Think you’ve dodged cold season?  Not so fast!

Most people think that once they get past cold and flu season in the winter months, they’re in the clear regarding the possibility of getting sick, but that’s not true. The common cold is not just a winter problem; you can definitely come down with a summer cold, too; including sneezing, sniffling, and achiness that accompany it.  Summer colds occur more often than you think. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases estimates that 30 to 50 percent of colds are caused by rhinoviruses, which are most active in the spring, summer, and early fall. What’s worse, its symptoms typically last even longer than those of winter colds. So how can you protect yourself from getting sick and if you do get sick, how do you get over it fast and back to pool season?

How to avoid a summer cold

There are a few common sense practices you can follow to protect yourself from catching a summer cold. Start with good hand-washing practices. While everyone knows how to wash their hands, the Mayo Clinic has very specific recommendations to follow:

  • Wet your hands with running warm or cold water .
  • Apply soap to a cupped hand.
  • Lather thoroughly.
  • Rub your hands, palm to palm, vigorously for at least 20 seconds.
  • Scrub all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers and under your fingernails.
  • Rinse well.
  • Dry your hands with a clean towel.
  • Use the towel to turn off the faucet.

What are some other smart practices?  Avoid the “communal bowl” during picnics and BBQs. You know:  bowls of potato chips, popcorn, etc. where everyone is sticking their questionably clean hands in. What’s on their hands may end of in your mouth. Just saying…

Summer is a popular time to fly. Know what the dirtiest part of an airplane is?  The tray table. Know how often they get thoroughly cleaned?  Not very. So the next time you fly, take a moment to wipe off that tray and please, DON’T open your bag of peanuts or pretzels and spill them out on the tray before eating.

And of course, if someone around you is sneezing, coughing or sniffling, it’s probably best not to shake their hand or come into direct contact. Somehow the practices we follow in the winter to avoid colds and flus get forgotten in the summer. Be diligent all year. That includes keeping anti-microbial supplements on hand such as oil of oregano with rosemary, which has been credited with boosting the immune system and cleansing the body of bacteria and viruses.

What to do if you catch a summer cold

If, despite your best efforts, you do catch a cold, don’t despair! Here are a few tips to help feel better and reduce the length of your illness. First, don’t work out while you’re sick. We get it: it’s summer and you want to stay in shape, but summer colds are persistent, and if you start working out again just as it starts to fade away, it might come back with a vengeance. Wait a few days to make sure you’re better before you start working out again.

You can also use a humidifier to keep your nasal passageway healthy and free from irritation or a neti pot to properly flush your nose, which will help provide some relief.

Stay away from extra chilly air conditioners. Getting chilled will only exasperate your symptoms. Get plenty of rest. Drink plenty of liquids. Keep diligent about washing your hands. Make an extra effort to eat clean: focus on greens, grains and citruses.

There are also supplements you can take that can help.  Turmeric is really good for inflammation. When you have a cold, your nasal passage gets inflamed. Turmeric will help calm it down. Look for an all-natural turmeric product to get the best results.

Cold season is a drag, no matter what time of year it appears. Stay diligent and stay healthy to enjoy your summer!