by Hannah Chow, M.D.
Our pediatrician explains how warm-weather sniffles differ from winter colds -- and shares her tips for keeping your family safe
Q. Are there different types of viruses in warm weather?
For the most part, viruses are the same year-round. But there is one kind that's more common in the summer: the enterovirus, also called the stomach flu.
This virus, which lasts a week or two, causes digestive issues and respiratory symptoms.
Because enteroviruses are spread the same way as colds -- through direct contact with another person or an infected surface -- remind your kids to wash their hands often and avoid sharing drinking glasses, eating utensils or water bottles.
Q. How should I treat a summer cold virus?
Don't ask your pediatrician for antibiotics, since they're not useful for viruses. Instead, treat a fever with a pain reliever, like Tylenol. Cough medicine and decongestants can provide relief from cold symptoms. Check the packaging for age restrictions. And if your child is suffering from stomach issues caused by the enterovirus -- and is 6 or older -- you can give her an antacid.
Of course, make sure your child gets plenty of rest. You should also ensure she's drinking regularly, since the hot weather ups the risk for dehydration. Cooling baths, light clothing and air-conditioning can also help your little one stay comfortable while she recovers.
Hannah Chow, M.D., is a pediatrician and an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University Chicago.