Let’s set the record straight on these common cold and flu myths

December 20, 2016


With cold season in full swing, you are probably hearing a lot of advice about how to avoid getting sick, or how to reduce the length of an illness. The problem is that much of that unsolicited advice is nothing but cold and flu myths! Keep reading, and you will be able to set the record straight next time you hear one of these five cold or flu myths!

  1. A cold can turn into the flu. The fact is that the viruses that cause colds and the flu are totally different. While the two illnesses can bring similar symptoms, the flu tends to cause more serious symptoms, as well as body aches. Plus, the common cold rarely hospitalizes people due to complications, while the flu sends upwards of 200,000 people to the hospital every year.

  2. Going out in the cold with wet hair will make you get sick. We are not sure where this myth came from, but going outside with damp hair has nothing to do with whether you acquire a cold or the flu.

  3. The flu vaccine can give you the flu. While some people experience fevers, aches, and soreness at the injection site, the flu vaccine does not cause people to develop the flu. Click here to find clinics and pharmacies near you that offer the flu shot.

  4. Don’t drink milk if you are sick. Millions of moms across the country keep their kids from consuming dairy products during illness because they believe it will cause an increase in mucous production. The only instance when this might be true is if the ill person has an existing problem with dairy, such as lactose intolerance. Otherwise, there is no real reason to avoid dairy products during a cold or the flu.

  5. Cover your mouth when you cough. It’s not a good idea to cover up coughs with your hands, because active, contagious germs can easily be spread from your hands for quite some time. Instead, cough into the crook of your arm or inside your shirt to prevent your germs from spreading around you.

Cold and flu myths abound, but using a little common sense can go a long way toward preventing and shortening illnesses. To avoid getting sick in the first place, remember to get plenty of rest, eat nutritious foods, exercise daily, and wash your hands several times throughout the day. Plus, getting a flu shot can help you avoid a week of achy, sleepy misery.


What other cold or flu myths have you heard over the years? Come by the pharmacy with your cold and flu myth, and our pharmacist will be happy to help you determine whether it’s fact or fiction!


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