Answers to Cold and Flu Myths: Part 2

While the fall may see the beginning of cold and flu season, it lasts much longer than most people realize. Cold and flu season typically begins late fall and goes until April or May. Plenty of time to catch what’s going around.

As we stated in Part 1 of Cold and Flu Myths blog, the two illnesses are often lumped together, but there are important distinctions. And when it comes to prevention and treatment, there are plenty of misconceptions that go around.

People tend to mistakenly lump cold and flu together, but there are key differences. Not to mention, there are countless misconceptions about prevention and treatment. In part two of our cold and flu blog, Arkansas Otolaryngology Center continues our discussion of cold and flu myths by clearing up three more myths about cold and flu:

Won’t just taking extra vitamins help me against colds and flu? While vitamin C is good for your body, loading up on when you start feeling cold symptoms does not help like people have come to believe. Currently, there is no scientific proof vitamins help prevent a cold or flu.

The best course of action are the tried and true methods of good rest, good hydration, and good nutrition to help prevent and get over a cold.

Some research does support taking oral zinc tablets to shorten a cold, but not prevent it outright. Also, taking such supplements can lead to side effects including nausea and gastrointestinal issues, as well as interact with other medications. Make sure you speak with a doctor before taking supplements.

Doesn’t exercising while sick help "sweat out" the germs? Even though assertions say it's possible, the notion of exercising out cold or flu germs is just false. In fact, wearing yourself out exercising and exerting yourself while sick is simply not a good idea. Staying rested and well hydrated is what your body needs the most.

Deciding if you’re well enough to exercise depends on a few things. If you have a mild cold with upper respiratory symptoms, such as a runny nose, it’s likely OK to exercise, but you should still ease into it and stop if symptoms worsen.

If you have lower respiratory symptoms, including cough or chest congestion, or if you have a fever, don’t risk exercising for yourself and others. Not only will you spread germs to others, you can make your illness worse.

Will being out in the cold weather without a coat on give you the flu? Sure, colds and flu are more common in the winter months, but the cold temperatures don’t have anything to do with whether or not you get sick. You have to be exposed to some virus first. So, if you haven’t been in contact with someone who’s infected by a virus, going outside without proper clothes in freezing temperatures will just make you cold, but not give you the flu (but you will likely be uncomfortable).

During cold and flu season, always remember that prevention is the number one way to keep from contracting and spreading any illness. Getting your flu shot, no matter how early or late in the season, is important. If you have questions about the cold and flu, schedule an appointment with your doctor at Arkansas Otolaryngology Center. We have ENT doctors in Little Rock, North Little Rock, Benton, and at satellite clinics around the state!