What Really Makes us Sick (Fact vs. Fiction)

What Really Makes us Sick (Fact vs. Fiction)

Most of us were probably told by our grandmothers that going outside in the winter without a hat on will result in catching a cold.

But is that really true?

According to Cleveland Clinic‘s Dan Allan, M.D., cold temperature by itself cannot make us sick. We have to actually be exposed to a virus or bacteria.

“Cold, itself, doesn’t induce illness,” he said. “Likewise wet hair doesn’t induce it and sitting by a drafty window isn’t going to make you sick — you just have to be exposed. So doing things like avoiding sick people, washing your hands, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, can go a long way to try to keep us all healthy.”

Many of us have also probably heard that we’re more likely to get sick if we’ve traveled on an airplane.

Allan said that this can be true, explaining that because an airplane puts us in an enclosed space with a lot of other people, it heightens our chances of coming in contact with an airborne virus.

Also, surfaces on planes are touched by many people, so there is an increased risk of touching something that is infected with bacteria, or viruses, especially if the surface has not been completely sterilized.

Allan said it’s best to be mindful of what you touch while traveling.

“Don’t touch your face while you travel,” he said. “Use a lot of hand sanitizer.”

And when it comes to treating a cold, is it a good idea to “feed a cold” and “starve a fever?”

Allan said absolutely not.

“I wouldn’t starve anybody who is sick because you need your nutrition and your hydration,” he said. “For either a cold or a fever, you should hydrate yourself and you should eat nutritious food to keep yourself fueled up.”

Allan said another cold and flu season myth is that getting the flu shot will make a person sick. He said the flu shot may cause a little ache in the arm or a temporary low-grade fever, but it cannot give a person a cold or the flu.

— Submitted by Cleveland Clinic News Service 

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