You probably heard your mom use a variation of this a few million times growing up: “Put a coat on or you’ll catch a cold.” Well, much like when she told you that you’re the most special boy in all the world, she was wrong.
In fact, it turns out a lot of the things we’ve heard about catching colds are myths. Yes, it’s true that you should wash your hands a lot in order to avoid getting sick — but you can forget the commonly held beliefs we’ve listed below.
MYTH #1: Going outside with wet hair will make you sick
Going outside in winter with wet hair is a great way to get cold, but it won’t increase your odds of catching a cold. Whether you’re inside or out, wet or dry, viruses can still find a way into your body. During the wintertime we’re indoors more often, which allows for easier passage of germs from one person to another. And since we’re around sick people in confined spaces, the probability that we’ll get ill goes up. It has nothing to do with forgetting to use a blowdryer.
MYTH #2: Feed a cold, starve a fever
Do you think a cold virus is going to get so full it dies? Or that a flu virus is going to be all, “No more Funyuns? I’m outta here!” Of course not. While a cold or fever may cause loss of appetite, your immune system still needs nutrients to function correctly. And your body absolutely needs fluids when you’re sick since sickness tends to dehydrate you.
Sorry, no cold-fighting powers here. Daily intake of vitamin C is still a good idea — it can help prevent wrinkles, heart disease, cancer, and lessens risk of Alzheimer’s — but it won’t prevent your nose from being runny.