5 myths about preventing and curing a cold

The cold arrives and, like every year, colds and colds return. The appearance of the first snot of the year generates a wave of queries about rremedies to prevent and cure these ailments. But what is true and what is not about these practices? Four experts questioned by EL PERIÓDICO dismantle some of the most common myths on how to prevent and cure a cold.

Before entering the debate, the doctor and preventivist Vincent Baos put all the cards on the table. “When we talk about colds we talk about a viral infection that affects the upper respiratory tract“, points out the doctor. The origin of the snot, the headache and the general discomfort of colds, then, is none other than a virus. Or rather, a wide range of pathogens that circulate at these times of the year. “These viruses take advantage of the fact that in autumn and winter, when the weather is colder and drier, we make more life indoors and the ‘bugs’ can pass from one person to another,” says Baos.

“The best prevention is hygiene and prevention measures and the best remedy is relief. Everything else is nonsense”

Vicente Baos, preventive doctor

The specialist explains that the cold season, which is concentrated in the cold months of each hemisphere, is part of a natural process of virus circulation (which, by the way, was interrupted last year by the expansive presence of covid-19). On average, it is estimated that an adult person has between two and five colds a year and that children have between four and eight. In most cases, these viruses cause mild and They heal with time and patience.. “The best prevention is hygiene and prevention measures and the best remedy is relief. Everything else is nonsense,” summarizes Baos.


One of the most widespread beliefs about the cause of colds is the cold. But according to the doctor and communicator Esther Samper, there is nothing more erroneous than the typical ‘wrap up, you’re going to catch a cold’. “The cause of colds and flu are viruses and not the coldneither sudden changes in temperature nor air currents”, explains Samper. According to the doctor in the book ‘If it stings it heals: 50 bad health practices revealed’, “you could be in Siberia itself at -40 degrees and with a swimsuit that if you are not in contact with any virus, you will not get a cold. On the contrary, you could wear more layers than an onion and catch a cold from being in contact with a virus.”

The fact that we associate colds with the cold, explains Samper, is due to a combination of circumstances. For one thing, viruses survive (and spread) better in cool, dry environments. On the other hand, the low temperatures of these times “decrease the defensive capacity of the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract, facilitating infection by viruses.” Finally, as Baos also said, the fact that in autumn and winter we spend more time indoors creates the perfect breeding ground for the virus to pass from one person to another. Exactly the same as occurs with the coronavirus responsible for covid-19.

Vitamin supplements

Is it any use to drink vitamin supplements to prevent a cold? the nutritionist Julius Basult, an eminence to deny hoaxes about food, answers with a resounding no. “Taking vitamin supplements will not prevent you from catching a cold. Not even an orange juice full of vitamin C, an actimel or some pills that are advertised saying that they are the best shield for your defenses”, comments the promoter. The principle, he explains, is simple. There is only one compound that is designed to reinforce the defenses; the vaccines .”Everything else is bullshit“, wields Basulto.

“Taking vitamin supplements will not prevent you from catching a cold. Neither will an orange juice full of vitamin C”

Julio Basulto, nutritionist

As Basulto explains, there is no magic formula to strengthen the immune system. On paper, to maintain healthy defenses you have to follow a healthy lifestyle that includes a healthy and balanced diet, a correct sleep pattern and a good physical exercise routine. But, according to the popularizer, not even these good habits serve to prevent colds.

“Eat better or sleeping more this season won’t dodge a cold. Although I am the first who wants to promote healthy lifestyle habits, I cannot say that ‘eating well helps against colds’ because that would be giving false hope,” concludes Basulto.

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Honey, ginger and garlic

We have all heard that one teaspoon of honeya ginger infusion or a paste of garlic is ‘mano de santo’ against colds. Basulto refutes all these home remedies based on scientific evidence. “Several studies have been done on these issues and none have found strong evidence to demonstrate the effectiveness of these compounds”, comments the promoter. The nutritionist also rules out the use of propolis, echinacea and food supplements natural, because they do not have the support of scientific evidence.

According to Basulto, the best trick to recognize this type of hoax is the critical sense. “If it sounds too good to be true, it’s not true.“, ditch the expert.

“If it sounds too good to be true, it’s not true”


“Today there is no medication or therapy that shortens the duration of a cold. What does exist is an arsenal of symptom relief products“, explains the pharmacist Roi Cal, spokesman for the Farmaciencia platform. “In pharmacies they sell things that work very well to relieve colds and things that do not work at all, such as homeopathy”, illustrates the expert.

“Today there is no medication or therapy that shortens the duration of a cold. What does exist is an arsenal of products to relieve symptoms”

Royal Cal, pharmacist

As Cal explains, “the best medicine it is the one recommended by your doctor or your pharmacist and not the one advertised on TV saying that it works miracles for everyone”. The expert advises against self-medication because, far from being an innocuous practice, the mixture of drugs can generate adverse effects. example, Cal also explains that some anti-flu are contraindicated for people taking medications for depression or with blood-thinning conditions.

house and blanket

The best cure for colds, summarizes Dr. Vicente Baos, is “stay home for a few days and rest“.”There is no magic remedy that makes your symptoms disappear, but if you stay at home for a few days you prevent the discomfort from getting worse and, in addition, you do not contribute to the ‘breeding ground’ to infect others“, comments the specialist, who recalls that in countries like Germany “it is frowned upon to go to work sick”.

Once home, Baos advises act with common senseget under a blanket and have a little patience until symptoms fade. “A tea with honey will not cure your cold, because if you have a sore throat, it will be more pleasant for you to drink that than a piece of coarse and dry bread”, exemplifies the doctor. “The viral process goes inside and advances at its own pace, regardless of your wishes and needs. Do you know that nature acts on its own? Well, it applies to both the stars and the lymphocytes,” jokes Baos.

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