The common cold is very common between autumn and early spring, but sometimes it can also occur in summer, especially because of the air conditioning or sudden changes in temperature. For what ? What symptoms? What remedies?
THE common cold is a term that refers to upper respiratory infections“either rhinitis (an inflammation of the lining of the nose) either nasopharyngitis (an inflammation of the nose and upper pharynx “, explains Doctor Romain Troalen, general practitioner in the Paris region, whom we interviewed. These are therefore mild illnesses, of viral origin in 99% of cases. They cause mild symptoms, but quite bothersome for the patient: runny nose, stuffy nose, cough, headache…
Is it possible to have a cold in the summer? Frequent ?
Winter being the season of predilection for the proliferation of viruses, the common cold is therefore more often encountered in this season. But it is possible to contract the disease on sunny days, even when the temperature has warmed up, Blame it on air conditioning and allergies. “The common cold in summer is usually confused with allergic rhinitisi.e. a seasonal allergy“, specifies the doctor. Also called hay fever, it is caused by allergens such as pollen, which proliferate in summer.
What is the difference between a cold and allergic rhinitis?
Sometimes some people cannot tell the difference between viral rhinitis and allergic rhinitis. In summer, in fact, certain pollens, depending on the region or the country in which one stays, can interfere with allergies. Those in the mountains, for example, can be bothered by grasses, and by ragweed for those staying in the Rhône Alpes region from mid-August. “To recognize the two types of rhinitis, there is first eye symptoms : half of people with allergies have crying eyes Or conjunctivitis. Runny nose is clearer, and there may also be itching and irritation in the throatadds Dr. Romain Troalen. While in allergies there is no fever, rarely fatigue or muscle pain“.
Is the summer cold contagious?
The cold virus whether it occurs in winter or summer is contagious.
What are the symptoms of a summer cold?
“There are two reasons to feel cold symptoms in summer: either it comes from a virus that is responsible for the symptoms of nasopharyngitis. Either, it’s not a cold, but an allergic rhinitis (also called seasonal, caused by respiratory allergens“, explains the doctor. In the first case, we find among the symptoms of nasopharyngitis and the spontaneous evolution is favorable most of the time:
- A feeling of fever or a real fever,
- A runny nose (runny nose) that can sometimes be purulent and then cause nasal obstruction (stuffy nose),
- A sore throat
In the case of allergic rhinitis, the symptoms are mainly runny or even blocked nose, in the spring-summer period, with sometimes ocular symptoms.
What are the causes of colds in summer?
The main cause of colds in summer is improper use of cooling systems (air conditioning, fans). Indeed, strong and sudden temperature differences cause overheating of the mucous membranes: the blood vessels dilate during heat phases and, on the contrary, contract when it is cold. By suddenly alternating between a cool or even cold environment, under the effect of air conditioning, then a hot and polluted environment outside, the phases of contraction and expansion multiply, and we become more sensitive to viruses. “In addition, strong air conditioning spreads the virus to all rooms, which spreads the disease. This is also the case in the car, especially when the air conditioning filter is old and keeps a virus“. Among the causes, stress can also trigger a drop in immune defenses and therefore more acute exposure to cold viruses.
How long does a cold last in summer?
Cold symptoms usually last longer than you think: normally between 7 and 14 days. Contrary to popular belief, the median duration of a cold is 11 days (50% of colds last less and 50% more).
What medicines to treat a cold in the summer?
Medicines only serve to reduce the symptoms, because there is no cure for the common cold, it “goes” on its own. “The drugs will serve to make the disease more bearable before it is eliminated naturally by the organism.explains the doctor. It is only a symptomatic treatment. In addition to paracetamol, you can prescribe nose washes, with sea water“. As for allergic rhinitis, the treatment is completely different: “we can offer nose sprays, which are not at all the same as in the case of the common cold, since they will contain corticosteroids. This time, we do not take the risk of complications, since it is not a virus, he specifies. We can also offer you, if necessary, an antihistamine tabletwhich will treat all allergic symptoms and make you less sensitive“.
What are the natural remedies to cure a cold in summer?
In the case of colds, some people are followers of essential oils. But are not to be taken in too large quantities, as the doctor explains: “inhalations of plant essential oils can give a feeling of reliefbut you have to be careful, because they are extremely concentrated moleculeswhich can have side effects like headaches“. You should also be wary of the promises made by the manufacturers, because in most cases, “no study has demonstrated the effectiveness of certain phytotherapeutic or homeopathic treatments compared to the normal course of the common cold“explains our interlocutor. On the other hand, there are some plants that would help to cure the common cold, if they are taken in the form of tisane. You can bet on echinacea, elderberry and willowwho have antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. Thyme can also be used as an antibacterial. As for homeopathy, it is still just as controversial, and has just been withdrawn for the lack of proof of its effectiveness.
What are the drugs to avoid?
Attention, there are certain medications to avoid as :
► Cold treatments with vasoconstrictorswhich have annoying side effects such as persistent headaches, and in some cases even lead to cardiovascular and neurological adverse effects.
►Lare corticosteroids“which have an immunosuppressive effect, that is to say that they reduce the immune defenses, so in fact, we increase the chances of having complications, such as otitis or sinusitis“.
What are the remedies for the common cold for the baby?
Do not give too heavy treatments to a young child: “the treatment of the common cold consists of administering Doliprane, regularly rinsing the nose with sea water and that’s it!“. As a reminder, it is forbidden to give a cough medicine to a baby and not recommended to use a vasoconstrictor for adolescents under 15 years old.
Should we consult in case of a cold in summer?
All people who are not at risk (immunocompromised, elderly or young children), do not necessarily have to consult for a simple cold. But if you are unsure of your symptoms, it is still best to consult a doctor, who can prescribe the right medications. On the other hand if the fever lasts more than 4 daysthat new symptoms have appeared (ear pain, severe throat pain, change of cough, etc.) it is essential to consult a doctor.
Thanks to Doctor Romain Troalen, general practitioner in the Paris region.