Last updated on January 26, 2018
Many will agree that cold and flu myths are everywhere and can often be as hard to contain as the virus itself. While family folklore is one common source of cold and flu myths, most misconceptions about colds and flus simply materialize from observations and interpretations.
The sick – and those wanting to avoid getting sick – are given advice that range from eating chicken soup to loading up on vitamin C, to relying on essential oils and avoiding drafty windows. However, the fact remains that the underlying reason people catch a cold or flu has nothing to do with what you ingest, nor is not based merely on germs, but on personal well-being.
Common cold and flu myths are everywhere, but here are a few that you may have wondered yourself:
#1. If you get a cold or flu once, you won’t get it again during that same season
It’s a common misconception – likely laced with a little hope – that if you’ve had a cold or flu once, you are somehow immune and spared a second round during the same season. Unfortunately, this is a myth. During flu season there is generally Type A and Type B influenza in circulation. This means you can become infected (again) with the flu from a different strain of virus.
#2. I can get a cold from wet hair
This is an old passed-down myth and one that has several variations including you can catch a cold from going outside without a coat to you can get sick from sitting near a drafty window. The only way a person can catch a cold or flu is by being exposed to the virus. Since cold and flu season happen during the cold months, many people associate the cold weather with catching a cold and being sick.
#3. Chicken soup cures a cold
When your body is sick it requires more fluids and eating soup is one way to get that extra fluid. However, eating chicken soup for the soul purpose of speeding your recovery will not produce the results you’re hoping for. While hot liquids are certainly soothing to a sick person on a cold day, chicken soup does not contain any specific qualities known to fight a flu.
#4. I can give my cold to my dog
Diseases and viruses that pass from humans to dogs are very rare. The main structures of your body – the human body – are very different than that of a canine. The cold germs and flu virus that can live in your body cannot live in the body of your dog. The virus that affects humans is not the same virus that affects dogs, therefore, it is not possible for you to give your cold to your dog. Nor is it possible for your dog to pass their cold along to you – yes, dogs get colds too!
#5. Oil of oregano helps colds and flus
Homeopaths are some of the first to argue that oil of oregano is effective in fighting illnesses, including colds and flues. As a chosen natural homeopathic remedy for many, there is no research to show that taking oil of oregano proves effective in aiding with a cold or flu virus. While there is some evidence to show that oil of oregano will kill some species of bacteria (in a petri dish), research remains preliminary and inconclusive.
#6. Loading up on vitamin C helps fight a cold
It’s a popular belief that consuming large doses of vitamin C – whether in supplement form, by drinking orange juice or by eating vitamin C rich foods – will help with a cold or flu. This popular remedy is a myth. Research shows that consuming vitamin C will not reduce your risk of getting sick. Taking vitamin C after you’ve caught a cold or the flu is not helpful in speeding up your recovery, however, research does show some evidence that people who regularly consume the proper levels of vitamin C throughout the year tend to have slightly shorter sick times with milder symptoms.