Common Cold Myths

We have all suffered from numerous colds, but with such widespread scope comes a surprising amount of misinformation. Here are the top ten myths about the common cold.

Out in the cold

You catch a cold when you come into contact with the cold virus, rather than because you’ve been outside in the cold. It doesn’t matter if you are hot, cold, warm, or dry when the virus strikes.

Flu shots

One in six of us actually believe that you can catch flu from the flu injection because of the common misconception that the flu vaccine contains a weakened form of the flu virus. In fact, it only includes components of the virus and so it is actually impossible to catch flu from a flu jab.

Immune System

Contrary to popular belief, a weakened immune system does not heighten the risks of catching a cold. Healthy and unhealthy people exhibit the same amount of susceptibility to colds.

Taking lots of Vitamin C

It is a myth that loads of Vitamin C and zinc help to stave off (or cure) a cold. While it is often a good idea to take vitamin and mineral supplements, they have no effect on the cold virus. You are better off managing the symptoms of the cold as best you can and sitting it out.

Most colds are caught in winter

Actually, most colds are caught in Spring and Autumn when the virus is at its most active.

Sweat it out

It’s commonly believed that covering up with extra blankets or sticking your head over a bowl of hot water will help sweat the cold out. Sadly, it doesn’t work, although it may make you feel better as it addresses the symptoms.

Milking It

A lot of people think that drinking milk while you have a cold is a bad idea because it causes more mucus to build up. Actually, milk does not cause a build-up of mucus at all ­ you can drink as much of it as you like and it will have no effect on your cold.


The quantity of virus on the lips and mouth is tiny, and a much larger dose would be required to become infected. It is the nasal mucus we all have to worry about.

Cold Symptoms

One in five of us believe that the symptoms of a cold (running nose, coughing etc.) should go untreated, so the cold plays itself out more quickly. In reality, the symptoms not only make no difference to the duration of the cold, they can help spread the bug to other people ­ through nose blowing and coughing. You should take comfort in knowing that pain killers and other cold medicines will not only make the illness more tolerable, they will help to keep it contained.

Starve a fever

We’ve all heard the phrase “starve a fever, feed a cold.” However, eating has no negative impact on the body when you are sick. In fact, the opposite is true. Food provides the body with fuel to cope with illness.

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