Summer colds that linger

September 4, 2013 3:12:32 PM PDT
Having trouble kicking the cold you caught this summer? Think it's allergies? You're not alone.

These types of colds are caused by a different virus than winter ones and you're at risk for catching these colds until the end of October.

The summer cold season lasts through October.

"Most people don't expect to get sick in the summer and get a cold, but if your symptoms are itching eyes you don't have fever, you're puffy, that's more of an allergy," Rahul Sharma of NYU Langone Medical Center said.

So you need to know the difference.

"Sometimes people do take allergy medications. If it's really viral, (the allergy medicine) won't help very much, Sharma said.

What does help is the gold standard of care: plenty of rest, lots of fluids and fever reducers when needed.

While the winter sniffles usually last a few days, summer's misery lingers. It can have you reaching for that tissue box for weeks. It can also be more severe.

"More gastrointestinal symptoms, diarrhea, nausea, certainly fever," Sharma said.

People are also more physically active in warmer months and will pump up their workout even with a cold. But that will only make things worse, so sit it out.

"Your immune system is affected because if you exercise too much the reserve and resources you need to fight off the cold aren't available," Sharma said.

People also tend to let their defenses slip when it comes to proper hygiene, but just like the winter virus, the summer cold loves a crowd.

"You have more contact with people during the summer and if you don't wash your hands, clean your hands frequently you're increasing your risk of spreading the virus," Sharma said.