Bad Folklore Medicine

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

Is it "feed a cold, starve a fever" or is it "starve a cold, feed a fever"? Actually, it's neither.

With this year's shortage of flu vaccine, doctors are advising people to keep themselves healthy by eating well and getting plenty of rest so they'll stand a better chance of fighting off the virus. But what if you do get sick?

Doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas say you should ignore any advice that calls for starving yourself when you're sick. Dr. Paul Pepe, UT Southwestern's chairman of emergency medicine, says sick people need nutritious food to help keep their immune systems strong so they can fight off illness.

If you get a fever, the flu, a cold or another illness, keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water and maintain a steady intake of healthful foods. Chicken soup and juice are good, nutritious foods when you're not feeling well.


Nov. 2004

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