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Five myths about the common cold
While virtually everyone has had
one, myths about how you catch
and deal with a cold persist. Here
are five of the most common ones:
Cold weather causes colds
Colds are caused by viruses, not
cold temperatures. Colds may
seemmore frequent in the fall and
winter, but experts say that this
is mostly because cold weather
drives us inside where we’re in
close proximity, and it’s also when children return to school.
While wrapping up for warmth may not protect you from a
cold, avoiding close contact with those who are infected is a
good idea.
You can catch a cold if you go outside with wet hair
Forgetting to dry your hair before you step outside may
make you feel the chill, but a wet head will not increase
your chances of catching a cold. Again, colds are caused by
viruses, so regular hand-washing and avoiding touching
your face are the best ways to prevent colds.
Antibiotics can treat a cold
There is no cure for the common cold, which is caused by
many viruses. These viruses are relatively harmless and colds
generally go away on their own, but you can get some relief
from cold symptoms by drinking plenty of fluids, resting
and gargling with warm salt water. Cold symptoms typically
appear within three days of the virus entering your body,
and they last for about a week.
Loading up on vitamin C can help stave off a cold
There is no evidence to support the claim that vitamin
C supplements shorten colds. They can be good for you,
but they don’t affect cold viruses. In fact, too much of the
supplement can cause diarrhea or stomach cramps. The
herbal remedy Echinacea has also not been proven to fight
You should avoid milk and other dairy products when
you have a cold
Dairy products do not cause a buildup of mucous or
aggravate your cold as many people believe. Staying well-
hydrated can relieve your cold symptoms and drinking milk
will not have a negative effect on your cold. In fact, what
you may want to avoid is citrus juices if you have a cough,
because the acids in the citrus can make your symptoms
Does The Flu Shot Curb
Heart Disease?
In two separate studies presented at
the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress,
researchers say that the influenza vac-
cine may reduce the risk of heart-related
disease and death by as much as 50%. This
supports current recommendations that
individuals at high risk for flu-related com-
plications, including people with heart disease, get vaccinated.
In one of the studies, lead study author Dr. Jacob Udell – a
cardiologist at Women’s College Hospital and the University of
Toronto – and his research team reviewed four studies involv-
ing flu vaccines and heart health. The studies included 3,227
participants, half of whom had confirmed heart disease. Half of
the participants received the influenza vaccine and half were
inoculated with a placebo. After one year, those who received
the flu vaccine had a 50% reduced risk of suffering major
cardiac events (such as heart attack and stroke) and a 40%
reduced risk of heart-related death.