Have you ever caught a summer cold? You’ve probably heard sufferers complain that they are worse than colds at any other time of year. Is that true? If not, what makes us perceive them that way?
In Chattanooga, TN, colds induced by allergies are common because of our many trees and flowers. Is a summer cold different than one of these allergy colds? If so, what causes them and what can we do about it?
How does a cold work?
Since colds are different from seasonal allergies–which we’ll look at in a minute–it’s good to understand how they work. First of all we need to undersand that a true cold (not “sinuses” or allergies) is caused by a virus. Just like any virus, it needs a place to live that is conducive to it growing and thriving. The common cold , then, is cuased by a virus (often a virus called rhinovirus) that lodges in the nose lining and starts to reproduce. Your body reacts to this reproduction by engaging the immune system, which triggers blood vessels in the nose to become inflamed and the sinuses to produce mroe mucus. As the days pass, your mucus thickens with dead cells, which is what causes the change in color from clear to white to yellow or green. After about 14 days, your body is able to eleminate the virus, and you are well again!
What Causes a Summer Cold
A summer cold, just like a winter cold, is also known as the common cold. Both are caused by a virus and not allergies, as we said above and as your Chattanooga, TN chiropractor will tell you. Colds resulting from seasonal allergies or hay fever have a few characteristics that differ from the common cold so that you can tell the difference. Take the comparison chart in this WebMD article for example . The easiest way to tell the difference between hay fever and a real cold is duration—colds usually don’t go longer than 14 days, while allergic reactions to pollen can last anywhere from a day to more than a month (however long you are in contact with the allergy trigger).
Since the Chattanooga common cold is caused by a virus that infects your nose and throat, it can take a few days for it to incubate before you start seeing symptoms. And those symptoms are different than hay fever—not much watery eyes or sneezing, but lots of nasal congestion and coughing. Colds are contagious whereas hay fever is not, so if you’re around someone with a cold, it’s best to wash your hands a lot. This Medical Daily article points out that summer colds are most commonly passed during flights because of close contact with up to 400 other passengers. And since viruses grow in a cold nose, the recirculation of air conditioning in any setting (airplane, office, home) makes summertime just as much a culprit for spreading colds as the cold weather in winter.
And while summer colds are not as common as winter colds (due to the warmer weather), many say summer colds are actually worse than winter colds. This is becuase the virus type that passes around in summer is different than the one that typically goes around in winter–the winter cold is usually caused by a rhinovirus , while the summer cold is usually caused by an enterovirus . Who knew?
Best Solutions to a Summer Cold
Your Chattanooga, TN chiropractor has probably given you a few tips about how to deal with a cold, whether it’s a summer or winter one, and they probably include rest and cool mist humidifiers, as well as a healthy diet. You might feel like a Chattanooga summer cold is worse than a winter one simply because the weather is nice and you’d like to be out doing things, whereas in winter you are most likely content to remain indoors and let your body heal.
No matter when you get a cold, there are a few ways to deal with them. For one thing, this Everyday Health doctor says that the best treatment for a summer cold is rest—something you don’t really want to do when the weather is inviting. Remaining hydrated with water—not other types of drinks—is also a big key. Water keeps mucus loosened so that you don’t get stuck with an infection on top of the cold. You can try other innocuous remedies like zinc lozenges (most effective at the onset of symptoms), nasal saline sprays, and over-the-counter decongestants to help allay your symptoms, but colds simply take their course once you get them. Once your body has fought off the virus in about 2 weeks, you’ve got immunity to that specific virus. Which is perhaps the only comforting thought when you’re relegated to the couch on a summer evening.
Have you ever had a summer cold?
The best way to avoid a Chattanooga summer cold is to steer clear of sufferers when you see them coming. Of course that’s difficult to do when a member of your household shows up with one, but things like you’ll see in this post will help keep you healthy the rest of this summer—including eating veggies, regular exercise, and getting enough sleep.
Have you ever had a summer cold? How did you get to the other side? Did your doctor end up recommending antibiotics because it had turned into an infection? Tell us what you did to battle the cold, and we’ll respond with a comment of our own!