Myths about common cold debunked

The rainy season is upon us and with it, comes many old beliefs about the common cold, which do not have any scientific basis.

“The common cold is one of the oldest and most common illnesses affecting humans, and so it is associated with many outdated ideas and misconceptions that need to be cleared up in order to properly manage the disease,” says Dr. Nicky Montoya, president of MediCard Philippines.MediCard

Here are some of the widely known cold myths and their corresponding facts:

Myth 1: You can cure a cold infection by taking vitamin C.

There is no scientific evidence to back up the claim that vitamin C can treat a cold. However, taking supplements and eating fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamin C can boost your immune system, which may help you recover from the cold quickly.

Myth 2: You can cure a cold with antibiotics.

The common cold is caused by many different viruses, but since it isn’t a bacterial infection, it can’t be cured with antibiotics. However, rare complications of the cold, like pneumonia, may require antibiotics.

Myth 3: Drinking milk can worsen your mucus.

Studies found no link between dairy consumption and mucus production. An Australian research in the 1990s has also concluded that the combination of saliva and milk may mimic mucus, leading to the false assumption that drinking milk during a cold worsens the mucus. In truth, the milk you drink will be digested like any other protein and will not be converted into nasal mucus.

Myth 4: Your cold may turn into flu.

Cold and flu are both viral infections and may have similar symptoms, but they are caused by different viruses and one does not necessarily lead to the other. However,

the cold infection may lower your resistance against diseases, making you more vulnerable to catching the flu if you’re exposed to the virus.

Myth 5: You should feed a cold (and starve a fever).

This old adage, which suggests overeating when you have a cold and fasting when you have a fever, has no scientific proof. However, eating an adequate amount of healthy food when you’re sick will nourish your body and help you recover from diseases faster. Drinking plenty of fluids can also prevent dehydration and loosen congestion. Studies also suggest that eating chicken soup may help you feel better by clearing your sinuses with steam, which relieves congestion, and limiting the amount of time the viruses are in contact with the lining of your nose. Plus, it’s also rehydrating, healthy and tasty.

“While common cold is generally a mild annoyance and can go away on its own, it can also develop into more serious illnesses if not properly diagnosed and treated. Patients with colds who have specific concerns about their illness should not hesitate to consult a doctor before taking any medications,” says Dr. Montoya.

MediCard has 12 free-standing clinics in key cities nationwide that provide consultation in internal medicine and infectious diseases. For more information, visit