Almost four out of ten Spaniards consider summer to be the worst time to catch a cold, according to data from a survey by the Spanish Society of Primary Care Physicians (Semergen) and the pharmaceutical company Vicks. And, although they are less common than in autumn and winter, according to Semergen itself up to 20% of the Spanish population suffers a cold during the summer months , with the inconveniences that they can cause in high season of travel and holidays.
The cold is usually the most common cause during the year of these viral infections of the upper respiratory tract . And in summer it was not going to be less: the air conditioning is hiding behind many of the summer colds (80% according to Semergen), either because of the dryness that it produces in the environment or because of the great contrasts of temperatures that we suffer during the hottest months between open spaces and closed and heated spaces.
Therefore, as pointed out to Javier Plaza Pharmaceutical Courier , coordinator of the Respiratory and Smoking Group of the Spanish Society of Community Care Pharmacists (SEFAC) has pointed out , there is no more effective measure to prevent colds in summer than “avoid as much as the possible changes in temperature ”. To this extent turned into dogma, Plaza adds other basic personal care tips such as washing your hands frequently , using tissues, not smoking (“neither conventional nor electronic cigarette, since both are harmful to the respiratory tract”), keep humid the environment where you live and work (resected by the use of air conditioning), andVentilate the house and work space well.
How to act against a summer cold
The most common symptoms of summer colds are usually nasal congestion , watery runny nose , cough, sore or itchy throat and sneezing. Also the feeling of fever, although in summer colds the presence of it is usually testimonial.
Given these symptoms, the SEFAC spokesperson recommends adopting a series of measures for the treatment of colds such as drinking plenty of fluids to maintain good hydration, avoid contact with irritating substances such as tobacco, “which worsen the symptoms”, remain at rest in the initial phase of the cold, avoid large temperature changes, and cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing “to prevent its transmission and always using the internal angle of the elbow, never by hand.”
Jesús María Iturralde Iriso, secretary of the Working Group on Preventive Activities and Public Health of Semergen, recalls that summer colds usually have their cause in viruses . These take advantage of the decrease in the effectiveness of the natural mechanisms of defense of the airways caused by the cold and dry air conditioners to nest more easily in our body. Therefore, notes that the use of antibiotics is not recommended , since “there is no drug that fights the virus that causes this condition.”
When to go to the doctor
In principle, therefore, it is not necessary to go to the family doctor to take care of this type of symptoms, although Iturralde Iriso considers it “convenient” to consult the family doctor if the patient “cannot reduce fever with antipyretic agents , begins with respiratory distress, severe ear pain, or other symptoms added to the catarrhal picture. ”
Colds usually last between three and six days , which is the time it takes for the body to eliminate the viruses that caused them. In the absence of a treatment as such, experts recommend directly treating the symptoms that may cause more discomfort than the tolerable ones for a patient.
In that sense, finally, the Semergen spokesperson recommends the use of paracetamol to reduce fever and reduce discomfort and / or the use of anti-catarrhal drugs, nasal cleaning with serum and good hydration , which can also be achieved by increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables.