Myths about Colds

  • Colds are caused by cold weather.
  • You can catch a cold by going outside with wet hair or damp clothes. No, but being wet can weaken your immune system, which makes it more likely that you can catch a cold.
  • The best cure is vitamin C. No, there’s no proof that vitamin C helps, but vitamins C and B-12 have fans among medical professionals, and they can’t hurt.
  • You should rush to the doctor at the first symptom for antibiotics. No, antibiotics can only kill bacteria in a bacterial infection; a cold is a viral infection for which there is no cure.
  • The flu is just a big cold — wait it out. No, the flu is a virus, as the cold is, but you should seek treatment right away as the flu has the potential to be life threatening.
  • Scientists are close to finding a cure for the common cold. No, it’s impractical to look for a cure when the viruses that cause colds are constantly changing.

Nancy Churnin from The Dallas Morning News.

Comments (7)

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  1. Liberty says:

    Is the first one really a myth?

  2. seyyed says:

    then why do more people get colds during cold weather!?

  3. August says:

    “Kissing and hugging people who have colds is not recommended.”

    What? Who knew?

  4. Studebaker says:

    It’s weird how our body has evolved to expel cold viruses by coughing and producing sinus mucus that dislodges viruses and washes them away. Yet, viruses evolved to perpetuate their existence by being expelled through coughs and nasal secretions that coat the hands and are passed on through hand-to-hand contact. This symbiotic existence seemingly serves no useful purpose for anything except the viruses (although evolutionary biologists may argue viruses cull the herd such that only the strong survive).

  5. Jordan says:

    She’s pushing it, the first one is just semantics. Cold’s are caused by virii which thrive in cold weather.. and cold weather makes us more suceptible. So technically a myth, but really? Really?..

  6. Andrew_M_Garland says:

    “Being wet can weaken your immune system, which makes it more likely that you can catch a cold.”

    So, it is a myth (I agree) that being cold causes a cold, but supposedly being wet “can” weaken your immune system (hah). I suppose eating popcorn “can” also weaken your immune system.

    – –
    First: “Antibiotics are useless for a cold, which is a viral infection for which there is no cure.”

    Then: “you should seek treatment right away for the flue (a virus), as it has the potential to be life threatening.”

    So, what exactly is the treatment for the early onset of the flue? Get the intravenous started in case it gets worse?

  7. bart says:

    Antibiotics would be useless against the flu, but there are antivirals (Tamiflu and Relenza).