Tag Archives: cold

Summer Cold Have You Down?

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AHHHH-CHOOOOO!!!

Are colds really worse in summer?  Seems like it.  My handsome husband woke all droopy-eyed with a cold  this morning, poor thing, and he looks terrible, but I’ve been taking good care of him.  My cure-all potato soup is on the stove and hot ginger tea is in the pot.  I put clean sheets on the bed and have him all tucked in.  No work for John at all today.

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Summer colds are caused by different viruses than winter colds and tend to last longer than the winter variety.  In fact, colds in summertime can last for weeks, at times seemingly going away and then suddenly storming back with a vengeance, infectious disease experts say. A winter cold, by contrast, is typically gone in a few days.  Why is this?

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Some of the things people commonly do in the summer can prolong the illness, like being physically active and going in and out of air-conditioned buildings.  Do this for awhile and before you know it, you have “clothespin nose”!

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Summer colds, which can hit between June and October, occur only about 25% as often as the winter variety. But summer colds can have more severe, flu-like symptoms, in addition to sneezing and coughing. Many people also mistake a summer cold for allergies, because it just doesn’t seem to leave.

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My cousin is still trying to shake off a cold she developed in early May. It began with the sniffles, so she didn’t pay much attention to it at first.   She continued to exercise  and play tennis.   However, she soon developed a fever—uncommon for her, —and a cough and she became overly exhausted.    She initially thought she had pneumonia, the symptoms were so bad. By the time she went to see Ed, a doc friend of ours, she had already begun taking a cocktail of Mucinex, cough syrup, Tylenol and Sudafed.   (I’m a homeopathic kinda gal myself, but my cousin is not.) Ed prescribed a different cough syrup, but that  didn’t work, so he  eventually put her on antibiotics.

My friend ended up taking a week off from her high-demand, executive job and ended up missing two weeks of tennis practice, which is unfortunate, since she had planned to play in a tournament.  Her husband, William, who caught the cold the third week of her illness, is also still ill.

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When I catch a cold, I find that it helps to  ramp up my exercise routine to sweat out the cold, but I have recently learned that this practice might actually prolong the illness, which says a lot.  I haven’t been sick in a year, but last year and the year before, I was sick for months!  Moderate exercise tends to protect the body from illness, but a sudden and strenuous workout can decrease the body’s immunity.

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And moving between the hot summer outdoors and cold air-conditioned inside environments can make people more vulnerable to sickness in summer. The sudden chilling lowers the defenses in the nose and throat by causing constriction of the blood vessels. If a virus is already  at work in the body,  this reduces our immunity.

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A summer cold’s symptoms can be a bit surprising. Along with the sniffles, sufferers may also get a fever, diarrhea and an achy-breaky body. Symptoms can also vary depending on people’s ages.

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Because summer colds stick around longer than many people expect, they are often mistaken for allergies.  Some ways to tell the difference: If you are “droopy-eyed”…meaning your eyelids are puffy and eyes bloodshot, it is  probably allergies instead of a cold. Mucus color also is different—green for allergies, clear for summer cold. If  your nose and eyes and ears feel itchy or tickly, that really points to allergies, and not to a summer cold.

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I am giving John some NOW brand zinc while he is sick.  However, in my research, I have learned that taking zinc, which is often advised for warding off winter colds, may not work for the summer variety. The literature on zinc is mixed, but the proposed mechanism is that it might interfere with how the virus attaches inside the body.   Since the summer virus attaches differently, it might not work as well.  Time will tell.

Enteroviruses and rhinoviruses are around all year. According to further research, it is not yet clear why summer colds tend to be caused by one virus and not the other.  Possibly, the summer-cold virus may be more physically delicate than the winter cold virus…but who knows?

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Winter colds may occur more frequently than summer colds because colder weather and lack of sunlight decreases the body’s immunity.  However,  both types of virus thrive where large numbers of people gather, such as schools, public transportation, sports games and airlines flights.  Anywhere there’s crowding, you can pick up a cold.

Frozen Treats for Hot Summer Days

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Ingrid loves her summer popsicles, so I have equipped myself with some good recipes.   I like to experiment with various juice, fruit, vegetable and other flavor combos, such as chocolate or vanilla…or lavender….although we don’t let Ingrid have chocolate.  Sometimes the pops turn out well and sometimes they don’t.  Here are a few of the ones that we have enjoyed over the last few summers.  I’ve even thrown in a couple of adult-only pop recipes!

For this first one, you can use any type of fruit that you like.  Ingrid really enjoys orange ones, but you can use whatever you have around.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup diced kiwi
  • 1/3 cup diced watermelon
  • 1/3 cup diced strawberries
  • 1/3 cup fresh pineapple, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice or sweetened lime or lemon juice

Directions:

Combine diced fruit in a bowl and fill each 5 oz cup with fruit. Add 1 tbsp of juice and insert craft sticks into each cup. They easily stay in place because of all the fruit. Place in the freezer a few hours until firm. To remove the pops from the cups, run under warm water a few seconds. Enjoy!

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Frozen Nutella Coconut Banana Pops

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium ripe banana
  • 8 oz Nutella spread
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • toasted sweetened or unsweetened coconut flakes

Directions:

Cut the banana in half lengthwise, then in half to make four quarters. Insert popsicle sticks into bananas and freeze on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. When the bananas are frozen, fill a coffee mug with Nutella and melt in the microwave.  (Watch it carefully, because it only takes about 20-30 seconds, if that long.)  Dip the bananas one at a time into the Nutella, scraping off the excess chocolate from the back of the banana, and place it on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Quickly add the coconut shreds on the rounded side before the chocolate hardens (you have to work quickly here). Place on wax paper and return to the freezer until frozen and ready to eat. Eat frozen and enjoy!!

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* You can also use semisweet chocolate instead of the Nutella in this recipe.  Based on 0.5 oz of chocolate per banana. If you use a large banana, you will use more chocolate and will need to adjust.

The next two recipes are for the adults in the scenario:

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French Popsicles

yield: 10 popsicles (plus a little bit left over to drink!)

  • 12 oz. of champagne
  • 4 oz. of cognac or gin Either  are a good choice.
  • 4 oz. of simple syrup
  • 3 oz. of fresh lemon juice

Combine all ingredients together into a large measuring cup, then evenly distribute in your popsicle molds, leaving about 1/4 inch of room at the top. (You’ll have around 3 oz. left over after filling the molds.)

Honeydew Cucumber Margarita Popsicles

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Makes five 2-and-1/4-oz. popsicles

1 cup approximately a whole melon weighing 1lb – juiced…or 1 C honeydew juice
1/3 cup cucumber juice (about half a 5 oz. cucumber).
½ cup gold tequila
1 tablespoon Gran Marnier
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon mint simple syrup (recipe follows)
3 large mint sprigs

Instructions:

1. Place the honeydew and cucumber in a food processor or a blender and process until everything is pureed. Add tequila, triple sec, lime juice and mint syrup and process for another 20-30 seconds to blend well. Pour mixture into popsicles mold.

2. Freeze for about 2 hours or until mixture starts to solidify enough to hold a popsicle stick upright. Insert popsicle sticks and finish freezing popsicles overnight. To release popsicles run hot water on the outside of popsicle molds for a 2-3 seconds.

Mint Syrup
(You will have more syrup than you need. Save for other cocktail uses.
· 1/2 cup water
· 1/2 cups sugar
· 1 cup mint leaves, loosely packed

Instructions:

1. Place sugar and water in a pot over heat until sugar dissolves. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature and place mint leaves in mixture and muddle. Allow mint leaves to steep for 20 minutes. Strain and discard leaves. (Depending on the fineness of the sieve tiny pieces may remain)