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The Annoying Summer Cold

By Kate Gardner 

It's not fun when you're ready for summertime but your body is not. No, I don't mean having a beach body (all bodies are beach bodies). I'm talking about when you get hit by that most sneaky of ailments -- the summer cold! I'm always blindsided by the summer cold. With the kids out of school, we see a definite lessening of germy illnesses and I never see it coming. So why do we get summer colds anyway? 

Summer Viruses

Colds are caused by viruses. According to, which virus you're getting hit with can depend on the season. Rhinoviruses are responsible for the majority of winter colds, while in the summer it shifts to enteroviruses.   

Enteroviruses are often mild viral infections that get better in about a week. They cause respiratory symptoms that can include: 

  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Cough 
  • Body aches

People with enterovirus are contagious from about three to 10 days after they start to show symptoms. However, a person doesn't always need to have symptoms to be contagious. As with all viral illnesses, antibiotics will not treat enterovirus. Care generally consists of rest and plenty of fluids. 

There are several things you can do to prevent the spread of summer colds. Wash hands for at least 20 seconds several times throughout the day. Singing the ABC's while you wash your hands is a good way to make sure you suds-ed up long enough. Also, if possible, stay home while you're contagious. 

Cold vs. Allergies

It's not uncommon to confuse a summertime cold with allergies. There are a few important differences that you can watch for if you are unsure of what is causing your symptoms. 

  • Fever - Fever can often accompany the enterovirus (or other viruses). Allergies don't typically cause a fever. 

  • Timing - Is the air suddenly full of allergens? If the answer is yes, there's a good chance your symptoms are allergies. 

  • Length - If you've had symptoms for weeks on end, you're likely looking at allergies. Most summer colds will take about a week for you to get over. 

  • Patterns - Allergies may get better when you are no longer exposed to the trigger. If heading inside helps ease your symptoms, they may be caused by an outdoor allergen. 

  • Medication - Allergies will respond to antihistamines like Benadryl, while viruses will not. 

A summer cold, while unexpected, should clear easily on its own. If you find your symptoms aren't going away or are difficult to manage on our own, see your healthcare provider. 

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Valencia, Calif.

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