During the months there’s often talk of the ‘summer flu’, which can leave people confused. Is it really a type of flu? Is it a colloquial term, for feeling under the weather during summer? In this article we’ll explore the so-called ‘summer flu’, its treatment options and how it differs from other types of flu.

Is It Actually a Flu?

Despite its name, the ‘summer flu’ isn’t the influenza virus that we commonly associate with winter. Instead, the term ‘summer flu’ is frequently used to describe symptoms similar to the flu – such as fever, chills, coughing, runny nose, sore throat, headache and general body discomfort – but that occur during the summer. These symptoms can stem from various viruses, including the rhinovirus, adenovirus and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which tends to be more active during the warmer months. Though these symptoms may resemble those of flu such, as fatigue, fever and body aches; it’s important to note that they are not caused by influenza itself.

Can It Be Treated?

Yes! The summer flu can be effectively treated. However, as with many viral infections, the main approach involves providing supportive care. This means focusing on alleviating the symptoms rather than directly targeting the virus itself. It’s important to get plenty of rest, stay hydrated, and maintain a balanced diet to support the body’s natural healing processes. Additionally, over-the-counter pain relievers and fever reducers can also provide some relief. However, it is always advisable to consult with a healthcare before starting any medication.

Can Telehealth Be Used For Diagnosis And Treatment?

Telehealth has gained popularity due to its convenience and the current global health situation. It allows individuals to consult healthcare professionals remotely through phone or video calls. For conditions like the summer flu, where physical examinations may not be essential telehealth can offer a platform for diagnosing and providing treatment recommendations. Patients can describe their symptoms to a doctor who can then provide guidance on care or prescribe medications if necessary. However, if symptoms are severe or if the doctor believes a physical examination is needed, they may recommend an in-person visit. In this context telehealth provides an safe option, for seeking medical advice.

What Are The Treatment Approaches?

The primary focus of treating the summer flu revolves around alleviating symptoms. Here’s a breakdown:
  • Rest: It is crucial to prioritize giving your body time to recover. Make sure you get sleep and avoid engaging in strenuous activities.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids, such as water, herbal teas, and broths to keep yourself hydrated.
  • Maintain a Balanced Diet: Opt for a diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables and lean proteins as it can strengthen your immune system.
  • Over-the-counter Medications: If needed, you can use pain relievers and fever reducers to alleviate symptoms. However, it’s important to follow the recommended dosage and ensure they don’t interact with any medications you may be taking.
  • Seek Professional Advice: If symptoms persist or become severe it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional. They will be able to provide guidance based on your circumstances. It’s worth noting that flu-like symptoms can also be caused by conditions such as bronchitis or pneumonia.

How Is It Different To Other ‘Flus’?

The main difference between the summer flu and the traditional influenza lies in the types of microbes that cause it. While the symptoms might be similar, they are caused by different viruses. Here are some key differences:
  • Causative Agent: As previously mentioned, the summer flu isn’t caused by the influenza virus. Instead, other viruses, like rhinovirus, adenovirus, RSV, and enterovirus, are often the culprits.
  • Seasonality: While influenza tends to peak during the colder months, the viruses causing summer flu symptoms are more active during warmer months.
  • Vaccination: There are vaccines available for certain strains of the influenza virus and are typically administered before the winter flu season. There isn’t a specific vaccine for the summer flu since it can be caused by various viruses.
  • Symptom Duration: The duration of symptoms might vary. The traditional flu can last a week or more, while the summer flu might have a shorter or longer duration, depending on the microbe involved and the individual’s overall health.
The term ‘summer flu’ might be misleading. It is indeed a concern for people during warmer months. Recognising its symptoms, understanding how it differs from flu, and knowing when to seek treatment are all important for a timely recovery. If you have any doubts or concerns about your health and well-being, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure you’re taking the right steps towards your recovery.

See a GP within 15 minutes anytime, day or night

See a doctor now Request an online script

Related Articles


This content is created for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition. For emergencies please immediately contact 000.