It is the time of year when colds and flus are running rampant. In schools, the workplaces or just being around others in general, the chance of catching a cold or the flu is at a heightened risk. So how do we keep from getting either one? Should we always listen to what our mothers taught us about how not to catch a cold or the flu or how to treat them if we do get sick? Are these old wive’s tales really true or false in regard to colds and flus? Here are some truths and falsehoods regarding both colds and flus.
If You Had Taken Care Of That Cold From The First It Wouldn’t Have Turned Into The Flu
How many times have you had to listen to your mother give you the lecture about taking care of a cold before it actually turns into the flu. They will tell you how you have to get rid of that cold as quickly as possible before it turns into something worse, like the flu. This isn’t true. Colds and flus are both products of viruses, just different strains of them. As a matter of fact, sometimes you don’t know if you have a really, really bad cold or the flu.
Ways to decide which you have, a cold or a flu, can depend mainly on the symptoms. If you have a fever, chances are you have the flu. Most colds do not produce fever (however, some children will develop a slight fever with a cold). Also, colds seem to sneak up on you. First you have a runny nose, then a scatchy and sore throat, and then that hacking we know as coughing. Unlike a cold, the flu will hit you all at once with these symptoms along with feeling like every joint and bone in your body is aching.
If You Don’t Dress Properly And You Stay Outside Too Long, You Will Catch A Cold
Being outside in the cold weather for a long time or even fanning yourself by going in and coming out has absolutely nothng to do with catching a cold. Yes, it is true that colds are more likely to occur in the winter months but it has nothing to do with the cold climate. Instead, most doctors feel that the reason we catch more colds in the winter time is due to the fact that we stay indoors more often than during the summer months. Being inside, in enclosed spaces, with others who have a cold makes you more prone to get a cold. This is due to the fact that you are in closer range of those friends, relatives and co-workers who are sneezing and coughing, thus spreading germs.
The only contributing factor the weather has to catching colds is the fact that the cold and flu viruses thrive for a longer time in the cooler climate when the humidity is lower. The longer they stay around, the more chances you have of being infected by sick people you are around. Cold air is also hard on your respiratory system and can make you more susceptible to the viruses that cause colds and flus. Keep in mind – the virus is what makes you sick, not the weather.
Don’t Get A Flu Shot. I Got One And It Gave Me The Flu
This is simply not true. Flu vaccinations are made out of dead flu viruses, therefore, they can’t affect you. Whoever is telling you this may have had a reaction from the proteins and chemicals inside the vaccine making them feel like they have the flu. The reaction is what is causing them to feel badly, not the flu itself.
If I Breathe The Same Air As A Sick Person, I Will Get It Too
This is true. When a sick person coughs or sneezes in your direction, you can inhale the germs and get sick, however, this is not common. It is more likely that your friend, relative or co-worker has rubbed their noses or eyes, picked up something like a telephone and spread the germs, which can live on inanimate objects for several hours. You pick up that same phone and use it. You may rub your eyes or nose for whatever reason and the germs infect you.
A good idea to keep this from happening is to make sure you wash your hands often with hand sanitizer. It doesn’t matter if someone you are around shows the signs of having a cold or the flu or not. It is just a great preventative measure to keep yourself from getting sick.
Is It “Starve A Cold And Feed A Fever” Or Vice Versa
It doesn’t really matter. You should always make sure you are eating and drinking, whether you have a cold with or without a fever. Not drinking or eating enough can cause you to become dehydrated and either expose you to getting a cold or the flu, or making it worse if you already have either one.
If you have the virus, it is especially important to keep yourself hydrated since you lose fluids by sweating, runny nose and watery eyes. But don’t just drink any type of fluids. Anything with caffeine in it such as soda or coffee will dehydrate you as will alcohol. Instead, drink water, juice or some type of hot broth. These will rehydrate you and will also reduce congestion.
If You Drink Lots Of Things With Vitamin C Or Take Vitamin C Tablets, You Can Prevent Or Cure A Cold
While Vitamin C may shorten the time you have a cold, it will not prevent you from getting one. If you take between 1,000 – 2,000 mg of Vitamin C you may shorten the days you have a cold by two or three.
Take Antibiotics! They’ll Cure You!
Again, not true. Antibiotics are used to cure bacterial infections such as ear or upper respiratory infections. Colds and flu are caused by viruses that don’t respond to antibiotics. They will not help you in any way, shape or form, to cure you of a cold or the flu. In fact, taking antibiotics for colds or flus will not only not help you, it may make your body immune to them, thus, hurting you when, and if, you do develop an infection of some type.
There’s Nothing You Can Do Except Let It Run It’s Course
This is not true with colds. While there are several cough syrups, decongestants and pain relievers that will help you feel a little better, they will not make you well any faster than if you just ride it out.
When it comes to the flu, there are several prescription drugs your doctor may give you that can reduce the symptoms and length of time that you have the flu. However, these antiviral medications need to be started within the first two days of any symptoms, otherwise, they will not help like they should.
Chicken Soup Will Help
While there are no studies to back up the fact that chicken soup will help cure a cold, the soup does have anti-inflammatory ingredients that may fight cold and flu symptoms. It couldn’t hurt and since you need to stay hydrated, if it makes you feel better, by all means, eat up! Added bonus – the steam from the soup can help you destuff your nose.
The best thing you can possibly do when you have a cold or the flu is to get plenty of rest. Your body will need it in order to fight the virus. Also, if you have the flu, try to get to the doctor as soon as possible. This can make a difference in how long you have the flu since they can prescribe antiviral medications.