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Know Your Facts: Myth Buster

Like many aspects of our lives there are endless myths surrounding colds and flu. From old wives’ tales to plain old misinformation, we’ve put together a myth busting guide to make sure you have your facts straight when it comes to nasty winter bugs.

Myth 1: “Flu is just a bad cold”

Although some of the symptoms can be similar, Cold and Flu come from different viruses. In general, the flu can be much more serious, and can lead to people becoming hospitalised. It can be particularly dangerous for those classified as high-risk, such as the elderly, pregnant women or those suffering from serious illness.

Cold and Flu are contracted from an entirely different virus. While you can get a common cold all year round, flu viruses tend only to be contracted during the winter months. A cold does not lead to the flu, however complications from the flu virus can lead to pneumonia.

Myth 2: “You can catch a cold from wet hair”

You can only catch the flu from exposure to the flu virus. Going out without a coat, sitting in a draft or going out with wet hair do not increase your chances of exposure to the virus. However, being exposed to cold conditions can exacerbate symptoms if you are exposed to the virus.

Myth 3: “The Flu Jab can make you ill”

The Flu Jab contains only deactivated strains of the virus, that do not pose any threat to the body. Your arm may feel a bit sore where you were injected, and some people get a slight temperature and aching muscles for a couple of days afterwards, but other reactions are very rare. However, the Vaccine takes two weeks to work, meaning that there is still a chance of getting ill in the interim period.

Myth 4: “If you get flu once during a season, you are immune.”

Unfortunately each year the flu comes from more than one virus. So just because your body has built up an immunity to one virus, it doesn’t mean you have any less chance of catching another.

Myth 5: “Feed a cold, starve a fever.”

When your body is hit by any virus cold or feverish flu, the most important thing is to ensure you are getting enough fluids to fight it. That means water, and lots of it. There is little scientific indication that increasing or decreasing your food intake will make any difference.In fact, when your body is fighting illness, you need as much nutrition as you can get.