Top 10 Misconceptions About The Common Cold
There are several beliefs and thoughts that becomes a part of our growing up process. Most of these beliefs differ from home to home, though the fact is that most don’t have a sound scientific basis. The article is a compilation of 10 such myths surrounding common cold and flu and which aims to prepare us better to cope with them in future.
Sweat it out
Covering up with hot blankets with the head sticking out over a bowl of hot steaming water expecting to sweat the cold out is a practice that we have all engaged in, or at least, we have seen others do it. Unfortunately, the fact is it does not have any effect whatsoever on the cold. The best it will do is to alleviate you of some of the discomfort that you are having, since it addresses the symptoms.
Flu Shot Dangers
This is a misconception that many believe in and is in fact quite odd, that a flu shot can make you all the more susceptible to flu. It has its roots in the false belief that the flu vaccine itself contains the flu virus, only in a weakened form. Though the fact is that the vaccine actually contains components of the virus and not the complete versions of them. So there’s no real chance of catching flu from a flu shot.
Weak Immune System
Studies have shown that healthy and unhealthy people are more or less equally susceptible to cold, which negates the belief that a weakened immune system increases the risk of catching a cold. However, an interesting aspect of the study is that of all the people who had the cold virus directly applied to their nasal membranes, 95% of them became infected while only 75% of them exhibited any symptoms of the cold. Such a phenomenon is referred to as ‘asymptomatic infection’.
It’s a myth that many of us believe in is that vitamin c can help protect us again cold. Though the fact is, no amount of vitamin c and zinc can help us get rid of a cold attack or prevent one. While our body does benefit from the intake of vitamins and mineral supplements, it is completely ineffective in combating the cold virus. Instead, painkillers will do a better job if the cold hits, while you wait for things to improve.
While the myth is that most of the cold attacks occur during the winter months, the fact is they are more likely to occur during the spring and fall seasons and not during winter. The reason being that the virus becomes inactive and dormant during the winter and resumes its activity during warmer times.
Don’t Drink Milk
People generally discourage the consumption of milk when you have a cold. It’s due to the false belief that such an act will actually aid in more mucus to be built up, though the fact is that milk has no effect on the cold and in no way does it lead to more mucus being formed. So there’s no stopping you from taking milk if you have a cold.
A lot of people believe that kissing a person who has cold will make you to be infected with it. However, the fact is that the lips and mouth contain very little amount of the virus, much less than what is required for you to become a victim of it. On the other hand, it is the nasal mucous that you have to watch out for, since they contain much larger quantity of the virus. So, refrain from kissing on the nose.
Cold Causes a Cold
Almost every one is likely to have been forewarned of this, that venturing out with cold or damp hair will make you catch cold, or to wrap up in warm clothes to prevent a cold attack. This, in spite of the fact that you catch a cold only when you come in contact with the cold virus. It is only after the cold virus enters the system that you fall sick, otherwise not. It does not matter whether you are hot or cold, wet or dry.
Don’t Treat Cold Symptoms
It is a general perception that the common symptoms of cold, like running nose, coughing etc. are a natural adaptation to help us tide over the sickness quickly. This makes them to shun medicine that otherwise should be taken to treat the cold. However, the fact is that the symptoms make no difference to the duration of the cold. On the other hand, acts of noseblowing or coughing can in fact spread the virus, thereby increasing the risk of other people to be infected by it. So painkillers or other anti cold medicines should be taken, as it will not only provide relief to the sufferer, they actually help contain the condition quickly.
Starve a Fever
Starve a fever and feed a cold is an oft-quoted phrase, though it’s a completely false statement. Rather, the opposite of it is true, since eating cannot have any adverse impact on the body when we are sick. In fact, food acts as the fuel that the body needs to combat illness, so it makes better sense to eat nutritious and healthy foods when you are sick. A bowl of chicken soup won’t be a bad idea to start off with.