Lizzy DeningHealth

Flu and cold myths - busted!

Lizzy DeningHealth
Flu and cold myths - busted!

With Christmas around the corner and festivities already in full-swing, many of us are preparing for a busy few weeks! And getting sick or having the flu could spoil these celebrations. 
There are lots of myths and old wives tales out there about what makes us ill in the winter. So recently spoke with Dr Eleanor Atkins from Bupa UK, who helps separate the facts from the fiction!

Is it true that going out with wet hair will give you a cold?

You won’t get ill simply because you’ve gone out with damp hair. You can catch a virus or cold when you’re outside, but this isn’t directly from having wet hair. Cold and flu viruses travel through the air, so you’ll only get sick if you get exposed. Germs can only get into your body through your eyes, nose and mouth.  So whilst you may feel chilly, it won’t actually make you sick. 

Is it true you should feed a cold and starve a fever?

Although you might not feel like eating, it’s important to keep your body nourished and hydrated when you’ve got a cold or fever. This will help you fight off the illness and recover. When you’ve got a fever, your body loses fluids when you sweat. So drinking plenty of water will help replace these fluids and keep you hydrated. Eating a healthy and balanced diet that contains protein, carbohydrates and natural fats will help you feel better. Try to eat as normally as you can and include lots of fruit and vegetables in your diet. These will help fight off the infection and can prevent further illness. Fasting when you’re sick won’t help you and could delay your recovery. 

Should I avoid exercise when I’ve got a cold?

A moderate amount of physical exercise may actually help you feel better. Make sure you listen to your body – if you’re not feeling well, rest instead. If you do feel up to it, try reducing the intensity and length of your workout. Instead of going for a run, try walking instead.  And if you’re exercising at the gym, make sure you wipe down any machines you’ve used afterwards! This will help to prevent any germs from spreading. 

Should you cover your mouth when you sneeze?

Coughing or sneezing into your hands and not washing them afterwards could help spread germs. Viruses can live on surfaces, like door handles, for up to 8 hours. Use a tissue or paper towel instead of your hands. Or if this isn’t an option, cough or sneeze into your arm instead. Make sure you wash your hands regularly with hot soap and water to avoid passing on the infection to someone else!