Cold/flu myths you must stop believing to stay healthy from Cold/Flu Myths You Must Stop Believing to Stay Healthy
Cold/Flu Myths You Must Stop Believing to Stay Healthy
It’s easy to be misled about the causes the flu or the cold (or the difference between them) with so many “wisdom gems” out there. There is a good chance some of the information you have may be wrong. Avoiding the common or seasonal viral infections – or getting better if you are already sick – starts with setting the record about the facts and myths related to the cold or flu straight.
Most people who are sick eat chicken soup in the hope of getting better sooner. While you can only benefit from eating the soup the truth is that chicken soup can just temporarily clear your nasal congestion. But you’re better off cooking it yourself; otherwise you risk it having too much sodium and that can dehydrate your body, which may increase your cold or flu symptoms.
It is fairly common knowledge that there is no cure for the common cold. Putting on more clothes and sleeping with three extra comforters will surely make you sweat but not more than that. You’ll still have the virus. It takes several days and possibly weeks for your body to get rid of the cold. So if you really don’t like sweating and dread this “treatment,” feel free to skip it.
Covering the mouth with hands
This is certainly a nice gesture when you’re around people. Bu the truth is that the germs that are now on your hands will end up on whatever you touch next – doorknob, elevator buttons, train car poles. This is how the cold and flu get passed on to other people. Wash your hands as often as you can and/or sneeze into your inner elbow.
You’re not contagious unless feverish
This is another big myth. Just because you don’t have symptoms right away doesn’t mean that the virus is not in you. That’s why it’s important to know that you can pass it to someone before you feel sick. So practice good hygiene. It can take up to a week for you to start feeling bad and you are most contagious during the first 2-3 days. Between 20 and 30 percent of people with the flu virus don’t experience symptoms.
Going out with wet hair
This has nothing to do with your chances of catching the disease. A lot of studies show no correlation whatsoever between the two. The misconception probably comes from the fact that the flu usually circulates in the winter and fall when temperatures are lower. The only way you can get it is by being exposed to the virus. Humidity, however, might affect how well it is able to survive and spread.
You will not get the flu after getting a shot. Flu shots are made with dead viruses or without any viruses at all. So you’ can’t catch the flu from a flu shot because the inactivated virus in the shot can’t transmit the disease. Because it takes a few weeks for the vaccine to start protecting your body, people who get sick in those few weeks think the shot caused the illness. It is true, however, that the flu shot may cause flu-like – but mild – symptoms such as feeling tired and muscle ache.
“Feed a cold, starve a fever”
It’s doubtful that any doctor will suggest you don’t eat when you’re sick. Your body is working on getting better and it needs all the energy it can get – but from good source. It’s needs the right ingredient to fight the illness and boost you r immune system, not more calories. Drink a lot of water and eat well.
You can’t get better sooner
Just because there is no definitive cure for the cold, doesn’t mean your body has to take forever to get rid of the virus and recover. If you recognize that you have the flu early enough, you can take antiviral medicine and it can reduce the number of days you’re sick and prevent pneumonia. The key is to act fast – drink plenty of fluids, have chicken soup, and get plenty of rest.
Milk can make you feel uncomfortable but it’s not causing your body produce more phlegm, which is the thick viscous substance secreted by the mucous when someone is suffering from a cold. Drinking milk, however, can make it a bit thicker and as a result can be irritating. Some doctors actually recommend eating dairy products, including ice cream, because they are comforting on sore throats.
Exercising while sick
Resting is very important when you’re trying to get better but don’t underestimate the power of exercising. Research has shown that people who worked out a little bit every day felt better than those who rested all the time. Don’t do anything too intense, thought; this may actually weaken your immune system.
The cold can become the flu
The cold is a milder respiratory illness. It can’t turn into a flue because the two are caused by different viruses. The two infections have similar indications and people can several, none of more severe symptoms than others. That’s why distinguishing a cold from flu can be hard. Cold usually don’t result in serious complications while the flu can lead to pneumonia or bacterial infections.
Cold weather causes the cold
Perhaps because of its common name many people still believe that not getting dressed warm enough when they go outside increases their chances of catching a cold. The explanation here as the same as in the previous one: Only a cold virus causes a cold. People tend to stay inside when it’s cold out and they are usually not alone. Therefore, being in contact with more people – and possibly touching the doorknob unaware of the fact that someone had just sneezed and touched the same surface – is likely the reason why you’re sick, not leaving the hat at home.
You’re immune after you get the flu
This is a dangerous myth. Viruses change every year and sometimes even in the middle of the flu season. That’s why the vaccine is different every year and it is made to match the strains that are prevalent at the time. The protection your body develops against one strain doesn’t always help if you catch another. Also, this natural immunity declines with time.
Healthy people don’t need vaccines
The fact that vaccinations are recommended especially for older people and young kids doesn’t mean that others should get the shot. Everyone can benefit from it. Healthy people can catch the virus and spread it to other people, too. Germs don’t discriminate based on age, or anything else for that matter.