With the autumn and winter months being the time when people are more likely to catch the common cold, many fall back on folklore and home remedies in an effort to avoid or combat the cold virus. Which of these can be relied on and which Old Wives’ Tales have been proved, scientifically, to be incorrect?
Vitamin C Combats a Cold, Truth or Myth?
Myth. Despite repeated assertions that vitamin C can help combat colds and flu by increasing white blood cells, the conclusion of clinical studies is that vitamin C does not prevent colds however regular doses of vitamin C may slightly reduce the duration of the symptoms. Although studies performed on military personnel and athletes showed that their risk of catching a cold could be reduced by fifty per cent by taking vitamin C, these same results have not been duplicated in studies using the general public.
Chicken Soup Cures Colds, Truth or Myth?
Truth. For hundreds of years people have believed that chicken soup can cure the common cold and experiments at the University of Nebraska Medical Centre seem to prove this. Chicken soup contains several ingredients that act as an anti-inflammatory which may help reduce cold symptoms.
People with Big Noses are Less Likely to Catch a Cold, Truth or Myth?
Truth. Scientists have discovered that those with larger noses inhale almost seven percent less pollutants than those with smaller noses. A big nose, believe it or not, also acts as a barrier to deflect germs away from the mouth!
Drink Plenty Fluids to Combat a Cold, Truth or Myth?
Myth. Although hot drinks, juice, water and broth can help loosen congestion and prevent dehydration, they aren’t likely to help combat a cold. Even so it is recommended that you drink plenty liquids when you have a cold, to help prevent dehydration.
You can Catch a Cold from Being in the Rain, Truth or Myth?
Myth. The rain may make you wet, cold and for some people (other than Gene Kelly and those who like singing in the rain), even miserable unless it is contaminated with the cold virus, people will not catch cold from being out in the rain.
A Hot Toddy Helps Cure Colds, Truth or Myth?
Truth and Myth. Although a hot toddy will not cure a cold, it can help make you feel better and a number of studies have shown that alcohol drinkers have increased resistance to catching colds.
It has been found that people who do not drink alcohol are more likely to catch colds than those who do. Studies at the Common Cold Unit in Wiltshire found that an alcoholic drink a day could reduce the likelihood of catching a cold although drinking as a way to combat the flu and colds is not recommended as the risks to health of consuming alcohol every day exceed the benefits of reducing the likelihood of catching a cold.
You can Catch a Cold by Kissing, Truth or Myth?
Myth. As strange as it might sound, you aren’t more likely to catch a cold by kissing someone who already has the symptoms. Most viruses that cause colds enter our body through the nose and eyes. Volunteers who had colds at the University of Wisconsin Medical school kissed those who were not infected for a minute and a half and out of 16 trials, only one person was infected with the virus.
Go Outside with Wet Hair and You Will Catch a Cold, Truth or Myth?
Despite what old wives’ tales say about people being more likely to catch a cold if they go outside with wet or damp hair, this isn’t so at all. Neither does wearing a coat or jacket inside when it’s chilly or sitting in a draft because body temperature doesn’t make any difference. The only way to catch a cold is by coming into contact with the cold virus and this gets into your system.
Some old wives’ tales about catching and curing colds are based in fact while others, when tested, have been found to have no scientific basis.