Immune Health and Active Living

How to avoid that one friend, the summer cold, with Bryce Wylde

August, 2019

Ever wonder how you catch the dreaded summer cold? The process is a little different than the winter variety. Not to mention it’s rubbing salt into the wound when you’re left at home while everyone else heads off to the beach.

The type of cold virus you’re likely to get in the summer is often caused by a different virus called an enterovirus infection (the non-polio kind). Summer enteroviruses, however, can also cause mild respiratory symptoms, muscle aches and gastrointestinal issues like nausea or vomiting that many refer to as the dreaded “stomach flu.”

There are four key areas I focus on in the summer to defend against a cold.

Enrichment

I eat an organic rainbow assortment of fruits and vegetables every single day. Half a cup serving for each red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple fruit and veggies. If by the end of the day I realize that somehow, I didn’t get around to consuming my purple produce then it’s a trip to the refrigerator for a snack of purple cabbage or a handful of blackberries. The plethora of antioxidants found in the rainbow of fruits and veggies arms your immune system with the nutrients it needs to defend from colds and recover quickly when you catch them.

Exercise

I exercise six days a week. Two days of the week will be a 10 km run, three days of the week I will engage in strength training for 30 mins and end with 30 mins of cardio on the stair climber, and once a week, I practice Ashtanga yoga for one hour. I get 10,000 steps in every single day. This exercise routine keeps a robust immune system. While this is my routine, make your own routine, and try to get in some amount of exercise on a regular basis.

Quality sleep

I also practice good sleep hygiene to surge melatonin in my brain at night so that the quality of the seven hours minimum sleep I get nightly is optimal. I use blackout blinds, play white noise, keep the room temperature to 69 degrees, and ensure my mattress and pillows are comfortable and supportive. Sleep is crucial to a recharged immune system.

De-stress

Stress ramps up cortisol which suppresses the immune system. I take the edge off from a stressful day by routinely practicing a well-studied deep breathing technique: I exhale completely through my mouth, making a whoosh sound. I close my mouth and inhale quietly through my nose to a mental count of four. I, then, hold my breath for a count of seven. I exhale completely through my mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight. I then repeat this five times and make it a point to do this every hour or two during the day.