5 Most Common Myths About the Cold


Chicken soup
Can a bowl of chicken soup help fight a cold? Maybe: Some research suggests it could relieve inflammation.

Feed a cold, starve a fever
Being sick often kills your appetite; force-feeding won't help. What will help is staying hydrated and getting enough calories. A 2008 study in the Journal of Nutrition found that mice exposed to the flu took longer to recover and were more likely to suffer ill effects if they were on a low-calorie diet. Skip dieting until after flu season.

You'll get sick if don't wear a coat

Not likely. Colds and flu are caused by viruses. They do circulate during cold-weather seasons, but you're more likely to pick them up inside than out. In fact, going outside and getting more physical activity—and not just during cold and flu season—may help prevent sickness.

Vicks VapoRub in your socks cures coughs
In 2007, a widely circulated email recommended putting Vicks VapoRub on children’s feet at night and covering them with socks to cure coughs; it became an Internet sensation. The email identified the source of the miracle cure as the “Canada Research Council,” which prompted the National Research Council of Canada to issue a statement saying it had nothing to do with the email or its advice. VapoRub, which is usually applied to a child’s chest or throat, releases vapors that are intended to relieve cough symptoms when inhaled—so it seems far-fetched that it would work if it's in your socks.

A wet head can make you sick
You’ll probably feel chilly if you skip the blow-dry on a cold day, but not much else will happen. Again, colds are caused by a virus. Unless you are so cold that you get hypothermia, which could make you susceptible to infection, wet hair or clothes won’t increase your vulnerability.