While everyone thinks of flu season as always being in the fall, it shows up again in the spring. In fact, people are often more susceptible to catching a cold in the spring. That’s because of dramatic changes in the weather, as well as the lower air quality that can expose you to more allergens and airborne contaminants that may increase your risk of catching a spring cold or a flu bug.
Why Is Spring the Second Peak Season for the Common Cold?
A mix of things may work together in exposing you to the cold-causing viral infectious agents (Human Rhinovirus being the most common one) during the springtime. Spring weather is cold enough to cause infectious agents to keep replicating – though comparatively slowly. Allergies, caused by the release of pollen grains into the air, increase your risk of getting struck by the cold viruses. And, your minimized immune system from remaining mostly inside during the winter months catches you off guard when fighting against those viral agents.
In short, it’s more because of the increased vulnerability to common cold viruses than their presence, which is much higher during winters, that causes the secondary peak in the common cold cases during the springtime.
Who Are Most Affected?
- Children and adults who are constantly being exposed to cold viruses are often the most affected.
- Children who go to school or daycare are always in contact with surfaces that are laden with various types of germs. When they come home, they bring those germs with them, exposing everyone in the household.
- The seniors are also affected simply because their immune systems may not be as efficient as they used to be.
- The same can be said for individuals who have a chronic or autoimmune disorder.
How to Avoid Colds During the Springtime?
There are several things you can do to protect yourself from the springtime flu.
- Wash Your Hands Frequently: It’s recommended to wash your hands after you cough or sneeze into your hands. This will prevent the spreading of germs. You should wash your hands with a liquid hand wash or soap. If soap and water are not easily available, use hand sanitizing gel or wipes. This helps to keep you and those around you healthy.
- Cover Your Cough: While washing your hands often and using hand sanitizer are two of the biggies, you can also cover your cough or use a tissue when you sneeze. You should use your elbow to cover your mouth while you cough. When you cough into your hands, the germs in your hands may spread onto the things you touch and then to people who touch these surfaces.
- Stay Healthy at Work or Home: Wipe down surfaces in your home and office with anti-bacterial wipes. The same goes for doorknobs and other items that are constantly in use like light fixtures or television remotes. Throw away the used tissues to avoid spreading germs in the office or at home.
- Take a Balanced Diet: Another good way to protect yourself is by eating a healthy diet. Fresh foods contain the most nutrients and are often a good source of vitamin C. If you want to make sure you are getting everything you need, take a multivitamin supplement with extra vitamins A, B, C, and E. This will boost your immune system making it easier to fight off viruses and bacteria no matter what the weather.
- Stay Healthy When You Travel: Exposure to strangers, less accessibility to water and soap, and dry, recycled air in airplanes may have the possibilities of causing colds. Find ways to protect yourself from these things and minimize the risk of getting sick when you travel.
Differentiating Between an Allergy and a Cold
If you are sneezing and don't know whether or not you have an allergy or a cold, there are a few things to consider. Allergies aren't accompanied by a fever; colds and the flu are. Another thing to remember is that most allergies don't cause you to cough. Constant sneezing is the trademark of most allergies.
If you have a cold, the odds are that your sneezes are intermittent and often accompany feelings of being under the weather. Lastly, allergies produce a clear, water-like mucous, while the same produced by a cold is usually thicker and has a yellowish or greenish tint. While swollen glands, sore throats, and watery eyes are all symptoms of a cold or the flu, they may be present with allergies if a bacterial infection is present. It’s always safe to get a proper checkup done at an urgent care clinic nearby and proceed with the right medication and treatment to get faster recovery.
Everyone looks forward to the warmer weather of spring. Avoid the colds that often accompany the nicer weather by taking care of yourself and boosting your immune system. A few simple precautions will help you avoid several days of missing out on the nicer weather.
Also Read: Flu Shot Guide for 2018-2019: What You Need to Know