We’ve been seeing many cases of summer colds popping up in the clinic and around town. Some of the common symptoms include: cough, congestion, stuffy or runny nose, headache, sinus problems, nausea, stomach pain, or diarrhea. Here are some simple preventative measures to beat the summer cold:

1.) Drink plenty of water: Keeping hydrated is the #1 measure you can take towards better health. More water benefits your lungs, digestion, and helps maintain proper temperature control of your body. If the lungs are not hydrated, if your digestion is dry, or if you cannot cool down and regulate your body temperature, you leave your body and its immune system vulnerable to cold and flu bugs.

2.) Eat less: Our digestive tract runs lean and mean during the hot months of summer and cannot take large and heavy meals. If the digestion gets bogged down from food, it will slow down and will start generating phlegm. This leaves a ripe environment for viruses to proliferate. The best rule of thumb is to eat small and frequent meals throughout the summer. Eat more vegetables and fruits that are in season. They are rich in water and nutrients that help fight off colds and flu.

3.) Moderate exercise: It is good to sweat some in the summer and to get your blood circulation flowing. Try exercising earlier in the morning or later in the evening to prevent heat stroke. Too much sweating is not a good idea because we loose energy along with the sweat. Again, keep hydrated.

4.) Rest: Do not extend yourself too much. Exhaustion leaves us more vulnerable to colds and flu viruses. Enjoy yourself, slow down and enjoy what summer has to offer.

5.) Avoid direct air conditioning and fans: The wind and cold will disrupt your body temperature and sweating regulation. Too much a/c and wind can trap heat inside the body or allow viruses to penetrate our immune system without warning. Try turing the a/c up a few degrees and avoid fans and drafts while sleeping.

6.) Keep your hands clean: With picnics, state fairs, and gatherings abundant during the summer, there are many ways to spread viruses and germs. Form a good habit of washing your hands before handling foods and after coming into contact surfaces that may be contaminated such as door handles, utensils, benches, counters, or shaking hands with friends.

7.) Acupuncture and Bodywork: I cannot stress enough that having routine acupuncture and bodywork treatments strengthens your overall constitution, including your immune system. Much like routine maintenance on your car keeps it working properly, so does regular treatments for your health.

8.) Chinese Herbs: Maybe you are more susceptible to colds and flu? Or maybe you are plain stressed out and run down from all the summer work and activities. Or, maybe you had the misfortune of coming down with a summer cold. Herbs will help strengthen your immune system and help your body fight off the cold and flu virus.

Follow these simple measures and you will be able to enjoy the rest of your summer without getting sick.