With the winter in the rearview mirror now, you’re probably looking ahead with the knowledge that cold and flu season is finally over. Unfortunately, it’s still possible to pick up a cold (or cold-like symptoms) in the spring and summer. There are some steps you can take to avoid getting a summer cold. Read on to find out what they are.
Wash Your Hands
Just as you did over the winter, be sure to wash your hands frequently. Although there aren’t as many germs lurking around as there were at the height of flu season, you can still pick up bugs by touching doorknobs, handrails, grocery carts, and the like. After you get home from being out in public, give your hands a good washing with warm water and soap. If you’re going to a place that’s expected to be crowded, consider carrying hand sanitizer.
Treat Your Allergies
Symptoms of a summer cold that linger for more than a week or two might be caused by allergies to pollen, mold, or other environmental factors. A lingering cough, postnasal drip, stuffiness, or headache might very well be caused by hayfever. This can, in some cases, progress into a sinus infection, so it’s important to have your allergies treated. See your doctor if you get a cold that isn’t improving after a week.
Keep Your Immune System Healthy
There are lifestyle choices you can make that will reduce your risk of developing a summer cold. Eat healthy foods (focus on fruits, vegetables, lean sources of protein, and whole grains), get enough sleep, and be sure to exercise each day. Going for a walk outdoors also exposes you to vitamin D, which can boost your immunity. Go in the early morning or early evening without sunscreen so you can reap the benefits of the sun without putting yourself at risk from the UV rays. (Be sure to cover up and use sunscreen the rest of the time.)
Staying healthy through the summer is usually easier than doing so during the winter, but being aware of the ways you can avoid a summer cold is always helpful!