The common cold and flu are two illnesses that make the rounds every year, and they can be very frustrating when you come down with them. Getting the flu or a cold can take you out of work or school for several days, and comes with tiring, uncomfortable symptoms. Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths about the flu and the common cold that prevent people from getting the treatment they need. Here are some of the most well-known myths about the common cold and flu to be aware of.
The flu shot isn’t safe – false
Many people avoid getting a flu shot because they think it isn’t safe. However, this myth can actually be very dangerous. The myth stems from the fact that some people get very mild flu symptoms after getting the shot. However, these symptoms usually subside quickly and do not give you the flu. If you avoid a flu shot and do get the flu, you could end up out of work or school for a week or two.
You are only contagious before you start showing symptoms
Another common myth that applies to both colds and the flu is that you are only contagious for a short period of time before the symptoms set in. However, you are actually contagious for longer than you might think. It’s important to take precautions to stop the illness from spreading for the entire time that you have it. Once your symptoms start to improve and your fever subsides, then you can go back to school or work, but make sure that you are still covering your mouth when you cough and washing your hands frequently.
Taking vitamin C can prevent or cure a cold
Vitamin C supplements are often marketed to patients as a way to stay healthy during cold and flu season. And while they can have benefits for your immune system, you can’t actually cure a cold or prevent it entirely just with vitamin C. The best way to avoid getting a cold is to wash your hands frequently and avoid contact with others who have illnesses.
Antibiotics are the best way to treat illness
Many people assume that when they feel sick, the first thing they should do is get an antibiotic. While antibiotics work for bacterial infections, they don’t work for viral infections like the flu. There are also instances where illnesses can heal on their own, and you don’t need an antibiotic. If you take an antibiotic when you don’t need one, it can actually make your body resistant to them later on when you do need them.