Few things in life are so surrounded by myth as the flu (influenza) and the common cold. Let’s go through the most popular (and often most harmful) ideas.
Antibiotics help treat colds and flu
Healthcare workers work hard to dispel this myth, but it just doesn’t seem to go away. Colds and the flu are caused by viruses, but antibiotics only kill bacteria and have zero effect on viruses (a completely different species). Your doctor may prescribe you antibiotics if you are already dealing with complications that involve bacteria, such as an ear infection, bronchitis, or pneumonia. But otherwise, using antibiotics for the flu or a cold would do no good and might only cause unpleasant side effects — like diarrhoea and stomach cramps — as well as an increased resistance to drugs in the future.
Zinc, vitamin C, and Echinacea help treat a cold
No scientific research has resolutely demonstrated positive effects of these popular remedies. The bad news is that, as of today, the flu and common cold have no effective treatments. The good news is that in most cases they just go away on their own. Drinking some Echinacea tea is still a good idea however — your body needs more water during illness to compensate for fever and dehydration?, so it will appreciate any extra input.
Flu is just a cold gone bad
No, they are two separate illnesses with the biggest difference being complications that can stem from them. While a cold will go away, leaving no other traces than paper tissues everywhere, the flu can develop into pneumonia, especially in children and other vulnerable people. In adults, it can also cause heart failure. The biggest difference is in the speed of development of the illness — a cold starts slowly, while flu hits you like a truck on a highway.
You can get the flu from a flu shot
This is a myth that scares away many people from getting a potentially life-saving vaccine. It grows from a conception that the shot contains the same flu virus, only in weakened form. In fact, it contains only parts of the virus, and cannot cause the flu in its incomplete form. The best time for getting a flu shot is in October or November, which allows the body to develop a strong immunity before the flu season gets into full swing.
Now you are well-equipped with the knowledge to stay safe and healthy this season. Start small and build up your own path towards DeepHealth!