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Summer Cold: Can You Get A Cold In The Summer? Causes, Symptoms And Prevention

Most of us have experienced cold during other seasons, but it can also occur in summer. So, how to prevent summer cold? Some of us wonder how one can suffer from cold even in summer? Well, the reason behind the cold is a virus, not the climatic conditions.

Due to the change in weather, the body temperature fluctuates, and the immunity drops, affecting you with either a cold or a cough. A summer cold is simply a common cold you catch during summertime [1].

The common cold is caused by the rhinovirus, which can spread and infect people even if it is hot outside. Children are especially prone to catching summer colds because they go overboard with enjoying the summer activities and binge on too many ice creams or cold drinks. Treating summer colds is not very difficult.

However, it would be much better if you knew the reasons when you could actually catch a summer cold. This can prevent you from picking up cold infections during the warm weather.

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Cold Symptoms, Allergies Or COVID-19?

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, it is normal for one to skip a beat when they start showing cold symptoms as they are similar to the symptoms of the respiratory illness that has caused 2,950,676 globally [2]. But, COVID-19 can have potentially serious complications, such as trouble breathing and pneumonia.

While the primary symptoms of COVID-19 are cough, fever, shortness of breath and fatigue, seasonal allergies can cause runny/stuffy nose, itchy eyes, skin and mouth, and sneezing, the symptoms of a cold are sneezing, stuffy nose, sore throat and mild chest discomfort and cough, which can elevate to fatigue and body aches, and that's it [3].

So, how can you tell if you have a cold or COVID-19 or allergies? Well, you consider your symptoms - yes, a sore throat and runny nose are typically the first signs of a cold, which are less common with COVID-19 and allergies.

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In addition to this, fever isn't a common symptom with a cold, and allergies are usually chronic, presenting with symptoms off and on for weeks, months, or even years [4]. Moreover, colds and allergies share the characteristic symptoms of sneezing, runny nose, congestion, and an itchy or sore throat. But a cold will also include other symptoms like coughing, sweating, and fever. Allergies will last longer, and the symptoms will be consistent, unlike cold symptoms that will change in severity - start mild, worsen, and then return to mild or disappear.

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What Causes A Summer Cold?

A person can get a summer cold when they come into contact with germs from an infected person's body fluids, such as their saliva, mucus, or faeces [5]. Basically, whenever the micro-organisms can spread from one person to another, cold can occur irrespective of the prevailing season or climate.

Few other reasons why we may catch a common cold in summer are as follows:

  • Excessive sweating: When you sweat excessively, you tend to wet your clothes. And this makes your body damp for a long period of time, making you prone to catching a cold.
  • Heatstroke: Sometimes, when you are out in the heat of the sun, you do not realise that you are exposing yourself to more heat than your body can take. Getting too hot can also make you get fevers and chills. This is usually called a heat stroke or summer chills.
  • Alternate weather: When you come from the scorching sunlight and enter an air-conditioned space immediately, you are exposing yourself to alternates of extreme heat and cold. This does not give your body the time to adjust to its thermostat properly. Alternates of extreme heat and cold are also causes of catching a cold in summer.
  • Drinking extremely cold water/drinks: Your body does feel hot, but your throat remains susceptible to cold things. So, your body might crave cold water, but it is still not good for your throat. And it is only in the summer that you drink chilled drinks, putting yourself at the risk of throat infections.
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How To Prevent A Cold In Summer?

To treat a summer cold, the best thing you can do is to turn to home remedies. When you consume healthy immunity-boosting foods, you will soon realise that your immunity level has increased, and your metabolism has become stronger [6].

Many foods contain vitamins that help to work on your body and thus increase your immunity to fight against the summer infection. Foods that are citrus in nature are also helpful in making you feel better. The more water you consume, the more it will have a good impact on your body because water aids in flushing out the toxins from the body [7].

The best way to prevent summer colds are mentioned below:

  • Take care of your immune system by eating healthy
  • Getting the right amount of sleep
  • Practising hygiene such as washing your hands after using a public restroom
  • Avoid interacting with people who already have a cold
  • Eating green vegetables can help because spinach, kale and cucumber are the best to be consumed during summer. They will cleanse your body and work on your immunity to fight the cold naturally and effectively.
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What Are The Treatments For Summer Cold?

No medication can kill the viruses that cause most summer colds. Antibiotics do not treat colds and using them constantly can make antibiotics less effective over time, which contributes to antibiotic resistance.

The treatment is always aimed at managing the symptoms, and they are as follows [8]:

  • Over-the-counter pain and fever relievers
  • Decongestants can help with coughing and congestion
  • Cough medicine and cough drops
  • Chest vapour rubs can help with congestion
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Herbal Remedies For Summer Cold

  • Coconut water: Since you are down with a cold, the best food you can turn to is coconut water. Drink tender coconut water twice a day and enjoy the health benefits of vitamins and protein; it is one of the best remedies to fight off that cold [9].
  • Rosewater: Drink rose water twice a day to bring down the level of heat in the body. Rosewater is made from crushed petals of the rose, and a little bit of honey is added to it. You can also add sugar or a pinch of gur or jaggery since both are helpful in making you feel better.
  • Fruit juice: There are plenty of fruit juices that you can drink to drive away that virus. Fruits that are rich in vitamin C are simply the best. Oranges, pineapple and watermelon juices should be a must in your summer cold diet. Vitamin C fights the infection and improves your symptoms.
  • Green tea: To fight the infection and to feel better, drink two cups of green tea. This herbal tea will decongest your nose. Make sure you add a bit of lemon juice to the green tea as well, as it aids in killing the bacteria due to the presence of antioxidants.
  • Pepper & garlic: Some foods like cayenne pepper and garlic act like decongesting agents when you are suffering from a cold [10].
  • Steam: Using humidifiers and steaming can help provide relief from cold, especially runny nose, congestion, sore throat, and coughing.
  • Note: Do not use the home remedies on young children because while some of these home remedies are effective in treating a cold, there has not yet been enough research to support the effectiveness of these remedies conclusively.

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On A Final Note…

It really doesn't have to be cold outside for you to catch a cold. Catching a cold in the summer is exactly like catching a cold in the winter. The best way to prevent a common cold is to consume healthy immune-boosting foods and practising basic hygiene, especially in the time of COVID-19.

Story first published: Monday, April 12, 2021, 15:01 [IST]
Read more about: summer summer cold fever covid