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Summer colds are just as inconvenient as they are annoying, particularly when they interfere with vacations, weekend getaways, and outdoor activities. When it’s a beautiful outside and you’re stuck inside with a summer cold, you want to conquer your sore throat, sneezing, runny nose, fever, and cough quickly so you can get back to what summer is really about: fun in the sun!

When trying to treat your summer cold, keep a few considerations in mind, like how to tell the difference between a summer cold and a winter cold.

Difference between summer and winter colds

While summer and winter colds may feel different due to the time of year we contract them, the bottom line is both are caused by the same type of virus. And viruses, unfortunately, cannot be treated by antibiotics. Both types of colds are most often contracted by a person placing their infected hands to their eyes, nose, or mouth.

The biggest difference between summer and winter colds is how we respond to them. In the winter, we’re naturally more accepting of staying under the covers and eating chicken soup in an effort to treat our colds. That’s easier said than done in the summer months when Little League games, pool parties, and backyard barbeques are in full swing.

treating a summer cold ©Shutterstock/Shestakoff

Getting over a summer cold

The duration of a cold depends on your body’s immune system, which is dependent upon the foods we eat, the fluids we drink, and the activities we participate in. You can improve your chances of a speedier recovery by following some tried and true good advice — Mom really does know best!
  1. Wash your hands often.

    Germs are spread from a contagious person to a healthy person typically by hand, whether directly or indirectly. Your greatest defense is to wash your hands several times a day with warm, soapy water.

  2. Keep hand sanitizers handy.

    When washing your hands is not an option, hand sanitizers are the next best thing. They are especially convenient in places such as grocery stores, doctors’ offices, workplaces, and classrooms.

  3. Drink plenty of fluids.

    While you can’t flush a cold out of your system, drinking water and other liquids, like orange juice, will help prevent dehydration and maintain your body’s fluids.

  4. Rest.

    It’s easier said than done in the summertime, but in order for your body to recover from a virus, you must get plenty of rest.

  5. Spend some time outdoors (but limit strenuous activity).

    We are more likely to catch a cold in indoors rather than outdoors. Indoor, air conditioned environments and tight closed spaces, such as airplanes, pose many virus-sharing risks and ultimately increase the likelihood of catching a cold. That’s why a little time spent relaxing in the sun can be good for you. Why? Because the sun’s ultraviolet rays can kill cold viruses, just as ultraviolet light can kill surface germs.

  6. Treat the symptoms

    While there is no cure for the common cold, there are many over-the-counter treatment options available to help ease the symptoms, including cough suppressants, fever reducers, and nasal decongestants.

    According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, most problems with cold medicines occur when more than the recommended amount is used, it is given too often, or more than one cough and cold medicine containing the same active ingredient are being used.

  7. Take advantage of the fruits of the season.

    Eating fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins and nutrients will help boost your body’s immune system. In addition to being naturally good for you, they’re delicious — especially when in season!

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