By Danielle Braff
You expect a cold in the winter, but when a common cold hits you in the spring or summer months, it’s an extra level of torture.
And if you think this warm-weather cold feels a little different from the winter version, it’s not your imagination.
According to Duke University, there are different viruses that cause colds, and each virus comes from a different season. During the winter, the sneezing and coughing that lead you to believe you have a cold typically come from rhinoviruses.
In the summer, however, your cold emerges from enteroviruses — and these hit 10 million to 15 million Americans annually. They come with a host of symptoms consisting of coughing, congestion and fever, along with extra symptoms including diarrhea, sore throat, body aches and rashes.
And unlike winter colds, which go away after a few days, summer colds tend to last longer — and they have a higher frequency of recurrence.
Psychologically, they pack an extra punch as well, because most people don’t expect to catch a cold in the summer months, so they feel worse about getting one.
There are a few factors that could make you more susceptible to catching that summer cold, which spreads the same way as winter colds do: via contact with unclean hands or through contaminated surfaces.
Many people don’t get as much sleep during the summer hours as they do during the winter, which could compromise their immune system.
Also, sitting indoors with air conditioning could constrict the blood vessels and dry out the mucus membranes in your nose and throat, leaving the nostrils more susceptible to viruses.
Finally, you may be confusing your cold for allergies. Spring and summer are the prime time for grass pollen and hay fever allergies — and these are often confused for colds since they both are associated with stuffy noses, sore throats and headaches.
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