Most people catch the common cold in winter and spring, when cooler temperatures keep us indoors longer and in close proximity to others. But colds can also strike in the summer, mostly thanks to what are known as enteroviruses.
What we refer to as the common cold can be caused by more than 200 different viruses. In winter and spring, the culprit is typically the rhinovirus, which thrives in cool temperatures. Enteroviruses often cause the same symptoms as rhinoviruses — sneezing, sore throat, runny nose — but they are also more likely to bring on a fever, body aches, and even gastrointestinal issues like nausea or vomiting.1
If you’ve already filled your calendar with summer BBQs and getaways, there’s no reason to let a summer cold ruin your plans. Find out what to expect from a summer cold, how to prevent one from coming on, and lastly how to find fast and effective cold relief.
Defining the Summer Cold: Cold vs. Allergies?
What’s the difference between a summer cold and summer allergies? For one, common colds are caused by viruses. Allergies are caused by your immune system when it responds to specific allergens, or triggers. While many symptoms are the same, such as sneezing, cough, and overall fatigue, summer colds are likely to cause a fever, which allergies never cause. Colds also last around five to seven days usually, while allergies can persist for weeks. If you notice your symptoms changing in severity, starting mildly and gradually worsening before returning to normal, it’s likely you’re battling a summer cold.
How to Prevent the Summer Cold
The best relief for a summer cold is not catching one in the first place. From taking proper vitamins and supplements to getting adequate sleep, here are some of the best ways to prevent a summer cold.
Get Adequate Sleep
Getting adequate sleep helps to keep your immune system balanced by building up your innate and adaptive immunity. During sleep, your body releases protective cytokines, which make your body less vulnerable to catching infections. Rest also allows your immune system to identify pathogens and defend itself against them.
Wash Your Hands Frequently
One of the most important things you can do to prevent catching and spreading illness is to wash your hands. Viruses spread through respiratory droplets passed from person to person via coughing and sneezing. They also spread when a person touches those respiratory droplets on an object or person and brings their dirty hands to their mouth or nose. If a sink is hard to find, it’s recommended to get in the habit of carrying around hand sanitizer.
Stay Away From Other Sick People
Resist visiting friends and family who are sick to prevent catching their illness. If you happen to live with someone who is sick, be sure to wash your hands often, sanitize surfaces, and ask them to kindly isolate in a separate room.
Take Vitamins & Supplements
Our body relies on vitamins and minerals to maintain a healthy immune system. Some key supplements to consider are vitamin C, zinc, and even vitamin D, which can greatly reduce your risk of catching a respiratory infection. You can even get these nutrients from certain foods, so try incorporating these immune-boosting foods into your diet: citrus fruits, cruciferous vegetables, fatty fish, oysters, egg yolks, and yogurt.
Symptoms of a summer cold don’t always present all at once and they may fluctuate. The first telltale sign might be a sore throat, and over time you’ll likely develop other symptoms like coughing and a fever.
Here are the most common symptoms associated with a summer cold:
Despite your best intentions, you may end up catching a summer cold anyway. If this happens, resist the urge to take an over-the-counter cold/flu medication. These products overload your body with synthetic chemicals and merely mask symptoms with side effects like drowsiness and lightheadedness. Instead, try gentle options that help your immune system do its job more efficiently, like the following:
Letting your body rest isn’t just a great way to prevent a cold; it can also help you get better faster. Not only does your body release cytokines when you sleep, but infection-fighting antibodies and cells also increase. If you already get a solid seven to eight hours of sleep each night, it’s best to add an hour or more to your typical sleep schedule to help your body recover.
Staying hydrated helps to loosen up excess mucus and prevent dehydration if your summer cold is accompanied with a fever or sweating. Some studies show that drinking hot liquids is more effective in fighting colds than cold liquids, so it’s best to integrate hot teas, soups, and broths into your treatment.2
Like drinking liquids, breathing in moist air can also loosen up excess mucus and congestion in addition to lubricating your nasal passages and helping you sleep easier. If you don’t have a humidifier, try running a hot shower and breathe in the steam before bed.
Brillia Health’s Cold-Flu Recovery is a homeopathic, non-prescription medication that helps to fight colds gently and efficiently without harsh, synthetic chemicals or harmful side effects. Using targeted antibodies to support your body’s immune response, reduce fluid buildup, and shorten the duration of your illness, Brillia Health Cold-Flu Recovery targets symptoms at their source without making you feel drowsy, lightheaded, or causing stomach upset. If your symptoms also include a wet or dry cough, try Brillia Health’s Cough Control, which is designed to calm the cough reflex and reduce the stress that coughing places on the body. And if you have multiple symptoms, the two products can also be taken together to help you recover faster.
Don’t let a cold keep you down this summer. Explore more resources on maintaining whole-body health all year long at the Brillia(nce) Resource Center.