Unfortunately, colds can strike at any time of the year — they don’t always wait for the weather to actually turn cold. A summer cold is particularly frustrating, as you may have plans for the warm weather that have to be put on hold. To recover as quickly as possible (and to be able to go out again without putting others at risk), you need to take steps to beat your summer cold.
1. Figure Out If It Is a Summer Cold
It can be difficult to distinguish a summer cold from allergies, especially at the beginning of an illness. It’s important to figure out which you have to take the right course of action.
You likely have a cold if you’ve been in contact with someone who has been sick recently. Depending on the type of virus, you may have caught the cold through droplets in the air or from touching a surface and then touching your nose, mouth, or eyes. Particles from some viruses can survive on surfaces for up to 24 hours.
Another way to tell if you have a summer cold is by considering your signs and symptoms. Sneezing, a sore throat, fever, a cough, and watery eyes are all indications of a cold, whereas itchy eyes and swollen sinuses tend to be due to an allergy. Congestion and a runny nose can be either.
If you determine that you do have a cold, there’s one key thing to do: nothing. Stay in bed and give your body time to fight the cold. Avoid even mild exercise, no matter how tempting spending time in that hot summer sun may be.
When cold symptoms include fever, chills, or sweating, it’s important to stay home from work 24 hours after your symptoms have subsided completely. Up until this point, you’re still contagious and could give coworkers your summer cold.
3. Drink Plenty of Water
Stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking water or other beverages. Make sure to avoid anything that could dehydrate you, such as coffee, energy drinks, and alcohol. A cup of warm tea can be soothing, but you should steer clear of types of tea that contain caffeine, such as black and green tea. Herbal teas, however, are perfect — especially lemon and slippery elm for a sore throat, ginger and chamomile for digestive problems, and turmeric for inflammation.
4. Take an Over-the-Counter Remedy
You can find relief from your symptoms with an analgesic like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. This will ease any aches, including headaches. Nasal drops and sprays can help with congestion. Just make sure you take any medication for no longer than the amount of time than recommended. Also bear in mind that some of these medications are unsuitable for children.
5. Ask Your Doctor for Antiviral Medication
Since colds are caused by viruses, antibiotics have no impact. Instead, if your symptoms are severe, the solution may be an antiviral drug. It’s also worth asking your doctor for a prescription if you’re around people who are at high risk, such as young children, the elderly, those with weakened immune systems, and anyone who is pregnant or less than two weeks postpartum. Only take medication to treat the symptoms you have; otherwise, you could end up suffering unpleasant side effects.
6. Try a Natural Remedy
If you prefer to avoid medication when it’s not absolutely necessary, try an herbal or plant-based remedy. Herbs can support your immune system to fight the cold and help you to start feeling better sooner. Some herbs and other plants to use include garlic, echinacea, oregano, thyme, and ginger — you can find this in herbal supplements like tablets, extracts, and teas.
7. Treat Yourself to Some Honey or Black Elderberry Syrup
Something else that may be more effective at treating your symptoms than over-the-counter medications is honey. It’s particularly useful if you’re suffering from a cough. An alternative is black elderberry syrup, which is a popular remedy for colds in many parts of the world. It’s important to note that the syrup is made with cooked elderberries, whereas raw elderberries and their seeds can be toxic.
8. Consume Plenty of Vitamins and Minerals
You can receive the vitamins and minerals you need to beat a summer cold from your diet, or you can take supplements. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables every day will cover all the vitamins and minerals you need.
In particular, make sure you’re consuming enough iron, vitamin C, and zinc, as these are all important for a healthy immune system. For instance, if you increase your intake of vitamin C and zinc as soon as you notice symptoms, you may be able to reduce the duration of your cold. Of course, it’s even better if you’re already consuming enough of both before you become sick.
9. Prepare Some Chicken Soup
Chicken soup as a remedy for colds has existed forever because it’s effective. It’s packed with nutrients that will aid your recovery, including plenty of protein. It’s best to prepare the soup yourself, as you can boil up some chicken bones to gain the full benefits. Add some extra ingredients to reduce your symptoms further, such as chili to relieve congestion, turmeric, and garlic.
10. Use a Humidifier
To treat symptoms like congestion, a sore throat, or a cough, try a humidifier. This can make it easier to breathe, which will help you feel much better.
11. Take a Bath
If you don’t have a humidifier, relax in the bathtub instead. The hot water will have the same effect as a humidifier. Plus, taking a bath is a great way to make sure you stop completely and rest. Add some essential oils to breathe in and relieve the aches in your body.
Of course, it’s best of all if you can avoid summer colds entirely. This means finding natural ways to boost immune systems. One thing to do on a regular basis is use the right essential oils. At LaCura, we’ve developed blends to boost your immunity and help with respiration. Check out all our products to find the right solution for you.