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Come winter and I see most kids go into hibernation. Reason : "My mom says I will catch a cold if I stay out". I have come across many parents who believe that mere exposure to cold weather will make their child ill. This is so not true. Indeed, the cold temperature is ideal for germs to survive. But the entire atmosphere is not filled with germs. When a person suffering from common cold/flu sneezes or coughs, tiny respiratory droplets containing viruses are released into the air. When a healthy person inhales this impure air, the germs enter his respiratory tract. Another mode of transmission is through contaminated surfaces. Sick person's nose -> his hands -> some object -> healthy person's hands -> his nose. In this write up, I decided to bust some myths about common cold and flu.
Myth : Wet hair will result in cold and cough.
Fact : The common cold is caused by viruses. Your child will catch a cold only if he comes in contact with the virus. Hence avoid close contact with sick people and don't worry if your child happens to get drenched a bit in the rain.
Myth : Drinking curds or eating cucumber at night can cause a sore throat.
Fact : No food can induce a sore throat. Doctors advise us to drink warm water when we have a sore throat to kill the germs already present in the respiratory tract. By doing this, we are making the environment unconducive for germs to thrive. But drinking curds itself cannot give your child a sore throat. So don't deprive your child a probiotic drink as good as curds.
Myth : Not wearing woollen clothes in winter can make your child susceptible to cold.
Fact : Woollen clothes are meant to keep the body warm. Its a protection for the skin only. Woollen clothes will not ward off virus/bacteria. If your child is comfortable not wearing them, then don't force him. Just chill moms !!!
Myth : Flu can be treated with antibiotics.
Fact : Flu is caused by different kinds of viruses. Antibiotics kill bacteria. Thus when there is a virus attack, taking an antibiotic is futile. Viral fever subsides on its own. However there are medicines available to give you symptomatic relief. Antibiotics must be taken only for a bacterial infection. Only a qualified doctor can decide whether the infection is viral or bacterial in nature. Antibiotic misuse is a bigger threat than any other environmental issue.
Myth : Swine flu is transmitted from pigs.
Fact : You can be a pure vegetarian and still catch swine flu because its air borne just like the common cold. Swine flu is a severe case of flu caused by a particular strain of virus (H1N1). The transmission is human to human. Antibiotics cannot cure swine flu. Only antivirals can help reduce further complications. And these must be prescribed by a medical practitioner only.
These myths have been passed on from generation to generation. Instead of blindly following them, we can do what's actually helpful in staying healthy :
1) Avoid crowded places in the winter months.
2) Maintain hygiene by proper hand washing.
3) Get your child vaccinated against flu.
4) Stay indoors when sick to avoid spreading it to others.
5) Eat food rich in Vitamin C to boost immunity.