We’ve all heard them. Wear garlic to stave off sickness. Rub Vicks VapoRub on your children’s feet to prevent a cold. Eat mom’s chicken noodle soup to get better. There are many old wives’ tales still circulating about the common cold. But, how many of these are actually true? This week, Inside CTEH is investigating in “Common Cold: Myth vs. Fact.”

Myth: You’ll catch a cold if you don’t wear your coat outside in the winter.

False. Viruses are responsible for the common cold. In fact, you are more likely to catch the cold virus inside instead of outside. If you’re inside, you’re more likely to be in close contact with others—allowing germs like the cold to spread more easily.

Myth: You’ll get a cold if you leave the house with wet hair in the winter.

False. Again, viruses cause the common cold. You will not catch the cold from having wet hair or spending time outdoors in the winter.
Myth: Your risk of catching a cold increases if you fly on an airplane.

True. In crowded areas like airplanes, you may have an increased risk of contracting a cold because you are more likely to be in close contact with others. Airplanes also use recycled air, which may allow cold germs to spread.

Myth: You should always “Feed a cold, starve a fever.”

False. It’s much more important to stay hydrated when you have a common cold than forcing yourself to eat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Lung Association both recommend drinking at least eight glasses of water or juice when you have a cold.

Myth: Chicken noodle soup can make you feel better.

True. Chicken noodle soup can make you feel better when you have a cold. Multiple sources, including the University of Nebraska, indicate that soup may have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Bottom line. When you come down with the common cold, rest! Follow the guidance of your health care professional by staying hydrated, avoiding contact with others and seeking over-the-counter medicine. If you have additional questions, please contact your local doctor or visit cdc.gov or lung.org.