Web MD’s guide to the most common misconceptions about what causes colds and flu’s — and how to prevent and treat them.
Should I Starve a Cold?
Starve a cold and feed a fever? Or is it the other way around? The answer: neither. Thomas Tallman, DO, an emergency medicine physician and cold and flu expert at the Cleveland Clinic says he is not sure where this erroneous piece of advice originated, but he is sure of this: What you eat when you have a virus makes no difference in the length or severity of your cold. He does recommend you drink a lot of fluids while you are sick to avoid becoming dehydrated. And he refutes a related myth, that drinking milk increases the mucus in your nasal passages. “It has no effect,” Tallman says.
Does Dry or Cold Air Cause Colds?
Dry air does not cause colds. Many people believe that hot, dry air can dry up the mucus in your nasal passages, leaving you more susceptible to colds. Not true, says Tallman. As far as colds are concerned, he says, “It doesn’t matter what the humidity is.” If you are already sick, though, moist air can help ease congestion and coughing, making your suffering a bit more bearable.
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