Surviving Summertime Colds and Allergies

It’s summer! The time for you to be sporting your summer highlights, beach body, and barely their makeup, but instead, you’re sporting the nasal crease, swollen adenoids, and dark circles under your eyes. While your friends are dancing in the desert, you’re breathing through your mouth and battling with post nasal drip. No time is a good time for allergy and colds, but summer is especially brutal. If you’re finding yourself a target of the summertime blues because cold and allergies have got you down, here are some tips for summer survival.

Summer Colds
Even though the symptoms may be similar, the cold and the allergy are two very different animals. According to Randy Wexler, MD, “A cold is a virus and is different from allergies. The seasonal difference is due to different virus strains in the summer and winter.” That means that just because the majority of people don’t get colds in winter, it doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

Nancy Elder, MF says, “Colds. or upper respiratory infections occur all year round but are more prevalent in colder months. The main difference between summer and winter colds is how commonly they occur.”

Why does it seem that summer colds are worse than winter ones? According to Dr. Elder, it’s all about the timing. “Because colds occur less often in the summer months, I think some people feel a bit put upon when they get a summer cold- it just doesn’t seem fair.”

So what can you do if you find yourself a victim of this injustice? Wexel says, ” The most important precaution is hand washing, and not sharing cups or utensils.

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Summer Allergies
Not much more glamorous than summer colds, summer allergies can usually be identified by congestion, coughing, a runny nose, headaches, and fatigue. How can you tell whether it’s an allergy or a cold? Elder says, “Allergies have a more watery runny nose with lots of sneezing, itchy watery eyes and can change based on physical location ( meaning symptoms may worsen or improve depending on whether or to someone goes from the outdoors into a filtered air house).”

Another way to differentiate between cold and allergies is by the times at which they occur. Seasonal allergies will probably strike about the same time every year and continue throughout the allergy season, while summer colds tend to go away within ten days.

Coping with Colds
Here are a few ways to help survive a cold summer or winter

  • Take an OTC decongestant for a stuffy nose
  • Use a saline spray to keep the nose irrigated
  •  Take an OTC pain reliever to keep fever down and ease pain
  •  Take throat lozenges and cough drops for a sore throat and persistent cough
  •  Gargle with warm salt water to manage and soothe a dry throat
  •  Get plenty of sleep and avoid strenuous exercise
  •  Drink water regularly

While these treatments may relieve symptoms, it is important to know that they may not make the cold go away any quicker, but may help you to be a bit more comfortable while your body fights infection. Allergy sufferers will do best with OTC antihistamines and prescription nasal sprays.

How do you handle your hot weather colds and allergies? Let us know and feel better soon!

Woman with allergies

Natural Ways to Beat Allergies

Ugh, allergies! They’re such a pain not to mention that they can really put a damper on your lifestyle! But you know what can be just as bad or worse than allergies? Allergy medication! With side effects like drowsiness, dizziness, upset stomach, constipation, blurred vision, dry mouth or nose…who needs them? Isn’t there some way that you can fight allergies naturally? Well, sources say that there are natural ways that will help you avoid allergic reactions, and they may be more accessible than you think!

Probiotics
Tracey Beaulne of Naturopathic Family Medicine in Toronto says reaching for probiotics like acidophilus should be one of the first steps you take in correcting the root cause of allergic reactions. Taking a daily dose of the BB536 strain year round from food and following any course of antibiotics with acidophilus for double the length of time you were taking the medication, can influence the immune system to prevent allergic reactions while boosting digestion and immunity.

Butterbur
This is a herbaceous perennial plant with forms of hydrocarbons in its essential oils called sesquiterpenes. These are said to possess anti-inflammatory properties and can be just as effective as an antihistamine. The recommended dose is one tablet four times daily.

Vitamin C
According to Liz Bruckner at Reader’s Digest Best Health, adding vitamin C to your day prevents the formation of histamine, which is directly responsible for symptoms like excess mucus, tearing and runny nose. For best results, take it with bioflavonoids throughout the day and aim for 2000 mg daily.

Quercetin
Quercetin is a bioflavonoid that can benefit your diet and minimize the occurrence of watery and itchy eyes, asthma and hay fever, and it is most commonly found in onions. “Quercetin has been proven effective for allergies…and has some promising research as an effective mast cell inhibitor for allergic conditions,” says Beaulne. Take it in conjunction with vitamin C in doses of about 2 grams a day.

Fish oils
Natasha Turner, Toronto naturopathic doctor recommends healthy types of oils, like fish oil, that have essential fatty acids. Because of their anti-inflammatory properties, they can have a beneficial impact on health and can help with the effects of hay fever. Take 2,000-6,000 mg daily for with meals for best results.

Adrenal Support
Supplements that support adrenal glands can be helpful in maintaining energy and reducing the effect of stress and allergies on the body. “I like supplements like TAD+ or Cortex as both contain adrenal glandular which are nutrients that support these glands as well as licorice, an herb that I love for stress adaption and immune function,” says Turner.

Healthy Diet
Diet plays an important role in overall health and allergies are no exception. Recent studies show that following a Mediterranean diet, which is rich in fruits and vegetables, can be effective in reducing allergy symptoms and also help children with asthma. In general, it is best to follow a hypoallergenic, anti-inflammatory diet during allergy season. It’s also a good idea to keep a food diary and pinpoint foods which might have led to a flare up so you can avoid these foods in the future.