How should one prevent cold contagion in summer?
(02.21.2008)

1. Operate the air conditioner reasonably

As the temperature difference between the inside and the outside of rooms is large, and the ventilation in rooms is not very good, patients regularly catch colds and get fevers. One’s health should not be ignored for the sake of temporary comfort. The hotter the weather, the more often one should do heat-resisting exercises. One should shorten the time they stay in air-conditioned rooms, and for those who often work in air-conditioned circumstances, they should try not to use their air conditioner at home.

2. Maintain a reasonable diet

Light food is suitable and one should avoid eating greasy, pungent or raw or cold food. Eat more fresh vegetables and fruit and keep bowel movements regular. Lentil gruel, lotus seed and lily gruel, lotus leaf gruel and red date gruel should be consumed often, as these have the properties of heatstroke prevention and body temperature reduction. Drink more water, as eating salt-rich food results in a decreasing secretion of saliva; having more high-sugar food consumes water and vitamins in the body, and this leads to a dry mouth, a dry tongue and a reduced immunity. Drinking alcohol or smoking reduces the defensive functions of the airways, thus a patient becomes susceptible to airway diseases. The diet must be reasonable: have less fried or salted food, stop smoking and restrict the consumption of alcohol.

A first choice of food for preventing colds is animal liver. Because there are many kinds of vitamins in liver, with especially large amounts of vitamin A and much vitamin B12, these vitamins can enhance the body’s disease resistance.

3. Combine physical exertion and rest

It is believed in Chinese medicine theory that staying up late may easily damage spirit and "qi", so it is very important to guarantee enough sleep during summer nights. Proper sport is also appropriate. For those who watch TV all day, work busily for a long time or are over-tired, their immune system may be reduced and they are more prone to catching colds.

4. Wash the hands frequently

Studies show that hand contact is the easiest way to spread a virus, because only 8% of the droplets sprayed by patients carrying a cold actually carry the cold virus. A cold virus may survive for one hour on handkerchief and for 10 hours on the hands. The hands of the patients who are carrying the virus take the virus to places that hands have contact with: handkerchiefs, towels, handlebars, telephones, tables and chairs, and so on. Healthy people that have contact with these things and then touch their own eyes and nose may catch a cold. Thus, the efficient method for preventing colds is not to shake hands with patients suffering from a cold, to wash the hands frequently, exchange handkerchiefs frequently, and stop the bad habit of touching the eyes or nose with the hands.

5. Keep a good psychological state

A person who often worries may reduce his/her immune system, and the body’s capability of killing and swallowing pathological microorganisms becomes weaker, thus the airway virus may easily invade the body. It is reported that the airway virus of the patients who worry frequently is 3 to 5 times more than the normal standard and the resistance to a cold virus by those people who suffer from great mental stress or introversion decreases greatly. Thus, an open-minded and optimistic mood is an efficient method for cold prevention.