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The autumn open window head cold

Autumn is a time for head colds, preventing cold drafts can help keep colds away

A common ailment for October is the morning tight neck and head cold. This situation happens in the early autumn as the weather starts to change. Often a person will wake up with a headache, and some combination of a stiff neck, body aches, light sweating, runny nose, sinus congestion, dry throat or lack of energy. Sometimes this will develop into a common cold. Sometimes it will just be a morning annoyance.

This type of situation usually has similar factors that contribute to the situation. The main one is often the fact that people have shut down the air conditioning for the winter. A overly warm autumn day warms the house and people open the windows. Often people open the windows next to their bed. Over the night the draft through the window gets colder. The constant draft of cold air over the person, specifically their neck, causes problems. All night the person will tighten the shoulders to protect the neck from the cold draft. This constant response to the draft creates stress that lowers the quality of the sleep. The muscles lock and spasm creating the headache and depletes the energy in the body like all stress does. Physical and mental exhaustion before sleep can also contribute to the susceptibility of this type of body response. If the person was exposed to a virus the previous day, then the body may not have the strength to fight off the virus. The virus can take hold and cause a severe common cold. In some rare cases patients can develop Bells Palsy.

Most people never make the connection as to how an open window can make them more susceptible to a cold. The advice for this time of year is that if you are going to open windows to the cold night air, make sure the windows are in rooms other than the bedroom. Ceiling fans over the bed are best not used or at the very least should be set to gently pull air up, rather than blow air down on the sleeper. If a person wakes up with the symptoms of impending cold with a headache or stiff neck, the best advice is to over heat the body in a very hot shower or bath. A tea made of ginger can also be helpful at preventing the cold from developing.

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