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7 Common Myths about Cold and Flu Season

You’ll be surprised to learn that most common knowledge about colds and flus is flat out wrong. Learn about these myths, and you’ll be better able to take the right course of action in the face of the flu and cold.

Morphing Colds

MYTH: A cold can turn into the flu.

FACT: A cold is a different respiratory virus than the flu and cannot turn into the flu. The reason this myth persists is because flu and cold systems are so similar, you might think you have a cold, only to realize later that the illness is more serious and probably the flu.

Colds are usually milder than flus and are more likely to cause a runny and stuffy nose. The flu virus can cause mild or severe complications such as sinus and ear infections and pneumonia. If a flu bug is dragging you down or you’re developing troubling symptoms, stop by any of our locations for quick treatment and peace of mind.

Preventing the Flu or Causing the Flu

MYTH: You can get the flu from a flu shot.

FACT: The flu shot is made from an inactive virus that cannot make you sick. You might feel a few minor side effects after the shot, such as soreness, a headache and a low-grade fever. These side effects can be caused by any shot and are not the flu. The side-effects are also much milder than getting sick with the flu. If you get the flu after getting the flu shot, you contracted the flu before the shot became effective. It takes about two weeks for a flu shot to become effective, so it’s best to get the flu shot before peak flu season.

Catch This

Sick, tea, tissues. Photo by Ryan Hyde on Flickr.

Photo by Ryan Hyde on Flickr.

MYTH: You catch a cold and the flu in different ways.

FACT:  You can catch a cold and the flu the same way. Both cold and flu viruses enter your body through the mucous membranes of the nose, eyes, or mouth. Even worse, “People with flu can spread it to others up to 6 feet away,” and the common cold can also spread through the air. Washing your hands frequently can help protect you from getting sick, but the best protection from the flu is the flu vaccine.

Close Quarters

FACT OR MYTH? Flying on an airplane will increase your risk of catching a cold or the flu.

FACT: The airplane itself doesn’t increase your risk of catching a cold or flu. Anywhere with large crowds can increase your risk of catching a cold or the flu because there is a higher chance of coming into contact with someone who is sick.

You risk catching a cold or flu whenever you are around someone with the virus, which often is a family member, coworker or roommate. Wash your hands regularly, get the flu shot and, if something seems amiss, come see us!

Chicken Noodle Soup for the Cold

Chicen Noodle Soup. Photo by jeffreyw on flickr.

Photo by jeffreyw on flickr.

MYTH: Can a bowl of chicken soup help cure a cold? And will going outside with wet hair make you sick?

FACT: Chicken soup is comforting on sore throats and body aches and it might actually help heal. Some research suggests chicken soup could relieve inflammation. Check out this great chicken soup recipe to sooth your soul and symptoms. As for getting sick because you went outside with wet hair, that’s just another old wives’ tale about the common cold.

Tummy Bugs

MYTH: The stomach flu is the flu.

FACT: There is actually no such thing as the “stomach flu.” The flu virus “is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses.” In other words, a flu virus has nothing to do with your tummy.

So what is “the stomach flu?” An illness that involves nausea, vomiting and diarrhea is likely gastroenteritis caused by one of many different viruses, bacteria or even parasites. An illness that causes your body to purge liquids can be dangerous if you become dehydrated. Visit us right away if you become dehydrated (excessive thirst, dry mouth, low amounts of urine that is more yellow than normal and dizziness are all signs of dehydration), are vomiting blood or have had any other severe symptoms. We’ll see you quickly and we’re open 24-7.

Cold Weather and the Cold

Snowflake. Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash.

MYTH: Cold or bad weather can give you a cold.

FACT: It’s no wonder people think they are getting sick from the weather–every year it seems like more people are sick when the weather gets cold.

The fact is though, weather cannot give you a cold. Colds are contracted through viruses, and people spread colds and flus year-round.

During the winter, you might come into closer contact with more people in confined spaces as people tend to stay inside. So it’s possible you’ll come into direct contact with more sick people during the winter than during the summer. And, researchers from Yale University found that lower temperatures weaken the nose’s first line of immune defenses, which can lead to a greater susceptibility for infection.

If you just can’t kick the cold or flu, or if you’re unsure if that sniffle is the cold or the flu, head over to America’s ER. America’s ER – Magnolia & Woodlands is open 24/7/365 and sees walk-in patients with little to no wait. Come see us off 2978 next to Target!