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Summer flu: how to prevent it properly
Many people use the currently fantastic weather for swimming excursions, visits to the beer garden or relaxing stays in the garden. But some are in bed on summer days and complain of health complaints such as cough, runny nose and hoarseness. But often that should not be the case. Experts explain how to prevent so-called “summer flu”.
Cold symptoms at summer temperatures
Who thinks of cough, runny nose, headache and body aches in summer temperatures? Such cold symptoms do not really go well with the easy lifestyle that is associated with warm summer evenings and a lot of time outdoors. But even when the outside temperature is warm, you can become infected with the so-called “summer flu”. Health experts give a few tips that can help you stay healthy and enjoy the summer to the fullest.
How summer flu develops
As the State Medical Association of Baden-Württemberg explains in an older communication, the causes of summer flu are the same as for flu illnesses in the cold season.
According to the experts, it is an infection with viruses that occur particularly in summer. When people are crowded - for example at summer festivals, in the outdoor pool, or on bus or plane trips - the viruses have particularly short distances.
Then you can get infected when coughing, speaking or sneezing from your fellow human beings.
"If a heated and sweaty body is exposed to increased drafts in summer - for example from an open car window or an air conditioning system - the mucous membranes dry out and can therefore no longer properly fulfill their function as a" protective shield "," write the experts.
Therefore, the viruses are more likely to penetrate the body and cause summer flu.
Wash your hands thoroughly several times a day
The symptoms of summer flu are similar to the symptoms that are also known from colds in cold autumn and winter months.
At the latest when there is a fever, chills, vomiting or diarrhea, it is better to spend the day in bed or on the couch than to sit in the garden or go to the swimming pool with friends.
"Even if the name suggests, summer flu is not the classic flu that is caused by influenza viruses, but a flu infection caused by enteroviruses," explains Heidi Günther, pharmacist at Barmer Krankenkasse, in one Newsletter.
"Above all, smear but also droplet infections are characteristic of these viruses," says the expert.
To reduce this risk of infection, she advises to wash your hands thoroughly several times a day.
In addition, it makes sense to keep the mucous membranes in the nose and mouth moist by drinking enough so that unwanted viruses are more difficult to catch.
This is particularly important for people who spend a lot of time in air-conditioned rooms, because the air is often particularly dry there.
Strengthen the immune system
The sometimes large temperature differences in summer can be very stressful for the body.
“The body can cool down despite high outside temperatures, for example if you lie on the towel to dry with your wet bathing suit after swimming. It is better to change quickly after bathing, ”says Günther.
Long evenings on the terrace also pose a risk of cooling down, so you should always have a jacket and a pair of socks handy.
In order to make the body less susceptible to summer flu, a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables and regular moderate exercise also help to strengthen the immune system.
Drafts should also be avoided and the air conditioning system used as rarely as possible.
Always cure the disease
Those who still get sick should allow their bodies to rest and cure themselves in peace.
The Barmer health insurance also advises you to see a doctor if you have a high fever or a previous tick bite.
This can rule out early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE) or Lyme disease, which can also be confused with the symptoms of a cold.
Otherwise, those affected should drink a lot and keep warm, even when summer is high.
Home remedies such as herbal teas can provide relief for affected mucous membranes. Thyme and sage contain essential oils with expectorant and anti-inflammatory effects. (ad)
More interesting articles on this topic can be found here:
- Summer flu - causes, naturopathy and treatment
- Runny nose viruses depending on sugar metabolism
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- Barmer health insurance: Healthy through the hot days: So the summer flu has no chance (accessed: 06.07.2019), Barmer health insurance