Top 5 Myths About the Common Cold

Can chicken soup cure a cold? We’ve debunked five myths about the common cold, from how they’re spread to the secret behind hand sanitizer.

The air is crisp and the nights are cold. But will going outside with wet hair increase your chances of catching a cold? We’ve debunked five cold myths—from chicken soup to hand sanitizer. Of course, always be sure to consult with a doctor if cold symptoms linger more than 7-10 days.

Myth 1: Colds are spread through coughs and sneezes

Fact: Several viruses cause colds. While some are spread through coughs and sneezes, you can often catch a cold through direct contact, such as touching objects or surfaces with a virus. Use a liquid iodine solution for cleaning hands regularly, or stick to good old soap and water.


Myth 2: All hand sanitizers are made equal

Fact: For a gel to be effective, it must contain at least 60 percent alcohol. For the best cleanse, stick to soap and warm water. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.


Myth 3: Colds cause fevers

Fact: Common symptoms include runny noses, coughing, sneezing, and a sore throat. Fevers over 100.4 degrees are rarely linked to colds. A fever likely indicates that something else is wrong and it might be more serious than a common cold—such as the flu.


Myth 4: Feed a cold, starve a fever

Fact: Fever or not, maintaining proper nutrition is vital. Eat foods such as soup to stay hydrated. In fact, chicken soup has been reported to reduce upper respiratory cold symptoms.


Myth 5: Wet hair makes you sick

Fact: Colds are caused by viruses, so a wet head won’t affect your chances. But note that extreme lows in body temperature—hypothermia—can occur if you’re not properly bundled up in the cold.