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Cough and cold myths busted

29 January 2015
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The cough and cold season is well and truly upon us, but sometimes the amount of information on how to avoid getting ill can be overwhelming.

Professors Alyn Morice and Professor Ron Eccles have lifted the lid on the biggest myths about colds, revealing what is true and what is false.

HELLO! Online takes a look at the common cough and cold myths...

Scroll below for the full list


HELLO! Online busts the myths around coughs and colds

Someone sneezing on the tube can make you sick: False

Colds are actually more difficult to contract than people believe. Cold sufferers are at their most contagious up to three days before exhibiting any symptoms, so by the time they are feeling unwell, the chance of catching their illness is already reduced. To catch a cold, close and prolonged contact to the virus is required which is why most colds are spread at home.

Some people never get a runny nose or cough: True

When colds are circulating, many people who are mildly infected don't show symptoms. So people who say they never get a cold may simply have an immune system that doesn't respond strongly to a cold virus.

Cough syrups don't work: False

Whilst there is limited research suggesting that cough medicines have an impact on symptoms, different active ingredients have an effect on the body, impacting on the nerves and coating the throat and thus significantly reducing the sensitivity of the cough reflex.


Coughs and colds are more difficult to catch from others than believed

A spicy curry can help ditch a cold and cough: True

The spices in curries can help alleviate the symptoms of a cough or cold. Look for lozenges with a strong taste – this will make you salivate which can help coat and soothe a sore throat.

Diabetics can't take cough medication: False

There are now cough remedies in the pharmacy which are void of sugar. Lifestyle choices and dietary restrictions can mean less treatment choice for people hoping to treat coughs and colds. Remedies from trusted brands that offer sugar free or alcohol free alternatives allow effective relief from symptoms.

One product can do the same job as lots of different medications together: True

A syrup is the most suitable basic formulation for coughs as it coats the throat, reduces irritation and soothes the cough reflex. Look for medicines with strong flavours.

Going out with wet hair will give you a cold: False

Getting cold or wet won't give you a cold. But if you are already carrying the virus in your nose, it might allow symptoms to develop.