November 14, 2012

Common Cold Myths

A Q&A on staying well this winter.

Gary: Alright, guys. It is time for some true and false. Let’s see how much you know, or think you know, about catching – and getting rid of – a cold. True or false?

If you spend time outside in cold weather, you are more likely to catch a cold.

This one is false. The temperature does not affect your vulnerability for catching the cold virus.

So why does it seem like so many people get sick in the winter?

Well, when it gets chilly, people spend more time indoors. More time in close quarters with other people means it is a lot easier for the cold virus to spread. The virus is usually spread through droplets in the air from a sneeze or a cough.

Okay, true or false?

Experiencing a rapid change in temperature, like going from inside to outside, can increase your chances of getting sick.

That one is also false!

The temperature has nothing to do with whether you get sick. You only get ill when your body becomes infected with the cold virus. And when your parents told you you’d get sick if you go outside with wet hair… Well, that is not true either.

Next, medicines can help get rid of the common cold. True or false?

False again!

There is no cure for the common cold. But cold medicine can make you feel better by masking the physical symptoms of a cold.

Well, if that is false, then what about when my granny told me chicken soup would make me feel better?

That is actually true!

That bowl of chicken soup can strengthen your immune system and help you fight off a cold. Steamy soup can help clear your nasal passages.

Okay, last one. True or false?

The best defense against catching a cold is washing your hands.

Absolutely true!

Always make sure you wash your hands thoroughly with soap.

A good trick to know how long you should wash is to sing the Happy Birthday song in your head. When the verse is done, hands are clean.

Americans will get more than a billion colds this year. If you do, drink lots of fluids and get plenty of rest. And, of course, feel better soon!


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