7 common cold and flu myths you probably still believe

As cold and flu season approaches, there’s a good chance, you, a family member or a work colleague is going to come down with the dreaded winter lurgy. Avoiding a cold and flu altogether and making a speedy recovery if you do get it can be hampered by common myths and stories that are told as truths. Let’s set the record straight in today’s post.

Myth 1: You can get the flu from the vaccine

This old chestnut rears up every year around this time. However, the flu vaccine is composed of an inactivated virus, which means you can’t be infected by it. Each year the vaccine is designed to tackle the most prevalent strain or strains of the flu, meaning there is still the chance you could end up suffering from another strain.

Note: it takes one or two weeks for the vaccine to kick in, so plan in advance and don’t leave it too late.

Myth 2: You can get a cold from being cold

This myth stems from people getting more colds in cooler weather. However, this isn’t due to the change in temperature; it’s that people are spending more time inside, closer together. This closeness means more contact, so the cold virus gets quickly passed on from person to person.

Myth 3: Chicken soup is the remedy

While hot fluids like a warming chicken broth will help with hydration and perhaps soothe you if you’re sick, chicken soup isn’t a magical cure-all.

Myth 4: Dairy isn’t good when you’ve got a cold

The myth goes a little something like this: you should avoid dairy if you’re sick because it will make the body produce more phlegm. However, this isn’t true. In fact, dairy products like custard, ice cream and creamy soups are often recommended if you do have a cold as they are easy to eat when you’re feeling miserable or have a sore throat.

Myth 5: Antibiotics will cure the flu

Both colds and the flu are viruses, so while antibiotics are beneficial if you have a bacterial infection, they won’t be any use to you in curing your viral infection. If you are unlucky enough to have your cold or flu progress to something like bacterial pneumonia, your doctor is more like to prescribe antibiotics. Talk to your medical professional if you’re in doubt.

Myth 6: Your nasty cold can morph into the flu

A common cold and the flu are two different viruses, so a cold can’t turn into the flu. Both illnesses can have very similar symptoms though, so it can be a challenge to asses which you have. Visit your doctor if you’re unsure and concerned.

Myth 7: You don’t need to get a flu shot every year

As we mentioned in an earlier myth, the annual flu shot is developed to tackle the season’s most popular flu strains. This means last year’s flu shot can be different from this year’s. You will want to make sure you get your vaccination every year to protect yourself against the latest flu viruses.

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