Cold and Flu Myths

Reporter: Lucy Polkinghorne

The familiar flu season is here again and the dreaded disease is poised to strike. And to help you stay infection free we're exposing what's fact and what's fiction in common cold and flu remedies.

"We need to keep up the vitamin c so lots of citrus fruit, honey and lemon drink"

And we've brought in the experts to weigh in on works and what doesn't. Influenza specialst Dr Rodney Pearce says the flu vaccine should be our first defence.

"At worst case scenario the flu vaccine will give you a less severe flu at best it will protect you completely from the virus"

But can you get the flu from the vaccination?

According to Dr Pearce that's a myth. Though it still begs the question so many feel unwell after the jab?

"Those uncomfortable feelings those aches and pains that people complain about is not the flu it's the body producing antibodies that will protect you from the real thing"

Okay so that one myth down. So how is it spread? So is it just those coughs and sneezes we have to dodge?

"Its not just from a sneeze or coughing. Direct contact from handling something that's got the virus in it, contact with drinking vessels utensils that have got the virus on it, can transmit the virus"

And can you really catch a cold if you go outside with wet hair or clothes?

"There is no more risk of catching a cold just because your hair is wet or your clothes are wet"

What about the old tale that you can get rid of a cold... By simply sweating it out?

"No you can't sweat out a cold or increase the effectiveness of your immune response by being in a hot room or going into a spa"

And even trusty advice of rubbing Vicks on the chest, feet or back won't do the trick.

"Putting vicks on your feet, putting vicks anywhere doesn't fix a cold quicker"

So is an apple a day as good as they say?

"People talk about an apple a day keeps the doctor away an apple a day maybe helps with the flu, based on the myth with vitamin c it turns out that doesn't actually make a difference"

But even so your food can be your medicine according to dietician Tania Ferraretto.

"if you want to ward of cold and flu this winter is to eat really well, really healthy food, it will serve you well"

A hot bowl of chicken soup has been many mums cure for the common cold but does it really do anything?

"It'll fill you up, keep you warm but also keep you well"

"You are not going to get over cold or flu any quicker with chicken soup or chicken broth"

So what about vitamins will they help ward off the lurgies?

"We've got no evidence that vitamins, echina or anything like that really alters a cold and particularly influenza isn't affected by it"

But Tania Ferraretto believes there are significant health benefits in upping the intake of fruits, vegies and meat.

"So how do all these foods help to ward off cold and flu?"

"They are very high in vitamins and minerals that help your immune system to fight a cold or the flu antioxidants are very good for that too they are very rich in antioxidants also some other properties, zinc, vitamin C they've both been very well studied for immunity"

And while a strong immune system can reduce the severity of disease Dr Pearce says there's only way to kick the flu and that's with anti viral treatment.

"In a nasty flu season there's no question of if you can avoid it it's just a question of how serious it's going to be"