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Debunking Myths About the Common Cold

by Health News

It’s that time of year again…It’s cold outside and everywhere you turn it seems there’s someone coughing, sneezing or sniffling. While it’s nearly impossible to find precise numbers, it is estimated that up to a billion people come down with what’s known as “the common cold” each year. With numbers like that, is it possible to protect yourself? Perhaps. But how much do you really know about the common cold? Here are some common myths (and facts) about colds that might surprise you:

MYTH: Being cold increases your chances of getting a cold.
FACT: While bundling up and piling on the blankets might make you more comfortable, these measures have little to no impact on whether you catch a cold. So why do more people get sick during the winter months? Experts believe it’s because the colder weather keeps people indoors and increases the chances of spreading the virus between people.

MYTH: Feed a cold, starve a fever
FACT: Being sick with a cold may reduce your appetite, but if you eat less, it won’t make much difference in the course of the illness. If you’re not hungry, there’s no reason to force-feed yourself. Maintaining a healthy diet while you’re sick might help you feel more energetic, however.

MYTH: Airplane air make you sick
FACT: While half of the air pumped into an airplane cabin is dry, fresh air, it CAN negatively impact your mucous system, which is responsible for keeping cold germs at bay. However, the other half of the air is recirculated through a filter that removes airborne germs and dust particles. If you get sick after a flight, it’s more likely due to exposure to large numbers of people during your travels.

MYTH: You should avoid milk when you have a cold because it makes you more “mucous-y.
FACT: There's no evidence that milk causes your body to produce more phlegm than it normally does when you're sick. However, for some people, drinking milk can make phlegm thicker and irritate the throat more. If that’s what happens to you, stick with water. 

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