Annoying summer flu: causes, symptoms and treatment

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Written By Kampretz Bianca

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The peak season for summer flu is – obviously – summer. However, the name is misleading in another way. The summer flu has nothing to do with the “real” flu (influenza), which is usually rampant in the winter. Both diseases are caused by viruses, but the summer flu is much easier than the flu. Summer colds are commonly called summer flu.

What are the symptoms of summer flu?

The symptoms of summer flu are similar to those of a simple cold: runny nose, cough, sometimes sore throat, possibly mild fever, body aches and fatigue. The disease develops slowly and symptoms appear gradually.

What are the symptoms of a “real” flu?

The flu, the “real” flu, starts suddenly. Suddenly you feel very bad. Typical symptoms of the flu are: fever, cough, sore throat, headache and body aches. You feel very bad. Flu waves, i.e. periods with increased flu activity, usually begin in January and last three to four months. Cases of the flu are very rare in the summer because the viruses are sensitive to ultraviolet light and heat.

How do you get infected with the summer flu?

There are more than 200 different viruses that can cause a cold – also known as the flu. In winter, rhinoviruses are usually the most common trigger for a cold. However, in summer, so-called enteroviruses increasingly come into play. They are considered summer flu triggers. These pathogens multiply in the intestines and are excreted into the toilet in feces. Due to poor hygiene, they are transmitted by smear infection when shaking hands or eating. In addition to summer flu, pathogens can also cause foot and mouth disease, myocarditis, pneumonia and other diseases.

If you have cold symptoms – also test for Corona

Even though there are no longer corona protection measures, the virus has not disappeared. Since the symptoms can be similar to those of a cold or summer flu, you should always consider the possibility of a corona infection. A Test can detect coronavirus.

How to treat summer flu?

Even with all caution, the summer flu cannot always be avoided. If the virus has already struck, the tips below may provide relief. Unfortunately, there is no medicine that can shorten the summer flu. Antibiotics also don’t work because they only act on bacteria. The immune system has to fight a viral infection on its own, and you can only support it.

This is how you can alleviate symptoms

  • Physical protection: You should stay in bed and rest for at least the first two days. Even after that, if you are outdoors, it is best to stay in the shade.
  • Heavy sweating and diarrhea can upset your electrolyte balance, but a spicy soup will balance that out.
  • It is very important to drink plenty of water because it supports the immune system. The mucus can be dissolved better. Herbal tea spritzers and fruit juices are ideal, but not iced.
  • Inhalations help moisten mucous membranes and remove mucus.
  • Rinse your nose with salt water – this reduces the swelling of the nasal mucous membranes more gently than with a nasal spray.
  • To support the immune system, you should eat fresh fruits because the vitamins support the immune system.
  • Suck on throat sweets and gargle with sage tea – this soothes the throat and relieves inflammation.
  • Fever is particularly stressful in the heat of summer. Cold compresses for calves can help here – preferably with a little vinegar in the water – or a fever-reducing tablet.
  • Extreme heat and direct sunlight, as well as environments with dry or smoky air, should be avoided.

How long does the summer flu last?

The summer flu – or cold – is usually cured in less than a week, but you should take it easy for a while. In rare cases, the virus can spread to the heart muscle or lungs. Warning signs occur when someone has little resilience after a cold, for example when they suddenly go upstairs breathing heavily.

Can you prevent a cold?

Prevention has limits: vaccination against colds is generally not possible due to the different types of viruses. Since pathogens are mainly transmitted through droplet infection, i.e. when talking, coughing or sneezing, it is difficult to escape. In particular, large gatherings of people, whether at summer festivals, on holiday planes or at the pool, are risky.

How to avoid infection?

If you want to keep pathogens at bay, you must, above all, ensure a robust immune system. The tried and tested advice for this is: regular exercise, as little stress as possible and moderation in alcohol and tobacco consumption. Also, a diet rich in vitamins. If you come into contact with a lot of people, you should also pay attention to hygiene, for example by washing your hands frequently. This also protects against the summer flu pathogen, which is transmitted through swab infections. Wearing a mask is also a proven option for protecting yourself from pathogens – and not just coronavirus.

Other tips to protect yourself against infections

  • Immediately change wet clothing – for example, in the pool or after rain – to protect your body from cooling.
  • Don’t stay in cold water for too long – this especially applies to children.
  • Avoid rooms with a lot of air conditioning and don’t leave the car’s air conditioning too cold.
  • Sunbathing for a long time weakens the immune system.

Cold or hot – too much is too much

The risk of cooling at high temperatures is often underestimated. Wet bathing suits, cold feet in sandals, drafts from open windows or fans, or very cold air conditioning make you vulnerable to virus attacks. But too much heat, for example due to intense sunbathing, weakens the body.

In addition, the mucous membranes of the mouth and nose dry out quickly when a heated body is exposed to drafts. Viruses then easily enter the body. In general, strong temperature fluctuations should be avoided – i.e. in cool environments or at night, we simply recommend another layer of clothing.

Why do people get sick often, especially on vacation?

Why do many people become infected in the first few days of vacation? Most people experience a lot of stress in the last few days before their vacation begins: work projects need to be completed and vacation preparations need to be done at the same time – packing, shopping, putting in pets, canceling newspaper subscription and more. Getting there can also be a big hassle, with queues at counters, traffic jams on the highways or children whining in the back seats.

Viruses unknown to our immune systems often lurk in vacation destinations. Viruses attack the body more easily if it is weakened, for example because of unfamiliar foods or a gastrointestinal disorder.

In the video: Explanation of virus scanning for children

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