A cold during the summer!
Sounds strange, but summer colds are very common. Contrary to popular belief, the temperature outside need not be cold for you to catch a cold. It can catch you even on the hottest summer day.
While winter colds are caused by the rhinovirus, summer colds are caused by another group of viruses known as the enteroviruses.
You catch a summer cold when you come in contact with an infected person or object, or if you drink contaminated water.
Some common symptoms of this type of cold are a fever, sneezing, stuffy and runny nose, scratchy throat, sore throat, coughing and congestion. The symptoms will start mild, get worse and then return to mild.
Due to the wide range of symptoms, some people mistake a summer cold for other issues, such as allergies.
A cold can become the bane of your existence during the summer. You cannot enjoy ice cream, cool drinks and definitely no vacations.
Well, you do not have to suffer for long. Usually the symptoms disappear after one to two weeks.
In the meantime, there are several home remedies that are both inexpensive and highly effective that can help you get faster relief from the irritating symptoms.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for summer cold.
1. Saline Rinse
Experts believe that a saline rinse can help cut down cold symptoms.
Saline water acts a nasal decongestant and clears away built-up mucus from your nostrils. It also helps make your breathing easy and comfortable.
- Add 1 teaspoon of sea salt to a cup of lukewarm water.
- Using a dropper, put a few drops of the solution into your nostril, one at a time with your head tilted back.
- Then gently blow your nose to remove excess mucus and solution.
- Use this remedy up to 3 times a day, but not more than that.
2. Steam Inhalation
To get quick relief from symptoms like a stuffy and runny nose, scratchy throat, sore throat and congestion, nothing can be better than steam inhalation.
Steam inhalation helps clear out the excess mucus and helps you sleep better, which is important for faster recovery.
- Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil or menthol to a large bowl of hot water. Hold your face over the bowl, with a towel over your head to trap the steam. Breathe in the steam for about 10 minutes, then blow your nose. Do this 3 or 4 times a day.
- Alternatively, you can take a hot shower or bath and let the steam work to clear your stuffiness.
Ginger is also beneficial in the treatment of a cold (1).
It has anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties that help reduce the inflammation in your nasal passages and lessen the excessive mucus that is being produced. It also keeps the body warm, which helps the healing process.
A 2013 study published in PLOS ONE reports that ginger has antiviral properties (2).
- Cut gingerroot into thin slices, put them in a cup of water and boil it for some time to make a tea. Add a little honey for taste and drink the tea 3 or 4 times a day.
- Chewing small prices of raw ginger sprinkled with salt several times a day can alleviate a runny nose or sore throat.
- Ginger can also be taken in the form of lozenges to get relief from the symptoms.
Garlic is antibacterial and antiviral in nature, making it a good remedy for a cold. It also helps boost your immune system to aid the healing process.
It is the compound allicin in garlic that offers antiviral power. A 2001 study published in Advances in Therapies reports that an allicin-containing supplement can protect you from the common cold virus or shorten the duration of a cold (3).
A 2016 study published in the Journal of Nutrition suggests that aged garlic extract supplementation may enhance immune cell function and may be partly responsible for the reduced severity of colds and flu (4).
- Blend together 1 garlic clove, 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of raw honey and ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Drink this concoction once daily until the symptoms subside.
- Alternatively, prepare garlic soup by boiling 3 or 4 cloves of chopped garlic in a cup of water for several minutes. Strain the solution, add some honey and drink the soup twice a day.
- Garlic supplements can also be taken on a regular basis to prevent a cold.
Cinnamon can also fight a summer cold and help ease the pain of a dry or sore throat. In addition, it helps fight free-radical damage and boosts your immunity.
A 2008 study published in Nutrition Today highlights the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of cinnamaldehyde, the main component in cinnamon (5).
- Add 1 tablespoon of cinnamon powder and 2 cloves to 2 cups of boiling water. Bring it to boil, then allow it to simmer on low heat for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain the infused-liquid and consume 1 tablespoon of it, 2 or 3 times a day.
- Add 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon powder and black pepper powder to a glass of warm water. Strain the solution and gargle with it twice daily.
- Another option is to mix a few drops of cinnamon oil and 1 teaspoon of pure honey. Eat this 2 times a day.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is also beneficial. First of all, it creates an alkaline environment in the body, which helps kill the virus responsible for the summer cold.
It also provides quick relief from nasal congestion. Plus, it is good for your immunity.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar into 1 cup of warm water. Gargle with it several times a day.
- Also, you can mix 1 teaspoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar into a glass of water. Add a little honey and drink it twice daily.
7. Vitamin C
Vitamin C enhances the body’s immune response to a viral infection. It can even help repair body tissue and provides antioxidants that help fight summer colds and other viral infections.
A 2013 study published in Immune Networks reports that l-ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is one of the well-known antiviral agents, especially toward the influenza virus (6).
- Eat more foods rich in vitamin C like oranges, lemons, grapefruit, papayas, red bell peppers, broccoli, kale and strawberries.
- You can take a vitamin C supplement every day. Take supplements only as directed by your doctor.
Honey is another effective home treatment for colds.
Honey is antimicrobial in nature and contains compounds that kill the viruses that cause colds. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and can help soothe an irritated throat as well as shorten the duration of a cold.
- Mix 2 teaspoons of raw honey with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or ginger juice. Have it 2 or 3 times a day.
- You can even simply swallow a spoonful of raw honey.
- Before going to bed, eat 1 teaspoon of honey to get relief from a cough and enjoy sound sleep.
Caution: Do not give raw honey to children under age 1.
When it comes to colds, turmeric is another home remedy that you can try (7).
Turmeric acts as an excellent antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agent that helps reduce inflammation and aids quick recovery from viral infections. It provides quick relief from a sore throat and nasal inflammation.
- Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder and a little crushed black pepper to a glass of warm milk. Drink it twice daily.
- Also, you can add ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder and ½ teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water and mix it well. Gargle with this mixture twice daily to get relief from a sore throat.
Your immune system will only function most effectively if you stay well hydrated. So, keep drinking water to keep your body well-hydrated.
Proper hydration with water, juices and non-caffeinated drinks can thin nasal secretions, ease congestion and reduce throat irritation. It even helps flush harmful toxins out of the body, which aids the healing process.
- Drink an ample amount of water throughout the day to keep your body hydrated. You can also drink broth or juice from fruits and vegetables with high water content.
- Do not drink beverages that are high in sugar or contain alcohol or caffeine, such as coffee, tea and colas.
- Exercise daily to build your immune system.
- Consider taking supplements that contain immune-boosting herbs and nutrients, but consult your doctor first.
- Get plenty of sleep to help the immune system function properly.
- Be careful not to catch the infection when dealing with someone who already has a cold.
- If you have a cold, avoid going out in public areas.
- Eat homemade chicken soup. The antioxidants in it help accelerate the healing process.
- Using a humidifier or diffuser can help with congestion and open up your airways. For best results, add some eucalyptus, peppermint or rosemary essential oil to it.
- Eat foods that fight stuffiness and nasal congestion, such as horseradish, garlic and cayenne pepper.
- Wash your hands before you eat or drink anything. When washing your hands is not an option, hand sanitizers are the next best thing.
- Avoid touching your face, especially around the nose, mouth and eyes, as much as possible when you are in a public area.
- Get proper rest to give your body the time it needs to fight off the virus.
- If you experience a high fever and rashes, consult a doctor immediately.
- The Amazing and Mighty Ginger. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92775/. Published January 01, 1970.
- Complementary Treatment of the Common Cold and Flu with Medicinal Plants. PLOS One. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3590151/. Published 2013.
- Preventing the common cold with a garlic supplement: a double-blind, placebo-controlled survey. Advances in Therapy. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11697022.
- Aged Garlic Extract Modifies Human Immunity. The Journal of Nutrition. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26764332. Published February 2016.
- Cinnamon: Overview of Health Benefits : Nutrition Today. LWW. https://journals.lww.com/nutritiontodayonline/Abstract/2008/11000/Cinnamon__Overview_of_Health_Benefits.9.aspx.
- Vitamin C Is an Essential Factor on the Anti-viral Immune Responses through the Production of Interferon-α/β at the Initial Stage of Influenza A Virus (H3N2) Infection. Immune Network. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3659258/. Published April 2013.
- Turmeric, the Golden Spice. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92752/. Published January 01, 1970.