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 sneezing

Environmental Allergies and Dark Eye Circles

Are the dark circles under your eyes getting you down? Well, hear this! It seems that there is a whole army of people with dark circles under their eyes who wear these features as badges of honor. Dark circle mantras include,”Those dark circles under my eyes are not from being tired, they’re from being awesome.” Benicio Del Toro defends his dark circles by saying, “Before I was ever in high school, I had dark circles under my eyes. I have dark circles under my eyes, deal with it.”

But if you don’t feel ready to bin your concealer, here are some facts that may be helpful. Dark circles under the eyes can usually be attributed to exhaustion, age, or illness. But those dark circles can also be a product of environmental allergies and can be fought accordingly.

Seasonal Allergies
Allergies, like hay fever, cosmetic allergies, food allergies and allergies from the workplace are all likely to cause dark circles. The blood vessels under the eyes to swell and rub the thin skin of the eyes, resulting in a darker color. Blocked nasal passages can also contribute to the formation of dark circles as the veins connecting the nose and eyes become dilated and dark. In the winter season, pollen from certain flowers can cause allergies which create dark circles.

Environmental Allergies
Environmental allergens include dust, mildew, mold and smoke. Pet dander can also cause allergies which lead to dark circles. Environmental allergies can lead to congestion which accelerates blood flow to the nose. Because of the delicate texture of the skin under the eyes, the excess blood flow creates a purplish color and makes the blood vessels around the eyes larger, creating a drier hue. Add to that the fact that allergy sufferers suffer adrenal fatigue and don’t sleep properly.

Food Allergies
Although the way foods affect allergy sufferers differ from person to person, the most common culprits are peas, chocolate, citrus, mustard, peanuts, shellfish, soy, and wheat. Foods with high sodium and potassium contact can also lead to dark circles.

Remedies for Dark Circles

  • Eye Cream: A topical cream containing ingredients like Vitamin A, cucumber extract or green tea extract can be effective on dark circles.
  • Cold Compress: Applying a cold compress on the eyes can reduce the appearance of dark circles by reducing inflammation, Place them on the eyes for about 15 minutes to affect a change.
  • Cucumber slices: Cucumbers are known to have natural bleaching properties and their pulp contains and solution that reduces skin swelling and restores texture. Apply cold slices to eyes for about 10 minutes and rinse with cold water. Potato slices and moist chamomile tea bags can also be effective.
  • Medication: While seasonal allergies can usually be effectively treated with OTC meds, allergy sufferers are also known to be deficient in folic acid, B6 and B12. Multivitamins can help to restore levels of these vitamins to the system.