How to cope with a cold in summer
Catching a cold in summer is sounfair.
While your friends and family are trading stories about beach days and lazy barbecues, you’re holed up inside, unsure whether the sweat or the snot is causing you more grief.
Colds might be much more prevalent in winter than summer but that often only serves to make the cold sufferer have FOMO (fear of missing out) on top of feeling achey and tired.
“At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter what it’s called [or] what virus you have. If you’re running a temperature, have snot coming out of your nose, are coughing up phlegm, you might think, ‘I don’t really care – I just want to feel better!'” says Dr Harry Nespolon, president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.
Here’s how to get through a summer cold.
Rest is best
While everyone else might be having a summer to remember, it’s important that you get rest as that’s the best way to speed up your recovery.
“Rest can help, absolutely,” Dr Nespolon tells Coach.
“Most people will be over the worst of their symptoms in two or three days and they should stay home so they don’t spread it to their colleagues at work and they should wash their hands after they blow their nose so they’re not spreading it within the family.”
On the plus side, a cold could be just the ticket to get out of a dull or infuriating Christmas catch-up.
“[If you attend] you could infect everyone and give everyone nice early Christmas presents,” Dr Nespolon points out.
Pop a paracetamol
If you’re feeling sore or achy, then a painkiller is your best bet.
“Most of these are viral so you don’t need antibiotics – take your Panadol,” Dr Nespolon says.
“If you are running a temperature, keep your fluids up and try all the homecare remedies that might make you feel better.”
If your symptoms persist or you feel truly awful, Dr Nespolon says it might be worth touching base with your GP.
“If it’s going on for a longer period of time or you’re feeling super sick, you should go and see your GP, but don’t expect an antibiotic at the end of the consultation,” he says.
Try to relax
End of year deadlines and festive season family tensions may have your stress or anxiety levels peaking, which may not be good for immunity.
“There are lots of stressors around Christmas and there is evidence to show that it does wind down your immune system if you are stressed or depressed,” Dr Nespolon says.
Some doctors report increased incidences of “leisure sickness”, the phenomenon where you get sick as soon as you slow down on holiday, but researchers say it’s probably got more to do with holiday behaviours, like eating at buffets that may have been touched by a cold sufferer or sitting near them on a plane, than a fall-out from recent stress.
Be alert for allergies
Hay fever and warm weather colds can share sniffly symptoms, so be aware if it happens to you every year.
“During spring you tend to have all the hay fevers coming out, which sometimes can be a little bit difficult to separate from a cold,” Dr Nespolon says.
The best way to spot allergies is if your sniffles come seasonally, your throat feels tickly and itchy and your eyes are puffy and bloodshot.