Dispelling common myths about the cold

By Ryn Gargulinski: QCS

Making a funny face won’t freeze it that way, canker sores don’t mean one’s a liar and going outside without a jacket does not insure one will come home with a cold.

These are just some of the myths found online at ezinearticles.com and local10.com/health that dispel fiction for fact, the latter also advising on a flurry of mistruths surrounding the common cold.

Chicken soup won’t cure it, drinking milk won’t make more mucus and going outside with wet hair is not an open invitation for a cold to attack.

Cold viruses are actually misnamed, according to the site, as they are not most prevalent in the cold depths of winter, but in the spring and fall.

Nor does the virus thrive in abrupt drops in temperature or rain.

“Changes in weather and dampness may affect someone’s arthritis but will not cause a cold,” advises another site, healthcaresouth.com.

Regardless of the myths surrounding the common cold, it’s a fact colds are caused by a virus and passed along from human contact with another who suffers from its misery, said healthcaresouth.com.

Although a cold cannot be 100 percent prevented, people can arm themselves against its wrath with proper nutrition, drinking plenty of water and common sense.

Frequent hand washing, the local10 site says, also helps.
“Colds are most commonly spread by hand-to-hand contact, so be sure to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, especially if you come in contact with common areas such as doorknobs, telephones, public restrooms and automated teller machines where other hands have been,” the site said.

Clinical Nutritionist Karen Prior added a healthy diet, especially for kids, is a must to maintain a healthy immune system and therefore guard against the cold and other viruses.

“Simply watching children’s consumption of sugar can make a big difference in their health,” Prior said. “Having too much sugar in the bloodstream causes white blood cells move slower in fighting infection.”

She suggested planning healthy meals and snacks, similar to those recommended in Quay County extension club’s ongoing Back to the Table campaign. Some of these suggestions include munching on fruit instead of cookies and drinking water rather than soda.

Prior added, “Eating healthier will boost your immune system and allow your body to heal faster when it does fall ill.”

Perhaps the most disturbing fact surrounding the cold is there is no quick fix.

“People are always looking for the magic cure for a cold but, unfortunately, there is none,” said Healthcare South. “Cold medications can relieve certain symptoms — aches, congestion, coughs — but do not cure or even shorten a cold. Vitamin C does not help with a cold. Zinc and echinacea have been disappointing in treating colds with conflicting study results.”

Experts agree the best way to fight the cold is to let it play its course while drinking plenty of fluids and taking plenty of time to rest.

Healthcare South added, “Stress and sleep deprivation can depress the immune system, making people more vulnerable to illness and prolong recovery.”

The cold facts

Myth: One is more likely to catch a cold in the winter.
Fact: The “common cold” has nothing to do with cold weather. Cold viruses are actually more active in the spring and fall.
Myth: One is more likely to catch a cold from someone who sneezes than by holding or shaking someone’s hand.
Fact: Colds are most commonly spread by hand-to-hand contact.
Myth: A bowl of chicken soup will cure the common cold.
Fact: Although it cannot cure it, chicken soup certainly does help cold sufferers. The soup provides nutrition, while electrolytes in the broth help keep one hydrated. It can also help soothe an irritated throat.
Myth: Drinking milk causes more mucus build up.
Fact: Milk cannot be converted into mucus.
Myth: Antibiotics can treat a bad cold.
Fact: Antibiotics can only treat bacterial infections and are not effective against viruses that cause the cold and flu.
Myth: One should feed a cold and starve a fever.
Fact: No one knows exactly where this old saying originated, but there is no scientific evidence that eating will help ease cold symptoms, or avoiding food will reduce a fever.

Source: www.local10.com/health