When temperatures warm, noses start to run. Although we prepare every year for the upcoming spring colds and allergies, the effects are typically stronger than we think. So, where do these allergies and colds come from, and are the typical sayings about colds and the flu true?
Many of the common thoughts about spring colds are actually misguided myths passed down through the generations. Keep reading to find the answers behind the most common myths.
Don’t Get Your Feet Wet! Myth 1: Rain and Damp Causes Colds
You’ve heard this one for years. Your mother or grandmother probably scolded you as a child for going out with wet hair, or getting your feet wet, saying you would “catch your death” of cold.
Of course, the presence of water has nothing to do with carrying cold and flu viruses, which are transmitted by air from person to person. You might, however, feel chilled from damp springtime air. Take a light jacket or sweater on cold, wet spring days – but know that it won’t keep you from getting sick if you’re exposed to the germs.
Learn more: How To Make Your Own Hot and Cold Pack
Keep Your Coat On! Myth 2: Wearing a Jacket Will Prevent Colds
This is another myth. Your body temperature does not determine how many cold or flu viruses are around. The only way you would have a higher chance of getting sick if you’re not warm enough is if you are already starting to get sick. In this case, your body may not be able to handle both keeping you warm and fighting off an illness at the same time.
It’s The Changing Seasons! Myth 3: Weather Fluctuations Encourage the Spread of Viruses
You know how it seems like quick weather changes cause a wave of cold and flu symptoms? Turns out, it has nothing to do with the weather. This one surprised me; I definitely thought this was true! According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, however, changes in the weather do not increase the spread of cold and flu viruses. If you notice yourself coughing and sneezing more when the weather changes, it’s probably allergies.
Learn more: Toxic-Free Natural Hand Sanitizer
Don’t Smell the Flowers! Myth 4: Flowers Trigger Allergies
Springtime blossoms are beautiful and make us smile, but the blooms also seem to set off a wave of allergic symptoms like itchy eyes, runny noses, and hacking coughs. However, these symptoms are generally coincidental. Most seasonal allergies are caused by the pollen from the grass, weeds, and trees that also grow this time of year.
Stay Away from People! Myth 5: You Get the Flu From Being In Crowds
One of the theories about the cold and flu viruses is that spending time in large groups of people helps the spread of colds and flu viruses. Although you’re more likely to catch the flu if you’re around other people than if you stay home alone, you’re actually less likely to catch the flu in a warm room filled with people than you are being outdoors in the winter weather with a few other people. A 2007 study by Dr. Palese in the October issue of PLoS Pathogens Journal showed that the flu virus thrived on low-humidity temperatures around 40 degrees. The warmer the weather got, and the more humidity was present, the harder it was to transmit the flu, so being in a warm humid room around a lot of people – even if some of them have the flu, isn’t a very efficient way to get sick.
Preparing for Spring Illnesses and Allergies
Recognizing common Spring cold and allergy myths can help you make the proper preparations for warmer weather. Keep your family healthy with plenty of sunshine, fresh fruits and vegetables, and regular exercise, keep allergy medication on hand if you suffer from severe springtime allergies, avoid sick individuals, and practice frequent hand washing. Ignore the myths, and get prepared now, to prevent the spread of cold and flu viruses any time of year.
How do you prepare for springtime colds and allergies?