Weather and Health: Summer Colds

Dealing with a cold is annoying any time of the year. During the summer, however, when you want to be outside enjoying the beautiful weather, it is especially frustrating.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 200 different viruses can cause the common cold. The two most frequently found types are rhinoviruses and enteroviruses. While present throughout the year, the prevalence of the different viruses tends to shift with the seasons. Winter colds, generally speaking, are usually the result of rhinoviruses and summer colds tend to be the product of enteroviruses.

Most enterovirus infections, according to the National Institute of Health, occur between June and October.

While the weather does not cause colds, it does influence peoples’ behavior. In winter, when temperatures are chilly, people spend more time indoors where germs are more easily spread. During the warmer months of the year, people are outdoors more often, making summer colds less common than winter ones. Nevertheless, colds are spread the same way throughout the year – through close contact with infected people and contaminated surfaces.

Along with the usual sneezing, sniffling, and sore throat associated with a winter cold, certain strands of enteroviruses can also cause fever and gastrointestinal issues. Adding insult to injury, a summer cold also tends to linger a bit longer than a winter cold.

To help reduce your odds of getting sick, doctors recommend frequent hand washing and avoiding sick people.

Summer colds keep you indoors. Credit: mlive

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About Melissa Fleming

Melissa Fleming is an environmental communicator and visual artist working at the intersection of art and science. She is passionate about exploring, learning, and sharing information about the natural world. She has presented her interdisciplinary work in a variety of mediums at venues and conferences around the world.