With cold season upon us, almost every student on campus is worried about their health. In the library, class, cafes, bathrooms–bacteria and viruses are everywhere, and it can be especially daunting for Cornell students who are stressed about anything that may hold them back. In the midst of ~prelim week~ all students want to make sure they’re in tip top shape in order to do well in class. However, as we try to stay healthy, it can be easy to forget that not getting sick doesn’t require you to live in a bubble. Here are 7 myths about the common cold to keep in mind this season.
1Walking outside with wet hair/no winter gear will give you a cold.
False! Certainly I do not suggest you going out with wet hair (cue frozen hair meme) or without winter gear, but doing so will definitely not cause a cold. Colds are caused by bacteria, so as long as you stay away from sneezes or coughs coming your way while you walk outside with wet hair, nothing will happen to you…except for freezing on your way to class.
2 The more hand sanitizer I put on, the more likely it is that I will get a cold, and a really bad cold at that, because of all that bacteria.
Another myth, but something that I don’t suggest because of the fact that it causes dry skin. However, putting an excess amount of sanitizer will definitely not kill you. Just make sure you let it dry before you eat anything. Sanitizers don’t work completely unless they’re completely dry. Plus, I don’t think you would want to taste hand sanitizers anyway.
3Vitamin supplements aren’t good enough to prevent the cold.
While many people think vitamin supplements or Emergen-C packets aren’t that effective, they are really useful in boosting your immune system. Bonus points for packets with zinc in them–those really help shorten the duration of a cold. Although you may still get a cold, vitamins and ions definitely reduce the cold’s effects, making surviving prelim season ~that~ much more bearable.
4It’s a good idea not to eat anything when I have a cold, because I don’t have an appetite.
Bad excuse. When you have the cold, you should always drink lots of fluids and eat plenty of high carb foods. Even if you don’t have the appetite for it, food can really boost the rate at which you get better. After all, chicken soup is the cure for all bad colds.
5Gargling with salt water is a waste of time.
Also false. Gargling with salt water at night is helpful for any type of sickness, especially those which include a sore throat. Although many people think that cough drops are the only solution, salt water is equally as good, if not better those those annoying cough drops. For those dedicated to their health, take a bottle of salt water with you to the library when you’re sick to cure your sore throat on the go.
6I can’t get the cold from not washing my hands before eating.
This is one of the most common myths of all. During cold/flu season, it is imperative to wash your hands before coming into contact with food. Remember that keyboard you touched in the library or that door you held for people earlier–infested with germs. Make sure to defend yourself by washing your hands regularly.
Although it seems like colds come and go with the colder seasons, this is far from true. In fact, we can have cold epidemics in the midst of a heat wave. Colds only require the presence of viruses and germs. No need to worry about the actual cold weather–all you need to worry about are germs (is that more reassuring? Oh well).
So Cornellians, make sure to stock up on those vitamin supplements, orange juice and sanitizer–we’re going to need all the defense we can get to get through this cold season. Hopefully we can all breathe a little easier knowing the common cold is as preventable as it is contagious.