Common colds are bad at any time of year, but when you’re sitting inside feeling miserable and looking out at the bright sunshine, it adds a little something worse to your summer. No one wants to deal with a sore throat or any cold symptoms that make it feel like they suddenly have a winter cold during summer months.
And don’t you just hate it when you need to stop by the store in the middle of the heat for some sort of decongestant or over-the-counter meds to help clear up whatever’s going on in your body? I mean, come on, there’s not even any cold weather going on outside.
Well, here are some home remedies and preventative health care tips on how to get rid or avoid the dreaded summer cold. And we’re not just telling you to drink plenty of fluids and vitamin C. Yes, do those, and maybe keep some hand sanitizer on deck while constantly keeping up with handwashing. We get it, it’s not techinically flu season.
1. Eat your vegetables
Take a look at the food you usually get at summertime family barbecues and county fairs. Notice anything missing? Most summertime meals are lacking in the colors found in fruits in vegetables. These pigments contain the antioxidants and nutrients you need to have a strong and healthy immune system.At the very least, take a multivitamin to keep your nutritional levels up.
2. Keep you exercise routine
While it is tempting to lounge on the beach all summer, putting your workout on long-term vacation won’t help you stay healthy. Active lifestyles have been shown to prevent illness by boosting your immune system, so get off that beach blanket and get in the water.
3. Go easy on the beach body
Pressuring yourself to get into summer beach shape is a good way to wear yourself out and leave yourself open to infection. Summertime colds are prone to including a virus – enterovirus – which is not usually seen in winter. This virus is known to strike after strenuous exercise, so take your summer workouts and outdoor workouts easy.
4. Double-dip at your own risk
Outdoor family gatherings, midway meals and camping trips expose food to all sorts of bacteria. When food is served buffet-style or in shared bowls, it becomes more prone to germs. That, plus people double-dipping, and germs spread quickly around a party.
5. Get your rest
Late-night parties, jet lag, and roughing it outdoors will all cut into your sleeping time. Studies have shown that not enough sleep can cause colds, weight gain and shrink your brain. Keep getting those eight hours of sleep to help keep your immune system strong, reduce blood pressure and increase athletic performance.
6. Make sure it is a cold
Sneezing, congestion, runny nose – this sounds like a cold, but it might only be allergies. With plenty of pollen and dust particles floating around in the summer air, you may well be allergic to something. Visit your doctor to see if it really is a cold, or if your allergies are acting up.
7. Avoid air conditioning
While it’s often necessary to get inside and cool off from the heat, air conditioning can often dry out the lining of your nose, which helps prevent infection. To help prevent this, don’t crank up the AC to the max and make sure you stay hydrated.
8. Poolside problems
The chlorine in swimming pools will kill off the worst of cold germs, but the challenge starts when you step out of the pool and use a towel – especially if it is the same one your friend just used. Germs find an ideal home in warm, damp environments – such as towels used at the pool. Use your own towel and keep it separate from others.
9. Sanitation in public bathrooms
With more people at places like theme parks and beaches, the capacity of public restrooms will be taxed and the germ count will rise. The trick to avoiding germ contact in a washroom is make sure water and soap are the last things your hands touch there. Before you rinse, use a paper towel to turn the sink on, and use a paper towel to open the door to leave.
Immune systems work best when you are hydrated, and with summertime here, it’s easy to become dehydrated. In addition to water, dip into herbal tea, coconut water, broth, fruits and vegetables, which are all great ways to stay hydrated. Avoid caffeine, which is actually dehydrating.
So don’t worry! Get plenty of rest and plenty of sleep so you can resume your outdoor activities. Be careful out there though.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on June 19, 2017.