Monday, January 15, 2007

Cold and Flu Season: Myths, Facts, and Legends

Even in the so-called Information Age, it is increasingly hard to get the straight facts on colds and the flu. I mean, what is the difference between a cold and the flu? What are the symptoms? What is the best treatment? While Science struggles to find answers to these rhetorical questions, we here at Very Little Known Facts have taken it upon ourselves to get down to the root of the matter and expose some common fallacies regarding this least festive of seasons.

Myth: Standing outside in the cold with wet hair will make you sick.

Fact: It is a scientifically and medically proven fact that standing outside in the cold while dripping wet does not cause colds. Colds are caused by viruses.

Legend: Over-the-counter medicines may make you more likely to get sick.

Fact: There is some truth to this. Contac is the only medicine proven to cure the common cold due to its patented time-released capsules.

Myth: A whiskey a day keeps the doctor away.

Fact: Alcoholism is a serious medical condition. Check with your insurance carrier before seeking treatment.

Legend: You cannot get sick from a flu shot.

Fact: The flu vaccine is created from a “killed” virus, so you cannot get the flu from a flu shot. However, since the injection causes soreness and an immuno-response reaction, the lack of competition creates a “window” for the cold bacteria to exploit. Remember not to get a flu shot if you have a fever, if you are allergic to eggs, peanuts, ragweed, pets or pollen, if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, or if you have certain immune disorders such as AIDS. Women who are breastfeeding may experience some sexual side effects from the flu vaccine, but this is normal.

Myth: Flu can upset your stomach.

Fact: Flu will never make you feel sick to your stomach. Vomiting is a sign of a much more serious ailment. Possibly cancer. See your physician immediately at the first sign of stomach discomfort (unless you just don’t want to know).

Legend: Vitamin C aids your immune system.

Fact: Experts disagree over whether humans should attempt to “help” their own immune system, or if they should simply pray and leave the decision to whatever higher power you may or may not believe in.

Myth: Herbal treatments such as echinacea and zinc will cure both colds and the flu.

Fact: This is true. Be sure to tell everyone you know about echinacea, “Nature’s Wonder Herb.” Your sick friends will appreciate the helpful advice.

Legend: Antibiotics will not help cure the flu.

Fact: Science has yet to cure the common cold, but some say that antibiotics, due to their healing chemicals, can be part of an effective regimen to fight the flu. Consult your physician for more information—but be sure to call ahead, preferably several weeks before you get sick since many doctors have a backlog of patients this time of year.

Myth: Chicken soup makes you feel better if you’re sick.

Fact: Chicken soup contains prodigious amounts of sodium, which leeches water from your body, leading to dehydration and eventual death. Be sure to remember the old adage, “Feed a cold, starve a fever.” NEVER let someone with a fever try to eat.

Legend: The winter months are also known as Cold and Flu season.

Fact: More colds occur in the winter months because people are more likely to stay indoors in cramped quarters with recirculated air, thus spreading the cold virus. Therefore, you can PREVENT colds by standing outside in the cold while dripping wet. It's the healthiest thing you can do in the winter! As a general rule, the colder it is, the more time you should spend standing outside in the cold because more of your colleagues are going to be incubating all those nasty viruses inside.


In conclusion, the best way to avoid colds and the flue is to stay healthy throughout the Winter months, also known as Cold and Flu Season. Perhaps the most novel option is to join the Polar Bear Club, a group of “crazy” folks who dive into freezing-cold water in the winter. But if cold water boosts your immune system and you can’t catch a cold or the flu outside, then who’s crazy now?


Anonymous said...

I heard the Polar Bear club had to call off meetings this year due to global warming!

Jon Black and Britt Bergman said...

Dear anonymous,

Thanks for your comment! Of course, many prominent thinkers disagree about the effects of so-called "Global Warming," but one thing is for sure: we're all in it together on this terrestrial rockball we call home. (Also known as Earth.) So hang in there! Thanks again for your comment!

Jason Hartley said...

My baby sometimes spits up. Does he have cancer?

Jon Black and Britt Bergman said...

Dear jason hartley,

Thanks for your comment! Of course your baby does not have cancer--babies are full of stem cells which are the opposite of cancer and which (coincidentally) also provide that "new baby smell." You should be far more worried about autism, which is very popular this year. Thanks again for your comment!

Carrie said...

Do birds sneeze?

Jon Black and Britt Bergman said...

Dear carrie,

Thanks for your comment! It is a Very Little Known Fact that all mammals sneeze at least once in their lives. But since birds are reptiles, they do not sneeze. Instead, they migrate North during the winter months. Thanks again for your comment!

Anonymous said...

Hallo! ;)
heh... what distracted newz!
what do U think about it?

Jon Black and Britt Bergman said...

Dear anonymous,

Thanks for your comment!

Anonymous said...

I've seen my birds sneeze a few times. I even got some of it on me.

Anonymous said...

If your child has a cold, should she stay indoors and rest to fight it off? Or if feeling well enough, go outdoors? I was told you MUST rest so your body uses the energy to fight off the cold.