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Top 10 cold and flu myths debunked!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Cartoon illustration of germs

If you’re conflicted about how to treat your cold or flu symptoms, you’re not alone. NCH Infection Prevention and Control experts pooled their top 10 cold and fluisms to help test your cold and flu I.Q. Some of these facts may surprise you. Read on…

If you’ve never had the flu, you don’t need a flu shot.

False.

Your body fights off the flu by generating antibodies. Getting the flu shot is the best way for your body to make antibodies without getting sick. And, who doesn’t need antibodies?

Feed a cold, starve a fever.

False.

When you are sick, it’s important to stay hydrated and provide your body with healthy food to keep your immune system strong. But hold the rich, heavy, spicy foods for now!

If you don’t cover your head, you’ll catch a cold.

False.

If you’ve been exposed to the cold virus, being warm or cold won’t make much of a difference. However, keeping your body warm does help to keep your immune system strong. So hug a friend and strengthen your immune system.

You are more likely to catch someone’s cold by playing cards with them than you are by kissing them.

True.

Colds are spread by coming into contact with someone’s respiratory secretions after they blow their nose. This is more likely to happen by touching something that someone with a cold has already touched! The number of viruses in a person’s mouth is significantly less than in someone’s nose. Isn’t that comforting?

The flu shot gave me the flu.

False.

Don’t blame it on the flu shot! Flu vaccines are made with either an inactive form of the flu virus or a weakened form of the flu virus – neither of which will give you the flu.

Humans can catch bird flu and swine flu.

True.

Although it is uncommon, humans can catch bird or swine flu. People typically get bird flu from coming into contact with birds or bird droppings, and can catch swine flu from coming into contact with infected pigs.

Antibiotics are not helpful for colds or flu.

True.

Most colds and the flu are spread by viruses. Antibiotics do not help destroy viruses, but chicken soup just might.

February is not too late for a flu shot.

True.

Flu season usually peaks in January or February; however, it can last through May. It’s never too late to be vaccinated. Unless you’ve just caught the flu!

The flu virus gets stronger as it runs through the members of the same household.

False.

Each person’s body fights the flu differently. Some people in a household may have a stronger immune system to fight flu faster than others.

If you have a fever, it’s the flu and not a cold.

False.

Sometimes you can run a mild fever when you have a cold. However, If your fever is high (100-102°F), it is more likely that you have the flu.

If you have cold or flu symptoms, contact your doctor, or visit one of the NCH Immediate Care Centers. For more information about colds and flu, visit the NCH Health Library.

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