate amount of rest and staying hydrated is important while dealing with a cold.
3. Are summer cold contagious?
Just like a winter cold, summer colds can be contagious too. Therefore, avoid staying close to people with a cold. Stay away from people if you are having a cold yourself. Do not touch parts of your face. Use a handkerchief at all times.
It can get really irritating if you catch a cold in summer. However, with proper care, you will soon be fine. There are several aforementioned home remedies for you to try out. Also, remember to rest your body. If symptoms persist, contact a doctor.