Myths and facts about colds

Nelly Favis-Villafuerte Nelly Favis-Villafuerte

Today, many people have their own theories, diagnosis, and cure for colds - an upper respiratory tract (nose sinuses and throat) infection caused by many different viruses. Colds is so common not only in our country but in other countries as well. Colds is also no respecter of age, sex or profession. It hits anybody. Common colds is considered the most frequently occurring viral infection in the world.

Here are some myths and facts about colds. These information have been taken from Internet reports, health books and health pamphlets.

Myth No. 1 – Colds are caused by exposure to cold weather.

This is not true because colds are caused by a number of different types of viruses. Not many know that common cold is a self-limited contagious illness. The virus can be passed around in a crowd. There are about 200 viruses causing the common cold. The most common is the so-called rhinoviruses. This figure is still increasing because there are now other new cold-causing viruses surfacing.

Myth No. 2 – There are vaccines that will protect the people from catching colds.

Not true. There is no available vaccine for common colds. Normally, an ordinary colds needs no medical attention unless the cold lasts for a long time or is accompanied by fever or involves people with tuberculosis, kidney ailment, chronic bronchitis, or asthma.

Myth No. 3 – Rubbing oil or ointment, lozenges, and even gargles cure or shorten colds.

Not true. The colds sufferer may experience temporary relief and that’s all.

Myth No. 4 – Colds may be avoided by drinking juice or taking vitamins.
False. While these may uplift the general physical condition of the cold-sufferer they cannot prevent colds.

Myth No. 5 – Antibiotics cure colds.

False. Antibiotics do not cure virus-caused colds. Antibiotics are effective only if the colds sufferer develops a secondary bacterial infection like pneumonia. Some symptoms of bacterial infection is earache or sore throat that later accompanies colds. Examples of bacterial infection are sinusitis or a middle ear infection (acute otitis media.)

Myth No. 6 – The colds virus can be transferred to inanimate objects like telephone, towels, books, computer keyboards, towels.

False. The colds virus cannot be transferred to inanimate objects like telephones, books, computer keyboards, towels and plates and remain infectious for up to three hours.

Washing of the hands many times during the day by the colds sufferer will minimize the spread of the colds virus.

Myth No. 7 – There are cures for the common colds.

There is no cure for the common colds. There are many home remedies for colds that are being peddled. Although these remedies have no scientific basis, people try some of these remedies so long as these remedies give temporary comfort to the colds sufferer.

While a colds is not a serious ailment, it can develop into a more serious life-threatening ailment. Depending on the body resistance of a person, a colds may last anywhere from 1-14 days and averaging about a week.

One way we can prevent the spread of colds is to avoid going to crowded places when we have colds, like moviehouses. Unfortunately, however, many people seem to enjoy going to moviehouses, shopping centers and parties better when they have colds and this is a kind of eccentricity which is hard to understand.

Have a joyful day! (For comments/reactions please send to Ms. Villafuerte’s email: