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Cold and Flu Myths Debunked

By ADITI NERUKAR, MD,  Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Staff

1. Cold weather does not cause a cold.

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"People tend to get more colds in the winter time because they're indoors more often and in closer proximity to other people," says Dr. Aditi Nerurkar, the Medical Director of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center's Cheng-Tsui Integrated Health Center. "The viruses are present all year round, but infections tend to increase because we're in closer contact."

2. The "Put on a hat or you'll catch a cold!" old wives tale is not the case.

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"How many times have you heard someone yell - put on your hat or you'll catch a cold!! "There is actually no basis for the common misconception that having wet hair or going outside without a hat or jacket makes it more likely that you'll get sick," says Nerurkar. The way you get a cold or flu is by coming in contact with the cold or flu virus. So without a jacket, you might be cold, but you're no more likely to catch a cold.

3. Vitamin C will not prevent you from getting sick

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3. One of the very persistent wives' tales suggests that megadoses of vitamin C will prevent you from getting sick. But, sadly it's not true. "I recommend eating a nutritious and balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables," says Nerurkar. "That and getting a healthy amount of sleep, staying hydrated and minimizing stress will give your immune system the best chance of fighting off a cold."

Hand Sanitizer vs. Hand Washing

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A lot of people think that hand sanitizers are the best way to prevent colds and flu. "It's absolutely true that hand hygiene is important. But, hand washing with good, old-fashioned soap and water works just as well as hand sanitizers to prevent infection," says Nerurkar.

5. Anitbiotics

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6.Energy drinks and Juices

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Energy drinks and juices will not help you heal faster! "It's important to think about hydration, especially if you have a fever, but I recommend water, since many of the energy drinks have lots of sugar, salt and sometimes stimulants, which can cause more harm than good when ingested in large quantities," says Nerurkar.

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.

Posted January 2016

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