You’ve heard of seasonal allergies, but are there seasonal colds?
Unfortunately, yes. You may have long since traded your comfy winter sweaters for swimsuits and sunscreen, but that doesn’t mean you can’t catch a cold.
Believe it or not, while you won’t catch the same type of cold in the summer that you do in the winter (the viruses causing it are different), you can still get a bad case of the sniffles and sneezes.
“People associate colds with cold weather, but you can certainly catch one in the summer time,” says Robin Wallace, PA-C, of EVMS Family and Community Medicine. “People often perceive them to be worse in the summer because they don’t want to slow down long enough to allow themselves time to get better.”
So how do you know that it’s not just allergies? While both colds and allergies share symptoms like sneezing, runny nose and congestion, only colds will come with a fever and possibly muscle aches. If a summer cold has you feeling down, Mrs. Wallace says, the best thing you can do is let it run its course.
“It may be tempting to head out to a pool party or cookout,” she says, “but you’ll recover more quickly with rest and you are less likely to pass the germs on to someone else if you take a break and stay home.”
Here are a few tips for combating a summer cold:
- Get plenty of rest and take a break from strenuous exercise and activity.
- Stay hydrated - especially in the heat.
- Use a saline spray to help loosen mucus and clear the nasal passage. You may also consider using an over-the-counter (OTC) decongestant for no more than a few days.
- Lower your fever and manage those cold-associated pains with an OTC pain reliever.
- Try using cough drops to alleviate your cough.
- Above all, avoid seeking an antibiotic for a viral-associated cold. Not only are they useless for viral infections, and a needless cost; but their use for viral infections can lead to the hazard of broadly-resistant bacteria, that threatens everyone’s health.
And remember to wash your hands to keep from getting and spreading the cold.
“These types of viruses are passed along through coughing and sneezing so hand washing is very important,” Mrs. Wallace says. “You don’t want to infect everyone in your house or office.”