Colds: truth and myths

Health Tips

Autumn is the season of colds. A runny nose, cough, fever, chills… all this disrupts our usual way of life, and at the first symptoms of a cold, we are ready to do anything, just not to get sick. However, not all recipes work. Goodshapetips talks about the most common myths and facts about the common cold.

Are you sure that during a cold you need to take more vitamin C, and then you will recover faster? Or maybe you think that you can get infected while kissing a sick person, and that during a cold a person loses weight?

Numerous studies conducted by modern scientists around the world show that most of the statements about the common cold, passed down from generation to generation, are erroneous.

Let’s figure out what is true and what is fiction.

Read more: Colds: truth and myths

Cold, flu

Cold, flu



Course of the disease

Cold treatment

Colds: Prevention


Statement 1: we are powerless before a cold

It is a myth!

The most common causative agents colds there are rhinoviruses that spread through the air with dust and liquid droplets. When we breathe in contaminated particles, we get sick.

However, do not think that our body is defenseless against infection. In most cases, our defenses cope with viruses on their own, stop the disease at an early stage, without bringing things to clinical manifestations.

A medical school in Wisconsin conducted an experiment in which 16 couples took part. One of the partners had a cold.

A healthy and a sick person kissed for 1 minute. As a result, out of 16 healthy people, only one fell ill after the kiss.

Claim 2: Cold causes colds

It is a myth!

Many are sure that with the onset of severe frosts, it is easier to catch a cold. In fact, negative temperatures, on the contrary, can stop the most severe epidemic and protect against infection if you dress appropriately for the season.

Dry frosty air has a detrimental effect on many viruses, destroying them in the environment.

The most favorable climate for viruses is cool and humid autumn or winter thaws. In such weather, pathogenic particles multiply easily and remain viable for a long time. And we run the risk of getting our feet wet and getting cold, weakening body’s defenses.

Statement 3: Use antibacterial soap to protect against colds

It is a myth!

Such soap kills bacteria, depriving them of the opportunity to build their own protective cell membrane. But the causative agents of the common cold are more often viruses than bacteria.

viruses, Unlike bacteria, they have a different composition of the shell. Therefore, antibacterial soap has the same effectiveness as regular soap: the soap solution simply washes away pathogenic particles from the hands.

But products containing alcohol can completely destroy viruses, experts from Virginia found out in early 2010.

To reduce the risk of catching a cold, modern doctors advise washing hands with alcohol-based products.

Claim 4: Chicken broth protects against colds

This is true!

Our grandmothers also said: in order not to get sick, you need to drink chicken broth! Strange, but until recently, scientists did not attach much importance to this prophylactic. Luckily, pulmonologist Stefan Rennard decided to find out if this was true or not.

The professor conducted a study and proved that the use of chicken broth affects the mobility of neutrophils, leukocytes that protect the body from infections and activate the immune system.

Statement 5: the cause of the disease is hypothermia

It is a myth!

The British conducted an experiment and proved that being in a draft and in the cold in wet clothes or with wet hair cannot be the cause of the development of a cold.

Two groups of people took part in the study. Some were in damp clothes and with wet hair in a warm room, others were in a draft. The result was 50/50 sickness in both groups.

Colds are caused by viruses, and drafts or cold are an additional factor that weakens the body’s defenses. Immunity may be reduced, which will serve as a prerequisite for vulnerability to disease in the future.

Course of the disease

Colds: treatment


Claim 6: Vitamin C strengthens the immune system

It is a myth!

Previously, doctors believed that vitamin C increased the number of white blood cells that kill viruses. None of the current studies have confirmed this.

In 30 clinical studies involving more than 10,000 people, it has been proven that daily intake of vitamin C does not prevent the common cold!

Vitamin C helps loosen a little cold symptoms, strengthens the vascular wall, reduces the manifestations of inflammation, but does not affect the immune system.

Only a few studies have confirmed the preventive effect of taking this vitamin for people who experience heavy physical exertion (soldiers, skiers, marathon runners).

Statement 7: The best cold remedy is onion

This is true!

Until now, many people practice this method of preventing colds: cut the onion in half and leave it in the room. The room quickly fills with a specific smell, which protects us from bacteria and viruses.

Foreign scientists have not yet tested how effective this remedy is, but as practice shows, it really works.

Onions left in the bedroom at night can stop the development of a cold at the very beginning, at the first sign of illness. So do not forget about this simple and affordable prophylactic.

Claim 8: honey cures a runny nose

This is true!

Surprisingly, honey is indeed very effective in treating a runny nose. According to the findings of physicians, honey is much more effective than many drugs for the common cold.

Honey contains substances that not only relieve the symptoms of a cold, but also treat. This is especially true for the common cold. The reaction of 11 strains of microorganisms to honey was studied. It turned out that upon contact with it, almost all bacteria and viruses die, even those that are resistant to antibiotics.

Colds: the course of the disease


Statement 9: the higher the temperature, the more dangerous the disease

It is a myth!

The severity of cold symptoms does not always reflect the severity of the condition. In other words: to think that the stronger the disease, the stronger the symptoms of a cold is wrong.

In fact, another statement is true: the sharper the immune system reacts to viruses, the more pronounced are the symptoms of a cold, including fever.

Acute symptoms of a cold are a sign of a strong immune system, and when the body’s defenses are weakened, the disease can proceed for a long time, without pronounced symptoms, turning into a chronic form.

Statement 10: Drinking alcohol increases the risk of getting sick

It is a myth!

Scientists from Salisbury (England) found that those who allow themselves to drink 1-2 servings a day alcoholic drink are less likely to get colds than teetotalers.

Why this happens, it was not possible to find out. “Perhaps people who drink alcohol are less susceptible to some viruses”scientists have suggested.

Alcohol somehow limits the replication of viruses. However, doctors do not advise preventing the disease with the help of alcohol, as this will negatively affect the health of the liver.

In addition, alcohol is not compatible with cold medicine, and some drugs, such as paracetamol, turn into poison.

Statement 11: A cold can be asymptomatic at first

This is true!

Medical statistics show that 20-30% of people with colds are carriers of viruses, while they do not show symptoms of a cold.

A person is most contagious during the incubation period. This period lasts for a cold, usually 2-3 days and may be asymptomatic.

These people are the source of the disease for their friends and relatives. Therefore, even shaking hands with such a person, you risk catching a cold.

Statement 12: When you have a cold, you need to forget about sports

It is a myth!

This is one of the most common myths. Even at school, we received a certificate of exemption from physical education classes after an illness. But modern research shows that you should not forget about sports during a cold.

Physical activity will help your immune system fight viruses. The only contraindication is high temperature. In such a situation, you need to wait until the temperature returns to normal.

So if you usually lead an active lifestyle and feel the strength to do it even during illness, do not deny yourself.

Statement 13: during a cold, a person loses weight

It is a myth!

Runny nose, cough, high temperature… All this provokes weight loss? By no means! This theory is not just wrong. The fact is that in some cases, cold people begin to rapidly gain weight. Why?

There are at least 5 families of viruses that cause the common cold, among them adenoviruses. Scientists were shocked to discover recently that certain adenoviruses cause not only stuffy noses, but also obesity.

In 20% of cases, three types of adenoviruses provoke the deposition of fat. As a result, infected people during a cold gain weight faster than healthy ones.

Weight loss during a cold can only be caused by the patient’s refusal to eat.



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