Truth or Fiction: Unmasking Common Winter Health Myths

We’ve all heard our mothers’ best remedies and advice for cold and flu season, as well as some old wives’ tales that have been passed along from generation to generation. Whether it’s the “feed a cold, starve a fever” adage or a “Mother knows best” solution for colds and the flu, we’re taking a look at some of the most common winter health sayings and solutions out there.

“Feed a cold, starve a fever”

Parts of this are true. Staying hydrated and eating nutritious food can help amp up your immune system when you have a cold. But the same thing goes for fever -- calories can help give you the energy to fight off the infection.

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“A bowl of chicken soup will set you right!”

Score one for mom! Any soup with lots of veggies can give you healthy nutrients that help with runny noses, sore throats and congestion. These ingredients help reduce the inflammation that causes these symptoms, putting you on the road to recovery. However, many illnesses take time to run their course, so view this as a help, not a cure!

“Cough into your elbow to keep germs from spreading!”

Another great Mom-ism! Since most infections are passed by close contact, coughing into your hand is a surefire way to spread a cold or flu. Coughing into your elbow keeps the germs away from others. Just be sure to wash your clothes in warm water to keep the germs at bay.

“Put a coat on. You’ll catch your death!”

Cold and flu season typically happen when it’s cold outside, so those winter weather means viruses will be going around. However, wearing a coat outside doesn’t prevent viral infections, nor does being cold make you more susceptible to them. In fact, more infections happen due to close contact with infected people indoors! But, you’ll definitely be more comfortable braving the cold weather with a coat, so keep this one in mind anyway!

“You can’t go outside with wet hair!”

Much like the coat myth, going outside with wet hair may not be the most comfortable for you, but it’s pretty unlikely you’ll get sick from a less-than-thorough blow dry. The only time wet hair can actually cause problems is if you’re in danger of hypothermia.

Doctors Express Urgent Care in South Plainfield is a state-of-the-art urgent care center open extended hours seven days a week.  Walk-ins are welcome, most insurance plans are accepted, and we offer a comprehensive suite of in-house services that include digital x-rays and on-site lab testing. All patients are treated by board-certified physicians and our wait times are comparatively short.  Visit us at 907 Oak Tree Avenue, Oak Park Commons (near the Super A&P) in South Plainfield or call us at 908-222-3500.  We’re open weekdays from 8am - 8pm and weekends from 8am – 5pm.

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