Don’t Spread Germs (or Misconceptions): 4 Debunked Myths About the Common Cold

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There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to the common cold. Many people will do things or avoid certain activities in order to prevent themselves from becoming ill or feeling worse. Here are some of myths that you may have heard about the common cold.

Antibiotics Help Your Cold

The common cold is caused by a virus. In the majority of cases, the virus is the rhinovirus. Antibiotics have no effect whatsoever on viruses because they are designed to destroy bacterial cells. This means that taking antibiotics won’t shorten or cure your cold. In fact, you may be contributing to the rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria by insisting on the use of unnecessary antibiotics. Investing in cold treatments will serve you better than taking a drug that will give you no benefit. Many over-the-counter drugs can provide relief from your symptoms.

The Cold Can Become the Flu

While the common cold and the flu may start out with some of the same types of symptoms, they are in fact two different viruses. The speed of your onset of symptoms will likely be different with each virus. This means that the common cold will not become the flu. One of the biggest distinguishing factors between the two viruses initially tends to be the presence of a fever. The common cold rarely results in your experiencing a fever, while the flu almost always presents with this symptom.

Avoid Dairy While Congested

You may have heard that you should avoid dairy products while you’re suffering from a cold. This myth has been propagated over the years, but has no grounds for justification. In fact, consuming dairy may help to alleviate some of the sore throat symptoms that you may be experiencing with your cold. Staying hydrated is important to aid in your recovery process. Drinking milk could help to soothe your sore throat and help to thin out your mucus membranes.

Winter Weather Caused Your Cold

The colder weather isn’t the cause of your becoming sick. There tends to be more sickness during the winter months because the viruses that cause the common cold are more active during this time of year. Another factor is that you’re more likely to be inside with less fresh air because it’s colder outside. Stagnate air and the closer proximity of others is the reason that you’re more likely to get sick during the colder weather.

There are lots of myths about the common cold. Use your common sense to sort out the facts from the fiction. Consider the ways that these myths are contributing to the rise of misconceptions.