It’s the time of year we’ve all been waiting for: summer, a season synonymous with great weather, bathing suits, vacation, and good health! Nevertheless, it’s as important to be on guard about your health during these warm months as the colder times of the year. Just because the weather is not cold doesn’t mean you’re immune from catching one! Here are the top germ hotspots of summer—memorize ’em so you will stay healthy and soak up the sun through August!
1. Air-conditioning (and the people inside it!):
One joy of a hot day is… well, leaving it behind to enjoy a cool, air-conditioned space. And we are all for that! One thing to keep in mind though – AC’s often dry out our noses, including the mucus lining that helps prevents infection. What to do about this? Sadly, there isn’t a whole lot. You can limit your time in the AC, but we all know that on hot summer days that simply won’t do! So be more aware than ever of washing your hands, avoiding direct contact where possible, and washing your hands frequently. Remember that just because the cool air feels like a safe haven in August, it might be anything but!
2. Poolside relaxation:
Could there be anything better than a summertime dip in the pool? Well, it turns out there could be – a germ-free one! The good news is that chlorine in the pool kills off the worst cold germs; and since they are typically transmitted through direct contact (hand-to-hand, hand-to-eye, etc.) rather than floating around in a pool, you should be able to enjoy a stress-free splash! Where it’s worth paying attention to germs is lounging poolside. There, the germs that can pass between people find an ideal home in damp towels, where bacteria can multiply even more quickly than in normal spots. Remember that sharing may be caring, but not when it comes to towels! ☺
3. Sharing Food:
One of the things we love best about summer – eating delicious food outside – also poses a big cold risk. Food that gets passed around—think hot dogs, watermelon slices, and especially bags of potato chips—is liable to also get picked over, meaning that every touch carries an increased risk that you may pick up a few cold germs along the way. In the event that you’re planning the picnic, you can easily avoid this risk – just pass food out one by one, rather than let it circulate. If you are at a friend’s picnic, our best tip is to station yourself at the front of the line so that you can have your pick of the barbecue litter! And pass on things that come in a bag, like chips, which are more likely to contain others’ germs. (We hear that chips are not great for you anyway.☺)
4. Summer Travel:
Summer is synonymous with “vacation” for a reason—it’s because so many of us take time off during these months and hop on a plane or get in the car to go somewhere great with our family. It truly is a highlight! Unfortunately, the more bodies you have crammed into a small space, the higher your risk of getting a cold—it’s a simple common cold cause. On flights, take note: study after study shows that restrooms on planes are especially unsanitary. So avoid them if on a short flight and use our paper towel faucet trick if not (see tip #5 below). Other problem spots on planes that likely have been touched by hand after hand? The pillows (also to be avoided) and in-flight magazines. Luckily in your own car you can control the variables. Our recommendation? Frequent hand-sanitizing, making sure everyone (even fighting siblings) are keeping their hands to themselves, and hand-washing at every roadside stop.
5. Public Restrooms:
As crowds surge in public spaces, so too does the restroom traffic. And yes, this means the cold germs with a capital “G”, the common cold’s bff! Don’t worry, though – you can mitigate the danger from these dreaded pests. The key is to make sure water and soap are the last things your hands touch. So before you rinse, grab a paper towel for turning the sink faucet on and off. Use it to open the door handles too. We may sound crazy, but from where we’re standing, it’s crazy to wash up only to re-infect yourself! You’ll be thanking us after your cold-free summer. ☺
Do you have tricks of your own for keeping cold-free in the summer? Please share your cold tips for the hot weather in a comment below or send us a tweet @ColdEEZE!