Top 5 Myths About Getting Sick

Written by Michael Wynands

If there’s one thing that spreads faster than a cold… it’s misconceptions about health. Welcome to WatchMojo’s Top 5 Myths. In today’s instalment we’re counting down the five myths about getting sick that gave us fever dreams.

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Written by Michael Wynands

Top 5 Myths About Getting Sick

If there’s one thing that spreads faster than a cold… it’s misconceptions about health. Welcome to WatchMojo’s Top 5 Myths. In today’s instalment we’re counting down the five myths about getting sick that gave us fever dreams

#5: If You Have a Fever, the Contagious Phase Has Passed

The old adage goes, that if you are showing symptoms - like a runny nose or fever - you aren't actually contagious anymore. This is patently false.
Sure - you are often carrying a bug before any symptoms manifest, and for the average cold, you’re also contagious during this time, spreading germs around before you’ve even realised you’ve caught something. But the contagious period doesn’t stop there, no matter what your parents or significant other might tell you in an attempt to get you to go to work or school. Your highest level of contagion is usually in the first couple of days of visible illness, when your runny nose and constant coughing are working together to maximize the transmission of the germs responsible. People are at their most infectious on the very first day they show symptoms, and continue to infect others over the next five days.

#4: The Flu Vaccine Causes The Flu

There’s no shortage of controversy surrounding vaccination these days. So let’s try to avoid World War III between vaxxers and anti-vaxxers, and simply discuss how flu shots work. You’ve probably heard flu shots explained like this: “They inject you with a mini dose of the flu, and then you get a mini flu, which is why you feel bad afterwards, and then you’re immune”. Here’s how it actually works: a flu shot does contain a specific flu strain, but the virus is totally inactive. The vaccine causes the body to develop the appropriate antibodies to fight off a variety of common flu strains. Any side effects experienced after getting a flu shot is the body’s immune system reacting to the introduction of a foreign substance to the body.

#3: "Starve A Fever, Feed a Cold"

Starvation is a great way to kill something. But when you starve a fever... you’re also starving your whole body, robbing it of crucial vitamins and nutrients. Whether you have a fever or a cold, science says you need drink lots of fluids and eat well - end of story. So what should you be eating? While there’s no cure for the common cold, chicken noodle soup holds the title of “most popular home remedy”. Like most home remedies, its benefits have long been dismissed as “comforting”, but a study by the Dr. Stephen Rennard at the University of Nebraska has discovered that, in fact, chicken soup does help alleviate cold symptoms more effectively than other meals, thanks to certain anti-inflammatory properties. Go grandma!

#2: You Can Kill A Cold With Vitamin C

Many people champion Vitamin C as the key to perfect health. But studies have repeatedly failed to find any conclusive evidence to support these claims. While one study did find that you have a slight chance of reducing the severity or duration of a cold if you hit your body with a heavy dose of vitamin c at the very first sign of a illness… the effects are marginal, and to get the timing right, you need to be hyper-aware of your body and symptoms. Getting your recommended daily dose of vitamin C is good for overall health and maintaining a strong immune system, but ultimately, there's no amount of vitamin c that can stop a cold dead in it's tracks or significantly alter its trajectory.

#1: Cold Weather Will Give You a Cold

People tend to get sick in winter, but the cold weather... is not to blame. In fact, cold weather is actually preferable, considering the average cold germ dies in sub-zero weather and generally thrives in warm temperatures. Furthermore, according to Dr. Rachel C. Vreeman "cells that fight infection in body actually increase if you go out into the cold”. Human behaviour is the real culprit, as we stay cooped up indoors, in close quarters with other people in winter, increasing germ transmission. What about damp hair, wet clothing, or sweat? Getting wet and “catching a cold” have always been linked in public opinion. But once again - no correlation. Being cold and wet is certainly unpleasant, but is ultimately unrelated to any illness short of hypothermia.

So how many of these myths did you believe? Here’s what google searchers are asking about getting sick: will i get sick if i eat mold? will smoking weed help a cold? Where is Pepto Bismol Sold?
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