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The sniffles, congestion, headache and body pains that come with a summer cold can leave you stuck indoors right when you want to be out enjoying the fun.
And, to add insult to injury, summer colds tend to last longer than the ones you catch in the winter and have a higher chance of recurring.
That’s because the rhino-, corona- and parainfluenza viruses that cause upper respiratory infections in the winter are complicated during the warmer months by enterovirus, which spreads by coughing and sneezing, and by the fecal-to-oral route.
So, on top of the usual low grade fever, aching head and hacking cough you get in the winter, in the summer you can also end up with a sore throat, rash and even diarrhea.
To make matters worse, the exposure to recirculated, cooled air all day — whether you’re at home, at work, or on an airplane headed out for vacation — dries out your sinus passages, leaving them open to the viruses that make you sick.
If you do end up with the dreaded summer cold, there’s not a lot your doctor can do for you and their normal advice is to rest and wait it out.
However, there are a few things you can do at home to alleviate your symptoms, stimulate your immune system to fight off the virus and feel better quicker.
#1 – Drink ginger tea
Ginger has been shown to boost germ-killing Tcells by 30% and scientists at UCLA say the zingibain and gingerol in the root make immune cells 22% more aggressive cutting recovery time in half.
And, since ginger is anti-inflammatory, it can help decrease the swelling in your nasal passages helping you to breathe easier.
Drink 24 oz. of ginger tea per day to get the best results. You can make the tea by simply boiling two cups of water and adding one tablespoon of fresh grated ginger. Turn off the heat and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain out the ginger before drinking. You can add lemon juice or a tablespoon of honey for sweetness.
#2 – Eat onions or onion soup
Onions are a “healthy” must-have. That’s not surprising considering that the onion’s best kept secret is its cancer-fighting prowess. But that’s not the only way onions excel…
Onions contain quercetin, a chemical compound that has antihistamine properties and aids in the reduction of inflammation and nasal congestion.
Eat them raw (like in this cucumber, tomato and onion salad) or put them in soups to get relief from your summer cold.
#3 – Soak up some sun
Vitamin D is vital to a healthy immune system and some research says it cuts colds in half. Get outside and soak up some sunshine, in 15 minute increments so you don’t get sunburnt, to kick your immune system into high gear. If you need sunscreen, look for one that’s free of the hormone-disrupter oxybenzone and the vitamin A derivative retinyl palmitate, which has been linked to cancer. And, as always, keep your eyes peeled for parabens. If your D is low, supplement. And remember, women, especially, absorb this kind of D, better.
#4 – Get your probiotics
Eating yogurt containing probiotics can help boost your immune system and fight off infection. In fact, one study found that people who regularly consumed probiotics had 40 percent less colds. Try adding in at least one daily serving of yogurt to fight off those germs.
#5 – Hydrate
Constant sneezing and the need to blow your nose can result in dehydration, leading to headaches and further aggravation of your symptoms. Drink two to three liters of water per day to feel better faster.
#6 – Take echinacea
Research shows that taking Echinacea is a potent remedy, increasing the number of white blood cells — your germ-fighters — in your body. Experts suggest taking 500-1,000 milligrams of Echinacea three times daily for 5-7 days to kick that summer cold.
Don’t let a summer cold keep you down. Use the six steps above to boost your immune system, decrease congestion and feel better faster.
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- Catching a Cold When It’s Warm — NIH News in Health
- Chapter 7: The Amazing and Mighty Ginger — Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition.
- Anti-Oxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Ginger in Health and Physical Activity: Review of Current Evidence — International Journal of Preventive Medicine
- Probiotic supplementation reduces the duration and incidence of infections but not severity in elite rugby union players. — Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport
- Echinacea for the Common Cold — WebMD
- Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea pallida, Echinacea purpurea) — Mayo Clinic