‘Tis the Season to Catch a Cold!


As a brilliant and fabulous woman, you don’t have time to complain about a little cold. If your symptoms are bad enough that you actually make a doctor’s appointment, you know it must be a truly awful infection. Or worse, you push yourself through the first few days of symptoms but eventually show up in an urgent care office with a runny nose, a sore throat and a cough that makes people move away from you on the subway.

You’ve done the right thing, going to the doctor to get checked out. She runs some tests and tells you it’s a virus, but you’re sure that can’t be right. Clearly, this is more than just a measly virus. It must be bacterial, like strep throat or a sinus infection. You need antibiotics… Right?

Not so fast, sister-friend! You’ve fallen victim to a myth.

Here are four of the most common myths in flu and cold season:

Myth: If an infection is bad, or lasts longer than a few days, it needs antibiotics.

Fact: Viruses can be just as bad – or worse – than a bacterial infection. The flu virus alone kills half a million people every year. Other deadly viruses include Ebola, malaria and rabies. There isn’t a magical time limit that means an infection MUST be bacterial, and viruses can be severe enough to kill.

Myth: Antibiotics will help, even if it is a virus.

Fact: Viruses don’t have the parts that are attacked by antibiotics (like cell walls and the ability to metabolize nutrients), so antibiotics are useless against them. Viruses live inside your cells, using your body’s own machinery to manufacture everything they need. Sneaky little devils.

Myth: Taking antibiotics just in case won’t hurt anything.

Fact: Even the seemingly innocuous Z-Pak increases your risk of yeast infections, bacterial diarrhea, abnormal heart rhythms, liver damage, and a deadly rash called toxic epidermal necrolysis. (Don’t Google Image it. Trust me.) Plus, the more antibiotics we use, the more the surviving bacteria “learn” about how to defeat them. Scientists predict antibiotic resistance may someday lead to a superbug that will kill off the entire human race. So… that’s not great.

Myth: Green snot means a sinus infection and needs antibiotics.

Fact: Green snot means your white blood cells are fighting against invaders – but those invaders could be viral or bacterial. The green color means white blood cells have bravely sacrificed themselves to defend the integrity of your respiratory system, leaving behind iron-rich enzymes that cause the green coloration. Take a moment of silence for those brave cells, and honor their sacrifice by not taking unnecessary antibiotics!

I sincerely hope you avoid colds and flus this cold and flu season, but if you get sick, be sure to get checked out by your physician, even if you feel like you’re too busy. You’re too important to neglect your health!

With Love,


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