Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever: Debunking the Old Saying

Doctors Dismiss Old Adage of Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever as Nonsense

According to experts, you should feed yourself when you have a cold or a fever.

News Picture: Feed a Cold and a Fever, Experts Say

We’ve all heard the age-old advice to “feed a cold, starve a fever.” But guess what? That saying is a load of baloney, according to experts at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Turns out, regardless of whether you have a cold or a fever, adequate nutrition is essential for fighting off respiratory viruses. So put down those crackers and pick up a fork!

Your Body’s Defense Mechanisms Need Fuel

Fevers are just one of the many defense mechanisms your body uses to fight off infections. Dr. Pedro Piedra, a professor at Baylor, explains that all of your body’s immune responses require energy gained from eating a well-balanced diet. So when you’re feeling under the weather, it’s crucial to give your body the nutrients it needs to combat those nasty bugs.

Now, we understand that losing your appetite when you’re sick is a common occurrence. But don’t let that stop you from eating. Even if you don’t feel like it, try to have a nutritious meal. It will help give your immune system a boost and provide the energy your body requires to heal.

Cold Weather and Its Role in Respiratory Infections

Did you know that cold weather increases your risk of catching the flu, common cold, and even COVID-19? It’s true! When it’s chilly outside, people tend to huddle together indoors, making it easier for viruses to spread. Plus, colder temperatures allow viruses to survive on surfaces for longer periods of time. So, that saying about wet hair and cold environments contributing to sickness isn’t entirely false. Wet hair won’t make you catch a virus, but it may weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to illness.

The Importance of Staying Hydrated

In addition to eating enough, it’s essential to stay hydrated when you’re sick. Drinking warm tea not only helps with hydration but also soothes sore throats. Speaking of sore throats, gargling with warm saltwater can provide relief by reducing irritation and removing excess mucus.

Seeking Medical Help and Taking Antiviral Drugs

If you’ve fallen ill, it’s a good idea to get tested for flu or COVID-19. If your test comes back positive, speak to your doctor about antiviral drugs that can help shorten the duration of your illness. These medications are most effective when taken early on in the infection, so don’t delay in seeking medical advice. And if your symptoms worsen or you have trouble breathing, contact your physician immediately.

Prevention is Key

Remember, prevention is always better than cure. Getting vaccinated against respiratory infections like the flu, COVID-19, and RSV can significantly decrease your risk. Additionally, wearing a mask, practicing good hand hygiene, and maintaining social distance are effective ways to minimize the spread of viruses.

If you want to learn more about the role of nutrition in fighting respiratory infections, check out this interesting article that explains it in detail.

Q&A: Addressing Your Concerns

Q: Which illness is known as a viral upper respiratory tract infection? A: The viral upper respiratory tract infection is commonly referred to as the common cold. Learn more about it in this engaging quiz.

Learn More About Cold and Flu

To further your knowledge about the differences between influenza and the common cold, and discover ways to prevent and treat these contagious viruses, take a look at this insightful article.


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We hope you found this article informative and engaging. If you did, don’t forget to share it with your friends and family on social media. Let’s spread knowledge and help others stay healthy!