Common cold is a contagious disease that affects the respiratory system of the body. It is a viral infectious disease, caused by rhinovirus, coronavirus or picornavirus. The general symptoms associated with common cold are sore throat, running nose, cough, sneezing and nasal congestion. It is a very common disease among people of all age groups and is very rarely fatal. Common cold can be treated conveniently with the proper dose of medicine and care. Since time immemorial, common cold has been linked with several myths. There are no scientific explanations behind these myths and thus, they have no validity. We bring you some of the most common myths related to common cold, along with the real facts that nullify them.
Top Myths About Common Cold
- The most common myth associated with common cold is that any person with weak immune system is extremely susceptible to it. The real fact is that healthy people, with normal immune system, are as much prone to common cold as those with low immunity. Once the virus enters the nasal system, almost anyone becomes susceptible to the disease. However, only 75 % of the people infected with the virus develop the symptoms of cold.
- Another myth is that central heating makes the mucus membrane of the nose dry and thus, a person becomes more likely to get infected with cold. The fact is that the nasal membrane is resistant to low humidity, which makes it to work effectively, despite being dry.
- Many people consider that suffering from common cold does no harm to the body. Instead, they believe it to be preventive of future colds and deny treatment of the same. The truth is that sneezing or other nasal secretion can only eliminate the dust and pollen from the nose. It has no effect on the virus that keeps multiplying inside the nasal cells, leading to inflammation in sinus cavity.
- Some people think that drinking milk can increase the amount of nasal mucus, during cold. However, milk is like any other protein that can be easily digested by the body and thus has no such effect on the nasal secretion.
- There is a myth that if people are exposed to cold or chilled weather, they catch cold. This has no validity, as people catch cold even during the summer season.
- There is an old belief that the person suffering from cold should eat excessively. Lots of food can make one fight against common cold effectively. There is no scientific evidence to prove this fact. The most probable explanation that can be given for this case is that eating tasty foods can make the patient feel better and thus, help in quick recovery.
- Another common myth associated with common cold is that antibiotics help treat it. This myth has no basis at all, since antibiotics work on bacteria whereas common cold is caused by a virus. However, antibiotics can help treat the complications springing from common cold, like bronchitis, ear infections and even sinusitis.
- Many people tend to believe that inhaling steam can treat common cold. This is not at all true. Though inhaling steam can temporarily relieve some symptoms of congestion, it cannot treat them altogether.
- Yet another myth is that people should not exercise during the common cold. In reality, as soon as your temperature normalizes, you should start indulging in routine exercises and sports. They will help improve the immunity of the body and thus, aid faster recovery. Jogging and walking will benefit the body in enabling the fresh supply of oxygen.
- People should not go outside after washing their hair, as it will make them susceptible to cold. No scientific study proves the validity of this myth.
- It is a myth that heavy intake of zinc and vitamin C can cure common cold. These minerals do not help the body in fighting against the virus.