We often associate colds with winter. Perhaps it’s because of the name “cold,” which conjures up icy temperatures and blowing snow. However, the common cold isn’t relegated to the winter months. People often come down with colds during the summer, too, and that includes your elderly parents. There’s no denying the fact that summer colds are miserable. There are a million things your parent would rather be doing than lying in bed with a stuffy nose, cough, and body aches. Let’s face it, caring for an elderly person with a cold is no picnic either. So, why are summer colds so awful and what can you do to help your parent feel better? Read on!
Summer Colds vs. Winter Colds
There are a couple of reasons that summer colds sometimes feel worse than winter colds, and one of them is in our heads. We may perceive a summer cold as being worse because we don’t expect to get a cold in the summer. Plus, a summer cold impacts our lifestyle and what we expect to be doing in the summer.
While some of what we feel in the summer is psychological, there are real physical reasons that a summer cold can be worse. What we call a cold is really a number of different viruses all lumped together under one term. The viruses that crop up in the summer are more likely to be enteroviruses. Enteroviruses are worse than rhinoviruses, the virus more common in winter, because they have symptoms like diarrhea, body aches, and sore throats on top of the usual stuffy nose and cough.
Tips to Help Conquer a Cold
Unfortunately, what you’ve heard is true, there’s no cure for the common cold. But, there are things that you and your parent’s elder care provider can do to help make them feel a little better. The Mayo Clinic recommends the following measures:
- Fluids: Make sure your parent drinks plenty of liquids. Offer them water, warm water with lemon and honey, juice, or clear broth. Drinking plenty of liquids will help loosen up congestion and prevent dehydration.
- Saline Nasal Spray: Using a saline nasal spray can help reduce stuffiness in the nose. If your parent has difficulty using a spray because of problems with manual dexterity, an elder care provider can assist.
- Keep the Air Moist: Dry air can sometimes make cold symptoms worse. Place a humidifier in the room where your parent spends the most time, or use one during the night when they sleep. An elder care provider can help by keeping the machine clean and changing the water daily.
- Warm Beverages: A cup of tea, chicken soup, or warm cider might help soothe your parent’s scratchy throat. Warm drinks are also comforting and might relieve congestion.
- Rest: Your parent will need extra rest during a cold, so allow them to sit quietly or to get some extra sleep.
Over the counter cold medicines and pain relievers may also be helpful, but you should always check with your parent’s doctor before they take anything as some medications can interact negatively.
If you or an loved-one are considering elder care in West Chester PA, talk to Unlimited Staffing Solutions. Specializing in Home and Community Based Support Waiver Services Since 2001. Please Call Us for Your Home Care Needs (215) 447-7133
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