Myth vs. Fact: Cold & Flu Edition

Cold weather and being under the weather go hand in hand. Here’s how
to gear up for germ warfare this season.

By Guisa Ahmed,
director of active rehabilitation, The Health Institute

Myth: Echinacea and high doses of Vitamin C can prevent colds and/or flu.

Fact: While there are there are count- less numbers of studies that show you can probably shave off a day from being sick with supplements like Echinacea and Vitamin C, unfortunately, there is no guaranteed preventative measure from catching the cold and/or flu. And there

is no conclusive study that shows any product on the market can prevent one from getting sick. The secret is making sure your immune system is as strong as it can be. That includes consistently having a healthy diet full of foods rich in vitamins and minerals, taking part in regular exercises and proper hygiene all year long.

Myth: Antibiotics can kill the germs that cause colds and/or flu.

Fact: Antibiotics are meant to kill bacteria, not viruses. That means no antibiotics will help a cold or flu because

they are caused by viruses. However,
if one develops complications due to a viral infection, for example bronchitis or pneumonia, then an antibiotic will be prescribed by your doctor.

Myth: You can catch the flu from getting a flu shot.

Fact: Many are opposed to getting the flu shot because of cold and flu like symptoms they may have experienced or heard others have gotten after getting the shot. However, it is impossible to catch the flu from the flu shot. The vaccines are made

from inactivated/dead viruses. This stimulates your immune system to recognize the virus and can result in a low grade fever and aches as common side effects.

Myth: Oranges are the best source of vitamin C.

Fact: Vitamin C may be automatically associated with oranges, however, there are a lot of other edible options that are a much better source. Oranges have about 60-80mg of Vitamin C per serving, whereas guava and bell peppers have over 200mg. Other good sources to consider are papaya, broccoli, kiwi, and cabbage.

Myth: Being cold or wet can make you catch a cold.

Fact: This myth will most likely never disappear because of the correlation be- tween the two. Temperature changes and/ or being wet will not give you a cold or flu. You can only become infected from a virus or bacteria entering your system. However, being cold or wet can contribute to a virus that is already dormant in your system to flare up. Many studies are suggesting that being cold constricts certain blood vessels that supply infection fighting cells. Most people are carrying around viruses and bacteria, but being cold and wet makes it more difficult to keep them under control