According to moms everywhere, a lot of things can make you catch a cold. There’s standing out in the rain, not wearing a hat and going to bed with wet hair. Oh and by the way, once you have a cold, you’d better not eat any ice cream. So if Mom said it, it must be right. Well, not really. But how do you know what’s fact and what’s fiction when it comes to your health?
Don’t get us wrong. We’re not trying to mess with Mom. She definitely got some things right. And those that are wrong were probably pearls of wisdom passed down from her own mom, and her mom before that. We’d probably still believe it all if we didn’t have the internet at our fingertips, ready to prove or debunk any theory in a matter of seconds.
So let’s start with the common cold. We all know there’s no cure. But can you prevent it? Maybe — but not by dressing warmly. Bundling up will surely make you more comfortable in the cold weather, but it won’t keep you from getting a cold. Colds are viruses. And the only way to catch a cold is by coming in contact with someone who already has one. All the hats, mittens, scarves and boots in the world won’t make a difference. You’d be much better off avoiding contact with family members, co-workers, classmates or others who have a cold.
What about cold “season?” Is it real? Yes, but that doesn’t mean autumn or winter or spring. It simply refers to the time of year when colds are more common. And although plenty of people do get colds in the summer, the most common “season” is anytime people spend more time indoors—with other sick people. Remember what else your mom always told you: Be sure to wash your hands. Now that one is good advice!
Here are some other common health myths and the truth about them.
Flu shots can give you the flu.
False! The flu vaccine is made from a dead — or inactive — virus. According to medical experts, you can’t get infected from a virus that’s no longer alive.
Apply butter to a burn.
False! Butter definitely won’t help a burn and it might actually make it worse. Stick to cold water.
Drinking alcohol keeps you warm.
False! While this one is especially tempting to football fans and tailgaters, skaters and ice fisherman, it simply isn’t true. In fact, it can actually make you colder as the alcohol makes the blood rush to your skin, your core temperature drops. You’re better off with hot chocolate.
Sunscreen is for summer.
False! It makes sense to use sunscreen when you’re at the beach, on the golf course or riding your bike, but don’t forget sunscreen for outdoor winter activities as well. The snow reflects the sun, so be sure to slather it on your face to avoid sunburn and early aging!!
Food dropped on the ground is safe to eat if you pick it up within 5 seconds.
False! Don’t we wish? Unfortunately, the 5-second rule is wrong. Studies show that thousands of microscopic bacteria can make themselves at home on your food within seconds. And beware wet or sticky foods such as lunchmeat, peanut butter, jelly or watermelon — they attract and latch on to bacteria the fastest.
Drink 8 glasses of water a day.
True, mostly! Staying hydrated, especially after exercise or in warm weather, is very important, but it doesn’t have to be eight glasses and it doesn’t have to be water. Try drinking from a bottle at the gym, so you aren’t counting the glasses. And while water is best, it’s okay to mix in some juice, coffee, tea, and even soda from time to time.
Antibiotics cure the flu.
False! Again, it’s a no. Influenza is a viral infection and antibiotics only cure bacterial infections. Unfortunately there’s no cure but rest.
Sitting too close to the TV will hurt your eyes.
False! This is an old wives’ tale, probably invented by a mom trying to get her kids to do their homework!
An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
Finally, one that’s (mostly) True! It may not actually keep the doctor away, but apples are definitely healthy. . From fiber to vitamin C to several other hard-to-pronounce components, apples are jam-packed with things that are good for you. Cheers to your good health!