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A weekly show where we debunk common misconceptions. This week, Elliott discusses some misconceptions about getting sick.

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I am Elliott and this is Mental Floss on YouTube. Today I'm going to talk to you about some misconceptions about getting sick. 

 Misconception No. 1: Vitamin C can prevent or treat colds (0:17)

In 2007 researchers compared 29 studies containing a total of 11,306 subjects to determine whether vitamin C was an effective way to prevent the common cold. All of the trials involve subjects who took more than 0.2 grams of vitamin C daily as well as comparisons with subjects that took placebos.They found that vitamin C did not reduce the incidence of common cold though it's possible that the vitamin may have made the colds last less long. So drink your orange juice. Or don't

 Misconception No. 2: You can sweat a cold out (0:47)

Some people believe that when you catch a cold the way to cure a cold is by wrapping yourself up in a blanket so that you can sweat the germs out of your body. That is not true. As for whether you should exercise when you have a cold? Doctors actually have mixed opinions. It probably won't cure you, but if you're up for it, keep the exercise moderate and you should be just fine. Or you can do what I do and get your exercise in by whining constantly. 

 Misconception No. 3: You can only get the flu once per season (1:09)

Usually during a given flu season there are more than one strains of flu going around. It's quite possible to catch the different types of flu within that season. This is why the flu shot protects again multiple strains, usually the ones that are expected to be the worst offenders that year. 

 Misconception No. 4: Going out in cold temperatures will make you catch a cold (1:27)

You no doubt had someone in your life tell you to bundle up or risk catching a cold and it sort of makes sense right? People always seem to get sicker during the winter time. Still we all know that the common cold comes from a virus, so what’s the deal? In 2005, the Common Cold Center in Cardiff, UK tested this by putting the feet of 90 students in cold water for 20 minutes. Within five days, this group had twice as many colds as people in a control group. Lucky test subjects. But the researchers believe that it wasn’t the cold water that made their subjects “catch” the common cold. Instead these people probably already had the virus present in their nose and the cold water hindered their immune system, then the symptoms started to show. So the next time you’re wanting a nice cold foot bath, don’t.

 Misconception No. 5: Stomach Flu = Influenza (2:11)

When a person is experiencing nausea or vomiting or diarrhea, they tend to say that they have the stomach flu. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, these can occur if you have influenza, but they are also symptoms of other viruses. Usually the flu will give more respiratory problems as opposed to stomach issues.

 Misconception No. 6 If you have food poisoning, the last thing you ate is to blame. (2:30)

It might be, but also might not be. Every pathogen is different, so before you write that nasty Yelp review, think back a little further than the past few hours. It’s possible what made you sick could have been something you ate up to three days ago. It also may not have come from food at all. You can pick up these bugs from a contaminated surface like a counter. I got food poisoning earlier this year from a Super Bowl party, proving that I am even terrible at watching sports.

 Misconception No. 7 Vaccines are dangerous. (2:56)

Mark do I really have to talk about this because it seems… its kind of more like a like an outlandish rumor than a mis… Okay fine. So according to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, the most you’re probably risking is when you get a vaccine is having a sore arm or a mild fever. More serious symptoms are so rare that the risk can’t be accurately determined. But it’s in the range of one per thousands to one per millions of doses. The same goes for risk of death, it’s so hard to draw a connection between death and vaccine, but they know that the odds are very very low. Let’s compare that with the benefits of vaccination. According to the World Health Organization, immunization prevents two to three million deaths annually. Polio cases have decrease by over 99% since 1998 and global measles mortality has decreased 74% since 2000.

 Misconception No. 8 The flu shot isn’t worth it because it isn’t that effective.= (3:44)

I know that shots are scary, but unfortunately I have to tell you that it is kind of worth it. A 2013 study showed that flu vaccines led to 71% reduction in flu related hospitalizations in adults. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention also announced that 90% of children who died of the flu in 2013 had not had the flu shot. It’s also helpful for pregnant women. Receiving a flu shot makes it 92% more likely for infants to avoid hospitalization for the influenza in their first 6 months of life. 

 Misconception No. 9 Starve a fever, feed a cold. (4:16)

You should be eating whether you have a fever or a cold, but it turns out, you actually burn more calories when you have a fever because your body temperature and metabolism are increased. So you should definitely be eating calories to keep up with this change in your system. Doctors do not recommend peanut butter Oreos dipped in milk, however. I do though, that’s…it’s amazing… it’s a great snack. 

 Misconception No. 10 You must have a weak immune system if you catch a cold. (4:38)

Actually once you come in contact with the virus, your immune system has little to do with it. A 1992 study put the virus in subject’s noses, and found that over 90% became infected. 75% of those people went on to show symptoms of the cold. Even very healthy people can catch the cold. 
Thank you for watching Misconceptions on Mental Floss on YouTube. If you have an idea for a topic for an upcoming episode of Misconceptions, let me know what it is in the comments section down below and I will see you next week. Goodbye.