It’s time to dispell some misinformation about the flu and the common cold!
Cold and flu season is around the corner and you might have already started noticing a family member or a friend or yourself getting infected with the unpleasant respiratory viruses. It’s no surprise that we’ve all heard some hearsays and beliefs about the flu while growing up. Most of us still follow the beliefs and information that have been passed along the generation, but what if I tell you that everything you heard so far about the flu and cold might not be true?
Here are these 7 Common Cold and Flu Myths that you have heard of and some shocking truths about them!
7. Going out on wet hair or going out in cold can result in flu
It’s important to understand that the temperature outside or the fact that your hair is wet do not determine you getting infected with the cold. The only way to catch flu or cold is exposure to influenza virus. There are millions of influenza virus in our surrounding and we can be infected easily if our immunity is compromised or if it’s the flu season. Coincidently, the flu season falls in the same time as winter so, most people often link flu with cold weather but that’s not true.
6. Sweating out a cold helps you heal
This is the most common myth that we’ve all heard and even tried a few times. Sweating out a cold either by covering yourself with layers of blankets or inhaling warm steam or exercise do make you feel better but it does not heal you. Sweating does help you relieve the nasal congestion as it helps to loosen the nasal mucus, relieving the stuffy nose. However, a study conducted in 2010 showed that inhaling steam or hot air with sauna had no effect on the severity of common cold symptoms.
5. Chicken Soup, Hot liquids and honey help you feel better
Well, it’s a fact that chicken soup and hot liquids help you tackle the symptoms of cold and flu like a pro. But it does not shorten the duration of infection. In fact, according to Joel H. Fuhrman MD in Family Medicine having hot liquids may even lengthen the duration of illness via suppression of mucosal flow and white blood cell movement. Bottom line is that it’s better if you avoid eating heavy food and have light foods such as soups. In addition, chicken soup has no other specific qualities that can help fight the flu. So, sorry chicken soup lovers, it’s no good for your cold.
4. Flu vaccines cause the flu
The reason why this is not true is because the flu shots contain attenuated or inactivated viruses that can not cause the infection. On the first day of your flu shot, you might get a flu like symptoms including fever and cold but it’s just our body building up the antibodies against the virus. There are also so many other respiratory viruses floating around out there that you could catch one after you get the flu vaccine, and it may seem as though the shot caused it, but it does not.
3. You should avoid dairy when sick
When you are cold and sick, the last thing you want to have is a glass of milk. It’s because we’ve heard that one should avoid dairy products if you’re flu or cold sick. But it’s just a myth. In fact, health experts and doctors recommend flu patients to have hot milk, hot pudding, cream-based soups because they soothe our sore throats and provide calories for our body when we feel drowsy and weak.
2. Catching Flu is not THAT SERIOUS
It’s a big myth that catching a flu or cold is pretty common and it’s not that serious. It’s obvious to think like that because most people with flu and common cold recover without medical attention in less than two weeks but that’s not always the case. Center For Disease Control and Prevention warns that flu is as life-threatning as any other hazardous disease. Infact, an average of 36,000 people die every year from the flu and more than 2,00,000 are hospitalized. Not only this, flu can invite other serious problem if you have chronic diseases. For instance, people with asthma may experience asthma attacks while they have the flu, and people with chronic congestive heart failure may find that the flu worsens this condition.
1.Feed a cold starve a fever
If you have the flu (or a cold) and a fever, you need more fluids. There’s little reason to increase or decrease how much you eat. Though you may have no appetite, “starving” yourself will accomplish little. And poor nutrition will not help you get better. So if you start having fever, do not starve yourself; instead, go for lighter foods that are easy to digest and keep eating frequently as your body needs more energy to fight the infection.