Facts from Fiction: Those Cold and Flu Myths Debunked
From chicken soup to starving a fever, everyone has a favourite remedy for curing the cold and flu. But how do you separate the old wives’ tales from the reality? Here are 5 myths debunked and facts confirmed.
- Feed a cold and starve a fever: the ultimate old wives’ tale, this is just plain old bunkum. When you have the flu, you are likely to lose your appetite naturally because the virus will make you feel nauseous. So long as you maintain your fluid levels and don’t become dehydrated, you can eat as much or as little as you like while you’re stricken with the cold or flu.
- Wash your hands to stop viruses spreading: this is a certifiable fact. Viruses are easily spread and you can pick one up simply by touching a door handle or any other object that’s been touched by someone with a cold or flu virus. Wash your hands thoroughly and make sure you don’t rub your eyes, nose or mouth, as this is the quickest way to transmit the infection.
- Antibiotics will clear the cold or flu: Antibiotics will have zero effect on the cold or flu virus and the only time your doctor will prescribe them for you is if there is a secondary bacterial infection. So pass the tissues, not the penicillin.
- The flu vaccine will give you the flu: There is no truth in this at all. If you get the flu vaccine and then go down with the virus, it’s purely coincidental. The more likely explanation is that you’re suffering from some of the well-known side effects of the vaccine, which include fever, pain and swelling – all of which subside quickly.
- Chicken soup is good for more than the soul: Possibly the best home remedy of all, chicken soup is actually scientifically proven to help when you are sick with the cold or flu. The soup acts as an anti-inflammatory and keeps mucus moving so the virus can’t rest.