5 Most Common Myths About the Common Cold
Common cold myths
Can a bowl of chicken soup help fight a cold? Maybe: Some research suggests it could relieve inflammation.
But will going outside with wet hair make you sick in the first place? Nope. That's just another old wives' tale about the common cold. Here are some more.
RELATED: 10 Biggest Myths About the Flu
Feed a cold, starve a fever
Being sick often kills your appetite; force-feeding won't help. What will help is staying hydrated and getting enough calories. A 2008 study in the Journal of Nutrition found that mice exposed to the flu took longer to recover and were more likely to suffer ill effects if they were on a low-calorie diet. The researchers’ recommendation? Skip dieting until after flu season.
You'll get sick if don't wear a coat
George Bailey from It’s a Wonderful Life earned a punch in the nose over this one, but would Zuzu really have stayed healthy if her teacher had buttoned her coat? Not likely.
Colds and flu are caused by viruses. They do circulate during cold-weather seasons, but you're more likely to pick them up inside than out. In fact, going outside and getting more physical activity—and not just during cold and flu season—may help prevent sickness.
Vicks VapoRub in your socks cures coughs
A widely circulated email once recommended putting Vicks VapoRub on children’s feet at night and covering them with socks to cure coughs; it became an internet sensation.
The email identified the source of the miracle cure as the “Canada Research Council,” which prompted the National Research Council of Canada to issue a statement saying it had nothing to do with the email or its advice. VapoRub, which is usually applied to a child’s chest or throat, releases vapors that are intended to relieve cough symptoms when inhaled—so it seems far-fetched that it would work if it's in your socks. Still, some fans stand by this unorthodox treatment.
A wet head can make you sick
You’ll probably feel chilly if you skip the blow-dry on a cold day, but not much else will happen. Again, colds are caused by a virus. Unless you are so cold that you get hypothermia, which could make you susceptible to infection, wet hair or clothes won’t increase your vulnerability.
RELATED: 10 Winter Health Myths Busted
Wearing garlic prevents colds
The pungent odor may keep germ-spreading friends and coworkers away, but you have to actually ingest it for the health benefits. Garlic is rich in antioxidants, which boost immunity and fight inflammation. Experts recommend adding one to two cloves a day to your diet, a small enough amount that it shouldn’t cause gas or acid reflux.
If you’re worried about the smell, try a garlic extract capsule to get the benefits without the stink.
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