Health & Fitness
Nov 17, 2015

9 facts and fictions about cold and flu season you need to know now

By: Carli Whitwell

Getty Author: Elle Canada Credits: Getty

Health & Fitness
Nov 17, 2015

9 facts and fictions about cold and flu season you need to know now

By: Carli Whitwell

 

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9 facts and fictions about cold and flu season you need to know now

FICTION: I don’t need a flu shot because I still always get sick

Actually, only about 20 percent of Canadians will get the flu. While a flu shot won’t protect you from every strain, “you are much less likely to be hospitalized with severe influenza if you’ve been immunized,” says family physician Dr. Vivien Brown, who (full disclosure) is on the board of Immunize Canada. If you decide you do want the flu shot, now’s the time to get it. It takes the body about two weeks to develop an immune response and doctors are expecting the flu to hit at the end of December.   READ MORE: 12 immune-boosting superfoods you need to add to your diet this winter

By: Carli Whitwell Source: Getty Credits: ELLE Canada

9 facts and fictions about cold and flu season you need to know now

FICTION: Hand sanitizer is better than soap

Plain old soap and hot water is best, says Brown. Wash hands for at least 15 seconds. (Or try singing the chorus to “Hotline Bling” to yourself at least twice. Our experts agree: frequent hand washing is an easy way to stave off cold and flu. “You touch a rail or a door handle or something which is contaminated, and then it’s very easy for you to give it to yourself,” says Brown. Michelle W. Book, the Canadian Health Food Association’s holistic nutritionist, also recommends covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough and to avoid close contact with people who are sick.   READ MORE: 9 athleisure lines that will make you embrace the trend

By: Carli Whitwell Source: Getty Credits: ELLE Canada

9 facts and fictions about cold and flu season you need to know now

FACT: Stress can make you sick

No wonder we always get a cold during finals! Let me explain why: on our chromosomes are little caps called telomeres. When we are stressed, these collapse, causing cells to age faster. Reducing stress is thought to slow down this aging process and also put less pressure on the immune system.   READ MORE: 10 celebrities who are giving us major fitspo

By: Carli Whitwell Source: Getty Credits: ELLE Canada

9 facts and fictions about cold and flu season you need to know now

FACT: You shouldn’t go to work when you’re not feeling well

It’s just going to make everyone else sick. Stay home and indulge in a Pretty Little Liars marathon instead. If – and this is a big IF – you must go into the office, only do so if you don’t have a fever. “If you have a mild runny nose, a slight cough, you’re just not feeling 100 percent, yes you’re probably contagious, but I’m much less worried than if you have that picture with fever. Fever is a marker of how invasive this infection is,” says Brown.   READ MORE: Is there an exercise pill in our future?

By: Carli Whitwell Source: Getty Credits: ELLE Canada

9 facts and fictions about cold and flu season you need to know now

FACT: A hot shower can help you feel better

Hopping in the shower or bath can make it easier to breathe if you are congested. Overnight alternative: put a humidifier in your room.   READ MORE: 5 Canadian yoga retreats to try now

By: Carli Whitwell Source: Getty Credits: ELLE Canada

9 facts and fictions about cold and flu season you need to know now

FACT: You must eat balanced meals when you’re sick

You may only feel like tea and toast, but the more balanced your meals are, the better. “You want to be getting in your greens, your antioxidants, your citrus fruits. The reality is, this is when you want to eat at your healthiest." Drink plenty of liquids but avoid caffeine – it’s dehydrating.   READ MORE: Why saying "thank you" can save your relationship

By: Carli Whitwell Source: Getty Credits: ELLE Canada

9 facts and fictions about cold and flu season you need to know now

FACT: Chicken soup can help fight cold or flu

It fact, we consider it practically a superfood. Here’s why: chicken contains proteins that help the immune system make antibodies, according to Book. The broth, meanwhile, helps to replace lost fluids and electrolytes in the body. Chicken noodle not your jam? Book also recommends lentil and minestrone soups. “The beans contain lots of protein and veggie broth is full of electrolytes as well.”   READ MORE: How to avoid overeating at holiday parties

By: Carli Whitwell Source: Getty Credits: ELLE Canada

9 facts and fictions about cold and flu season you need to know now

FICTION: Vitamin C can prevent you from getting sick

We all remember from Grade 7 history what happened to Canadian pioneers when they didn’t get enough Vitamin C – scurvy. But while this vitamin is essential for the growth and repair of bones, teeth and other tissues, it won’t prevent sickness or heal you when you’re sick, says Book. There, is, however, some evidence that taking Vitamin C supplements can reduce the severity of colds.   READ MORE: 6 steps to finding the perfect sports bra

By: Carli Whitwell Source: Getty Credits: ELLE Canada

9 facts and fictions about cold and flu season you need to know now

FICTION: All bacteria are bad

Nope, probiotics, for example, are a girl’s best friend. “They maintain a healthy digestive system, help prevent excessive cholesterol in the bloodstream, and keep the immune system primed to ward off common infections,” says Book. Look for probiotics in foods such as yogurt, kimchi, saukeraut and miso soup.   READ MORE: Is THIS the new thigh gap?

By: Carli Whitwell Source: Getty Credits: ELLE Canada
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9 facts and fictions about cold and flu season you need to know now