Salisbury Doctor Dispels Common Cold Weather Health Myths - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Salisbury Doctor Dispels Common Cold Weather Health Myths

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SALISBURY, Md.- As flu season heats up and temperatures continue to cool way down, many of us are taking extra steps to avoid getting sick. We probably all remember hearing our mom tell us not to go outside in the cold with wet hair or without a coat. You'll get sick, right? Don't count on it.

"True or false," WBOC asked Robert Hoffman of Ocean City, "Cold weather can make you sick."

"True," he said. "I mean, if you don't dress warm and protect yourself, sure you're going to get sick."

"Make you sick, I don't know," responded Andrew Parr of Salisbury. "I think it's from germs."

So, who is right?

"It's not the cold that makes you ill, it's the virus that makes you ill," explained Dr. Walter Gianelle of Your Doc's In.

It is one of the biggest medical myths out there: That being exposed to the cold, will give you a cold. But, according to Dr. Gianelle, there is no denying that viral illnesses are more common this time of year.

"Some of the studies have suggested that it's the season, the cold weather, tends to make the virus more stable, therefore it is less susceptible to degradation, as opposed to being exposed to the heat," noted Dr. Gianelle. "Therefore, it is in the environment longer, and therefore it spreads within the community."

And what about major fluctuations in temperature, like we are experiencing this week?

"You're in and out from one different temperature to another, and if you're not dressed appropriately, you will end up somewhere," said Lana McKinney of Salisbury. "Doctor's office, hospital, somewhere."

Not exactly, said Dr. Gianelle.

"The only thing one can say about those things is that you can stress the body," he explained. "When you stress the body, you in essence can stress the immunity, which would make you more susceptible to developing an infection if you contract the virus, but it does not cause the illness."

Another common myth, according to Dr. Gianelle, is that you can get the flu from the flu shot. He recommends everyone get vaccinated to avoid getting infected. Additionally, he recommends maintaining proper nutrition and washing your hands regularly to prevent the spread of germs.

Of course, if you don't bundle up, you run the risk of getting frostbite or hypothermia with temperatures like these, but going out without a coat or hat will not cause you to become ill.

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