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Myth of “summer flu”: risk of catching a cold even in warm temperatures
Colds or flu infections are more likely to occur in the cold winter months. But even in summer temperatures, cough, runny nose and hoarseness can plague us. Most of the time there is a so-called "summer flu". But is there really such a type of flu - or is it a myth?
When the outside temperature is around 30 degrees in bed
It is truly not pleasant when the sun is shining at 30 degrees and you do not have to spend the day outside on the sun lounger or in the park, but indoors in bed and make life difficult for a cough, runny nose and hoarseness. Many then speak of a so-called "summer flu". But is there such a type of flu at all? The “HKK Krankenkasse” clarifies this on its website.
Sufficient number of pathogens
Even if autumn and winter are considered a cold season, this does not mean that you cannot get a flu-like effect in summer.
Because although the word "cold" is in the word "cold", cold outside temperatures are not necessarily required for a corresponding infection. Cold in itself only plays an indirect role.
As the health insurance company writes, it is much more important that a sufficient number of pathogens find the right gap in our body's immune system. Although this happens less frequently in summer, it is still possible.
Ordinary common cold
The "summer flu" is a purely colloquial description - and not a precise medical term.
When people talk about it, it is in most cases a common cold and not a real flu.
The real flu, also called influenza, usually manifests itself with a high fever, usually above 39 degrees Celsius, and severe headache and body aches.
However, when people talk about “summer flu”, it is usually about runny nose, cough, hoarseness and occasionally a mild fever.
So it is nothing more than what doctors call a flu infection, triggered by ordinary and rather harmless cold viruses. So there is no special summer flu virus.
Drafts and air conditioners
But there are always special conditions in summer that make it easy for these cold viruses.
Drafts, for example, can cool our body or certain parts of the body more than would be good. The result is that the organism reduces blood circulation at these points. And that offers pathogens a target.
A similar situation can arise with fans.
Air conditioning systems can also be problematic. Because when changing from outside to inside, the temperature difference can be considerable, which puts the circuit under stress.
And especially when you enter air-conditioned rooms sweaty, the risk of a cold is high, because the sweat does not evaporate immediately and lasts much longer in the cooler environment.
The effect of the body's own cooling overlaps with the air conditioning system, and the body cools down even more. Therefore, make sure that air conditioning systems are set rather moderately - and that the temperature difference is not too great compared to the outside world.
If it is a room in which they have no influence on the air conditioning, it is advisable to have a thin jacket or a light sweater with you, which you can quickly put on in appropriate situations.
You should also be careful especially in the evening, because then the temperatures usually drop relatively quickly. This is especially true when the sky is cloudless.
For a cozy evening in the beer garden or on the garden terrace, it is best to keep something warm to cover.
It's best to prevent it
Regardless, of course, cold viruses only have a real chance in summer if our body's defenses are weakened.
Those who are under stress, who are generally not physically fit and who eat unhealthy and particularly low in vitamins are more susceptible to colds in summer and winter.
A lot of exercise in the fresh air strengthens the immune system and thus also prevents infections.
You can also strengthen your immune system by eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Cure the disease
If you get caught anyway, as with all colds, it is best to cure the illness calmly, even with the "summer flu".
The cold should never be delayed. If a fever sets in, bed rest is necessary - even if this is not particularly enjoyable in midsummer.
Home remedies such as herbal teas provide relief for affected mucous membranes. Thyme and sage contain essential oils with expectorant and anti-inflammatory effects.
The immune system is supported in the fight against the pathogens with vitamin-rich food.
In the event of a severe course, for example with a fever or if the cold settles on the bronchi or sinuses, a doctor should be consulted. (ad)