Saturday, January 20, 2018

Colds and Flu! – the Myths

December 10, 2010 by  
Filed under From the Editor, Just me

Colds and Flu – the Myths!

When winter greets you with a cold or flu, its hard to get ready for the holiday season. Here are some common myths debunked to make sure you’re getting the right treatment.

Feed a cold and starve a fever

False. Colds and Flu can each have symptoms of fever and congestion which benefit from increasing your fluid intake to hydrate and help you decongest plus you need to eat to keep up your strength.

clinical thermometers coutesy of Wikipedia

clinical thermometers coutesy of Wikipedia

If the reading isn’t 98.6 you’re sick.

False. Actually everyone’s internal temperature varies with adults 60 and over running slightly cooler by up to a degree and a child’s frequently runs higher.  Our temperature varies from hour to hour based on activity level, health, age and surroundings. 98.6 Fahrenheit became the ‘standard’ in a study over a 100 years ago when thermometers were much more primitive and not as accurate.

Temperatures of 98.6 – 100 degrees Fahrenheit equal a low grade fever.

False. As above, that range is fairly normal, depending on age, surroundings and activity level. A low grade fever would be an internal temperature of 100 – 102 degrees Fahrenheit.

You can take someone’s  temperature by touching their skin

False. Your sense of touch is not an accurate measure of fever since your perception is affected by how hot or cold your own temperature is. The only way to get an accurate measurement is with a reliable thermometer.


If you don’t treat a fever it will get higher and higher.

False. The brain has its own internal temperature ceiling, and Fevers from infections like Flu rarely go higher than 103 – 104 degrees although it is possible.

Fevers over 104 degrees are dangerous, and all fevers can cause brain damage.

False. Fevers from infection are unlikely to go over 104 and don’t cause brain damage. Only very rare internal body temperatures in excess of 108 degrees can cause brain damage.

Getting in a cold bath will reduce a fever.

False. Actually the opposite is true, the body’s response to being put in cold water is to shiver which would raise your internal temperature.


So treat your symptoms, keep warm, hydrated, eat and get plenty of rest plus call your Doctor if symptoms persist.



23 Responses to “Colds and Flu! – the Myths”
  1. Fiona Stolze says:

    Great post Laine. And so timely. My youngest has just fallen ill with fever and sickness. So he went off last night wrapped up, told me he was fine and just had a long, long sleep. I used to get a little nervous when the kids were all little babies and had those really high fevers that lasted 3 days but it all passed doing the things you mentioned above. Trusting that our bodies know what they are doing. :-)

    Fiona Stolze

  2. Did you write this for me, Laine?!? lol

    Good stuff. I’m staying hydrated (tea and juice at this moment) and resting (slept 11 hours last night, instead of my usual 5). More lounging & rest today…

  3. Laine D. says:

    That’s too funny Heidi, We do seem to be in sync don’t we. Not funny for you since your suffering ~ we had it last week and since its like fruit cake and gets passed around it will probably be back again in 2 weeks.

    Remember to avoid milk as it can irritate the mucus membrane and make you more congested and placing a garment steamer next to your bed works if you don’t have a air hydration machine.

    Hope Atticus and Wilbur are taking care of you.
    Laine D.

  4. Laine D. says:

    Oh I know how that feels, K is currently fighting it and sounds like a mix between Eartha Kit and an 60 year old Jewish lady from New York.

    One tip I learned is the coat the bottom of their feet in Vicks and put socks on over the top. You wouldn’t believe how well it works.

    And… because of that reinfection cycle, (you know how you get it again 10 days later) strip the bed and boil* the bedding once he gets better including the pillow if possible (*or use really hot wash – you can pour additional hot water into your machine through the soap dispenser because most hot water from the tap is limited to below 120 degrees and that just give cold germs a warm bath)

    Hope he feels better soon, make sure you look after yourself with extra vitamins and more rest too..

    Laine D.

  5. What a great list Laine. You have dispelled & debunked the “old wives tales” that I grew up on. Good to know that they were all lies. So I am ready to deal with whatever blows my way.

    Jennifer Duchene
    Home Makeover Mixtress

  6. Yes, do all those things :) Mind you I think the best thing is to stay as healthy as you can all the time and then you are more resistant to the bugs. I haven’t had a cold or flu for quite some time (in fact the last I remember is when the girls and I got a mild dose of swine flu). Probably jinxed that now though eh?
    Louise Edington
    Facing Fears and Frontiers Over Fifty

  7. So basically everything I’ve ever learned about colds and flus was wrong! Geesh – what’s up with that?? Thanks for setting things straight!

    Sharon Hiebing
    Follow Your Dream Compass

  8. Thanks for the additional info, Laine. and, Louise, I totally agree with you (and jinxed myself last week when I casually mentioned that I hadn’t had a cold/flu in a really long time :) )

  9. Great post…I definitely beleive in allowing the cold/flu to run its course and trusting your body to heal :-)
    Brandy Mychals
    Split Second Perceptions

  10. Allison says:

    When my younger daughter was about 5 or 6 and really really sick with high fever that didn’t seem to change, she eventually began hallucinating. We decided it was time to take more aggressive action when we asked her what her name was, she giggled and answered, “Minnie Mouse.”

    We trundled her off to the hospital in the middle of the night. (BTW — I discovered that night that the easiest way to get immediate attention in the ER is to say, “I afraid my child has encephalitis!!” The greater the number of people who are waiting, and thelouder you say it, the faster they get out of the waiting room!)

    While we were waiting in a private room for the doctor (you gotta love a dread disease like “encephalitis”!!), she started looking around at the labels on the drawers. Out of nowhere, she said, “I know how they do that. They have a thing like a gun and it has a roll of something in it and you make it go one letter at a time and you squeeze the handle and it makes a letter show up on that strip that’s coming from the roll, and then when you have all the letters of the word you want, you push it out and cut it off and then there’s some glue on the back like scotch tape and that makes it stick to the drawer.”

    I took a deep breath and said to myself “Okay, we can go home now.”

    That was the night I learned that hallucination is due to a rapid change in the temperature of the brain, and is as likely to occur on the way DOWN as it is on the way UP!

  11. Laine D. says:

    I think we all grew up with them Jen because people didn’t know any better. They knew some people died and some didn’t and figured what didn’t killed you made you better 😀 Of course it had more to do with someones level of nutrition, natural resilience etc etc.

    I have no doubt you can deal with anything!

    Laine D

  12. Laine D. says:

    Hopefully not! I have times I can shrug them off and times I catch every one. I think just now I am trying to do too much. Make sure you are taking those supplements so it doesn’t happen.

    I’m convinced that living somewhere were it gets really cold helps, here the bugs have a tropical climate to grow and multiply and it barely gets below freezing to kill them off.

    Laine D.

  13. Laine D. says:

    Well.. not quite everything, I’m sure there were reasons for those ideas becoming popular just like the Earth being flat but they are not quite as true as they could be. Trick is to just listen to your body!

    Keep well and then you don’t need them.

    Laine D

  14. Laine D. says:

    Poor baby – yep that will do it don’t ever mention those ” I haven’t words…” but it sounds like you are taking care of yourself now.. You mean Atticus can’t cook up a batch of Jewish Penicillin (Chicken Soup)?

    Laine D.

  15. Laine D. says:

    Absolutely, hydrate, eat, take meds if you have to but keep warm and rest ! You have to give your system something to work with.

    Keep well
    Laine D.
    Aspire to Inspire

  16. Laine D. says:

    Isn’t that just it, our children are frequently our biggest challenge! Never are we so uncertain of our ability.
    We lost a couple of children to encephalitis several years ago so I’ve seen the panic.

    Glad your daughter recovered so quickly I remember vividly my oldest coming down with RSV at 9 month and her sisters bout of pneumonia in 4th grade that came on in 40 minutes!

    I know My Mum says I am responsible for most of her gray hair 😀 and I was never really sick until I was in my thirties. The truth is my daredevil antics was saved for another forum, I used to send her postcards which she would receive once I was back 😀 Including being in a war zone.

    Laine D.

  17. I have been sick for a week. Hydration and zinc for me. I finally had to go to the immediate care to get antibiotic and something to keep me from coughing all night long. I dont like sleeping in a chair.

  18. Laine D. says:

    Poor Julia, sleeping in a chair definitely isn’t fun. Hope the trip to the urgent care helped and you recover quickly. I’ve spent the weekend boil washing all the bedding and using UV light on the beds hoping that the germs are gone.

    Feel better
    Laine D

  19. thanks for all the great information, wow i never knew that if you get in a cold bath your body goes into colder shock..

  20. Laine D. says:

    Thanks Veronica – glad to help 😀
    Us girls have got to look after each other.

    Laine D.


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