Health Watch — Cold and Flu Season: Mythbusting

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.

This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about cold and flu season. There are a lot of myths and old wives tales surrounding colds and flu. How many of them are true?

Your mom may have told you to bundle up when you go outside in cold weather so you won’t catch your death of cold, but Dr. Jane Siegel, an infectious disease expert at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says Mom was wrong. Being cold doesn’t give you a cold, nor does going out or going to bed with wet hair. You also can’t treat a cold with a shot of whiskey, you won’t catch the flu from a flu shot, you won’t avoid passing on your cold or flu by not breathing on people, and you can catch one cold right after another. The way you catch a cold or the flu is by being exposed to other people who are infected. You can pick up their germs not only by being sneezed on but also by holding hands or touching something they’ve touched and then putting your hands around your face.

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November 2008

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