Myths about Common Colds and Flu

Myths about Common Colds and Flu

They are monsters and enemies of our existence during the cold months. The cold and it’s quasi-partner, the flu, love to reach their human hosts through water droplets sprayed from sneezing. These germs also spread through mucus that might be on someone’s hands if they did not wash them. Both the cold and the flu gives us coughs, stuffy noses and aches, but they are not exactly the same thing.

The flu (influenza virus) and the cold (different viruses) are both respiratory. However, they both are different in their severity. The cold causes many to miss work and the seasonal flu can be more life-threatening.

Here are 5 myths regarding the common cold:

You Can’t Get Sick From Cold Weather

People believe that you can get a cold or the flu by being in cold weather. Going outside in the cold weather makes the symptoms of the common cold worse and the flu worse. It’s not the frosty chill in the air—it’s the recycled air, germs and viruses in warm quarters that feed on their hosts. “Dryness compromises the nose’s ability to filter infections. On returning to the warm air, rebound vasodilation occurs, where your hands get pink and your nose starts running as blood returns to it,” Everyday Health found. When you go out dress warm, but don’t be afraid of the cold weather causing you to get sick.

Here is a video showing the differences between the flu and common cold.

Dairy Doesn’t Cause Phelem

Do you remember your parents telling you not to drink milk during a cold because it causes phlegm (the thick viscous substance secreted by the mucous membranes of the respiratory passages, especially when produced in excessive quantities during a cold.)? Mom and dad might be wrong. Drinking dairy makes mucus thicker and can irritate the throat, but it should not make the body produce more phlegm. Parenting.com explained that this is a myth. They suggested that cold sufferers drink or eat dairy products such as cream-based soups, ice cream, pudding or milk to help alleviate sore throats since it coats the throat.

The Symptoms Are Different

When you have the flu, you will experience more severe symptoms than the cold. This involves having the chills, a fever and dealing with fatigue. The common cold is more in line with congestion and a dry cough. Like the cold, people are highly contagious on the first day before symptoms hit. You will be able to tell the difference on the severity of the symptoms. The complications from the flu are sinus infections, ear infections, bronchitis and pneumonia. The cold offers less dramatic symptoms like a runny nose, a stuffy nose and a cough. Most likely, it won’t go into something more sinister like an infection.

The Cold Won’t Turn into the Flu

Unlike what you might have heard, your cold will not turn into the flu. The common cold and the flu are both respiratory illnesses and both are caused by different viruses. The flu is caused by the influenza virus and the cold is caused by various viruses. The reason that they trick us is that they share the same symptoms like a cough, a runny nose or body aches and pains. Again, the flu causes more severe symptoms than the cold, such as fever, body aches, extreme tiredness and joint pain. You either have a cold or you have the flu.

The flu vaccine contains a dead flu virus and it can’t give you the flu. People believe that the side effects of the flu vaccine are the flu, but this is because the side effects are different from receiving a bruise on the arm or having swelling around the injection site. The effects of the shot may elevate your temperature and give you aches. When we get the flu vaccine it corresponds with the time of year when respiratory illnesses are already in full swing and when the virus could be in the incubation phase. This is why we erroneously believe that the flu vaccine gave us the flu.

The common cold and the flu can be confusing because of the similarities. What is even more challenging is separating the facts from the fiction. Use due diligence when it comes to knowing what the truth is as there is a ton of information out there. If you are not sure, connect with a doctor for more information if you need clarification.

Adopted from Beliefnet

 

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