Summer flu - causes, naturopathy and treatment

Summer flu - causes, naturopathy and treatment

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The contagious summer flu is a flu infection

Summer flu is usually not a "real flu" (influenza), but is very similar in symptoms to the winter flu infection. The difference is in the causative agents. Every virus needs a certain habitat in order to exist. This is different in summer than in winter. Coxsackie, entero and echo viruses are mostly responsible for the summer illness and especially rhinos and corona viruses are responsible for the winter infection. The pathogens are mainly passed on through droplet (cough, soak in) and smear infections (contaminated objects such as door handles).

A brief overview

  • Pathogen: Summer flu is caused by viruses that are often of the Coxsackie, Entero or Echo type. These are transferred to other hosts by droplet or smear infection.
  • Symptoms: The symptoms are flu-like, i.e. headache, runny nose, cough, sore throat, occasionally fever and gastrointestinal complaints.
  • treatment: In most cases, the symptoms of summer flu subside after a few days. Bed rest and home remedies can support the healing process. If the symptoms do not subside or the fever rises above 39 degrees, a doctor should be consulted.
  • Prevention: A good immune system helps to ward off the pathogen. Healthy nutrition and regular exercise strengthen the immune system. Hygiene, especially regular hand washing, can also prevent viruses from entering the organism.

Influenza - the real flu

A "real flu" is triggered by influenza viruses. These can also be transmitted by droplet infections, but also by contaminated objects (smear infection). When the flu breaks out, it usually happens suddenly and violently, almost out of nowhere. Possible symptoms are:

  • Sudden chills,
  • strong weakness,
  • massive body aches,
  • A headache,
  • Fever.

Influenza should be treated by a doctor

With a quick test, influenza can be diagnosed and thus differentiated from summer flu. Influenza belongs in medical hands and can be treated with special antiviral drugs if necessary. In the case of a “real flu”, bed rest is absolutely necessary.

Symptoms of summer flu

Keeping the bed in summer is not a pleasant thing here, but it is important to get the infection under control quickly. As a rule, the summer cold is over after a few days. The symptoms are very similar to those of the winter variant. This includes:

  • A headache,
  • Sniff,
  • To cough,
  • Sore throat,
  • Earache,
  • possibly fever,
  • occasional gastrointestinal complaints such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.

Typical triggers

As the name suggests, the summer flu mainly takes place in summer. Precisely because the viruses feel good in warm temperatures and high humidity and also multiply quickly, the risk of infection is very high where there are many people in summer. This is the case, for example, in the outdoor pool, at festivals, but also in public transport. The viruses that are transmitted by droplet transmission are spread quickly here. They also stick to doorknobs, banisters and grab handles in public transport. Shared dishes can also lead to infection.

You can catch a cold even in summer

In the summer climate you don't think of colds. Nevertheless, it is possible to catch an infection in the warm season. Air conditioning in the car, train or plane, wet clothes that are not changed after bathing, drafts, too much sun - all of these can cause a flu-like infection. Stress, climate change, smoking and alcohol can also have a negative impact on the immune system and thus facilitate infection.

A weakened immune system favors a disease

Drafts, wet swimwear and sunbathing for too long can sometimes overwhelm the immune system. Differences in temperature between the heat outside and cooled rooms should be avoided or at least compensated for by suitable clothing. Evenings are often a bit cool in summer. Here you can think of a light summer sweater or a cardigan. In the car, care should be taken that the air conditioning is not set too cold. A difference of more than eight degrees to the outside temperature is clearly too much. The best is two to three degrees difference.


The best protection is provided by a good, intact immune system and adequate hygiene. Regular hand washing can help prevent pathogens on the hands from entering the organism. A healthy defense, in which the viruses cannot overcome the mucous membrane barrier in the mouth and throat, usually protects against the unpleasant summer flu.

Drink plenty of fluids - but not too cold

Adequate hydration is very important to keep the mucous membranes moist. Drafts dry them out and make them more sensitive and receptive to pathogens. Under no circumstances should drinks be taken ice cold. Better and healthier are lukewarm tea or water that has not been stored in the refrigerator.

Strengthen the immune system with fruits and vegetables

A healthy diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, adequate hydration in the form of still water, possibly enriched with a little lemon or ginger, are good preventive measures as they strengthen the immune system. The preventive vitamin C is mainly found in:

  • Peppers,
  • Broccoli,
  • Brussels sprouts,
  • black currants,
  • Sea buckthorn berries,
  • Kiwi fruit,
  • Citrus.

Regular exercise in the morning or evening

At least 30 minutes of daily exercise in the fresh air strengthen the immune system and in summer it is best to do it in the cooler morning or evening hours when the temperatures are not yet so high or have already decreased somewhat.

Naturopathy for summer flu

From naturopathy for colds, recommendations come, such as the cure taking of an Echinacea (sun hat) preparation, autologous blood therapy or Kneipp applications such as hydrotherapy. Colostrum, which is taken over a longer period of time, is also helpful, as it strengthens the immune system. Sucking cystus tablets also boosts the body's defenses and has proven itself, for example, if you spend a lot of time in crowds. The tablets also help with a sore throat.


The treatment does not necessarily require conventional medical therapy. Naturopathic preparations and home remedies for flu are often sufficient. However, if there is no improvement after three days or if there is a fever that exceeds 39 degrees Celsius, a visit to the doctor is necessary.

Quiet is a must

In any case, calm is the order of the day. The more time out they treat themselves, the faster the flu-like infection can heal. Sufficient fluid should also be considered, in the form of tea or still water. Although summer flu usually occurs when the temperatures are high, drafts and cold feet should be avoided.

Treatment of sore throat

Typical home remedies for sore throats are lozenges with sage, gargle with sage tea or a glass of water with a drop of tea tree oil in it. The sharpness of a ginger tea helps against throat problems on the one hand, and on the other hand it has a stimulating effect on the immune system. Furthermore, lemon or curd wrap can relieve the sore throat.

Runny nose treatment

Inhaling with sea salt or Himalayan salt, which is carried out two to three times a day, has proven itself as a home remedy for colds. In addition, the nasal mucosa should be moistened with a suitable nasal spray based on sea salt. Homeopathy also knows many suitable remedies for colds, which can be used almost without side effects.

Treatment of cough

Quark wraps and cough syrups containing thyme, primrose root or ivy leaves help with coughing. Special cough tea mixtures support coughing up. Homemade onion syrup is recommended as a home remedy for cough. If none of this helps, the active ingredient acetylcysteine, known as ACC, may be the drug of choice from the pharmacy.

Fever treatment

If the fever stays below 39 degrees Celsius and the affected person feels otherwise halfway comfortable, calf wraps can be used to try to get a grip on it. Antipyretic drugs from the pharmacy also help.

Help with gastrointestinal complaints

If the disease is accompanied by gastrointestinal complaints, sufficient hydration is particularly important. In addition, a one-day dietary leave is advised, especially if diarrhea and vomiting accompany the disease. Thereafter, gentle food is given until the stomach and intestines have recovered. If diarrhea and / or vomiting persists for more than two days, a doctor should be consulted. The following are suitable as light food:

  • Zwieback,
  • Oatmeal,
  • Carrot soup,
  • Types of tea such as black tea, chamomile, anise and fennel.

When should a doctor be consulted?

If naturopathic methods and home remedies do not help with the treatment, general medical help should be sought. Elderly patients or those already suffering from chronic diseases should be in experienced medical hands. Even small children should not be treated on their own for too long, especially if the little ones have a high fever for several days and / or are very weak.

Intense disease courses

Viruses are the cause of flu. However, an antibiotic may be necessary due to a so-called super infection with bacteria. With this form of infection, the immune system was already so weakened by the viruses that other pathogens such as bacteria had free rein and could also penetrate the body.

If you want to be healthy quickly, you have to withdraw

The symptoms of summer and winter flu are not so different, but those affected often get better in winter than in summer. This is mostly due to the fact that the sick are more likely to go to bed in the colder seasons, be calm and keep warm with suitable clothing. In summer, however, people tend to be reckless. The sun is shining, outside temperatures are where the patients prefer to take their clothes off rather than their clothes. With summer flu, however, rest and appropriate clothing are also necessary to cure the cold and, above all, not to get sick again. (sw, vb)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Susanne Waschke, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch


  • Robert Koch Institute (RKI): Infections caused by enteroviruses (accessed: July 16, 2019), rki.de
  • Madigan, Michael T. / Martinko, John M. / Stahl, David A. / et al .: Brock Mikrobiologie kompakt, Pearson Studium, 13th edition, 2015
  • Bavarian State Office for Health and Food Safety: Enteroviruses (accessed: 16.07.2019), lgl.bayern.de
  • Merck & Co., Inc: Overview of Enterovirus Infections (accessed: July 16, 2019), msdmanuals.com
  • World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe: Guidelines for Enterovirus Surveillance. Guidelines for Enterovirus Surveillance to Support the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, as of 2015, euro.who.int
  • Amboss GmbH: Coxsackievirus infections (accessed: July 16, 2019), amboss.com
  • European Center for Disease Prevention and Control: Factsheet about enteroviruses (accessed: 16.07.2019), ecdc.europa.eu
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: About Non-Polio Enteroviruses (accessed: July 16, 2019), cdc.gov
  • Rhode Island Department of Health: Non-Polio Enterovirus (Enterovirus Infection) (access: July 16, 2019), health.ri.gov

ICD codes for this disease: B33, B34, J06ICD codes are internationally valid encodings for medical diagnoses. You can find e.g. in doctor's letters or on disability certificates.

Video: Nurse Alice on KTLA: The Summer Flu (July 2022).


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