Catching a summer cold
Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t have to be cold outside to catch a cold. In fact, summer is as conducive a season as any other for the rhinovirus to spread and people to catch it.
Symptoms and causes
A summer cold is no different than a common cold. Symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, congestion, itchy or sore throat, coughing, sweating, and fever. On average, a cold lasts about 10 days and its symptoms will fluctuate over the course of that time, drastically improving around day 7.
If symptoms do not improve, see a specialist in pulmonology/pneumology.
More than 200 viruses can cause a cold, but rhinoviruses are the most common type. Viruses that cause colds can spread from person to person through the air and close personal contact.
There is no cure for the cold, but it will get better on its own. Antibiotics are ineffective against colds because these are viral in origin. Nevertheless, there are some over-the-counter remedies that may alleviate the symptoms:
- Mucolytics and expectorants
- Antipyretics to reduce fever
Here are some tips to help lower the risks of catching a cold:
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who have colds.
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
- Don’t smoke and avoid second-hand smoke.
- Maintain a robust immune system by eating healthy and getting plenty of sleep.
There are other factors that, while they do not directly cause us to get sick, they may predispose us to do so. These include:
- Dry air. Our body’s mucus membranes are part of our immune response, and if these dry out they work less effectively.
- Air conditioning units. In addition to drying out air, such devices may not be clean and thus transmit various pathogens.
- Being cold. Feeling cold after a swim or due to a sudden change in temperature may weaken our immune system.
- Closed spaces. Spending extended time indoors with other people because it’s too hot or cold outside will increase the odds of spreading viruses or germs from person to person.