Double-dipping and other ways to catch a summer cold

A few things to watch out for to avoid a summertime cold

Picnics, poolside fun and the cool, refreshing air conditioning after an afternoon outside are all things that make summer more enjoyable. For anyone who has had a summer cold, you know they can really put a damper on summer fun. Believe it or not, colds don’t happen just in the winter. Sniffles and coughs are just as likely to take over our bodies in the summer as they do in the winter.

“The cold virus knows no season,” said Brent McEntire, M.D., internal medicine physician with Norton Community Medical Associates – Dixie. “Regardless of sunny and 80 degrees or cold and snowy, the cold virus is around and we need to protect ourselves against it.”

Here are a few things to watch out for to avoid a summertime cold:

  • Air conditioning. Though air conditioning may help you beat the summer heat, it may dry out your mucous lining, making it easier for viruses to attach, according to Dr. McEntire. If you spend most of your days holed up in front of the AC, don’t forget to breathe in some fresh air every couple of hours and be sure to change your AC unit’s air filter on a regular basis.
  • Public places. Do theme parks, concerts and community pools call your name during the summer months? They also call hundreds of other individuals with hygiene habits that may not be up to par. Hand-washing and using hand sanitizer regularly will help keep the cold virus away. Encouraging your kids to keep their hands and objects to themselves will also help keep germs away.
  • Outdoor festivities. Those mini-burgers may look appetizing, but how many fingers have brushed up against them? You might even overhear someone say, “I’m getting another burger” as you spot them licking their fingers clean. And let’s not even get started on double-dipping! If you are hosting a picnic or get-together, make sure you have toothpicks to pick up small foods and consider appointing a server for making plates for the younger party-goers. This will help prevent the spread of germs.
  • Traveling. Many families look to the summer months to take vacations. Dr. McEntire explained there is much more risk of catching a cold in airplanes due to the number and proximity of individuals. So after thumbing through the magazine tucked into the back of the seat, remember to practice good hand hygiene to keep yourself protected.

According to Dr. McEntire, hand-washing is the best way to prevent a cold — no matter the season.

“Remember, if you do catch a cold in the summer, take good care of yourself,” he said. “Stay hydrated, get plenty of rest and keep away from others. Stopping the spread of the virus helps keep everyone healthy.”

When you just can’t shake a cold

Your Norton physician can help ease the symptoms of a cold. Need a physician? Norton Healthcare has a large network of conveniently located primary care providers. Find one now.

After office hours and you still can’t breathe? Norton Immediate Care Centers can help. Norton Immediate Care Centers are open seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and no appointment is needed. Physicians are standing ready to care for colds, allergies, the flu and more. Find a location near you


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