While we are gradually finding a social life and exchanges similar to those preceding the Covid and the confinements that followed, colds (re) are starting to become far too common. This summer, a TikTok video even went viral when it offered an original technique to deal with a runny nose: namely putting garlic in the nose… One example among many alleged treatments or remedies .

To set the record straight, we asked two experts to look at some of the most common colds beliefs.

1. Can I catch a cold by “catching a cold”?

It will not have escaped anyone’s notice that colds are more common in winter. Like other infections of the upper respiratory tract (nose, throat and windpipe), they are usually caused by a virus.

There is, perhaps, some truth to the idea that being cold can promote the development of these germs – and therefore of a cold: seasonal changes in temperature can modify the lining of our throats. and our windpipe, which can eventually facilitate infection of local cells by viruses.

However, the main reason we catch more colds in the winter is because we spend more time indoors, in confined spaces, in contact with other people – the perfect circumstances and environment to be transmitted. viruses.

2. Does putting garlic in your nose help?

It’s been a big trend on TikTok recently: sticking garlic cloves in your nose to supposedly benefit from their decongestant virtue. Placing something in his nostrils will effectively block the natural flow of mucus, but when the obstruction is removed, the flow resumes as a simple drip or with more vigor.

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This temporary blockade is not a good idea: the mucus in fact not only helps to trap and eliminate pathogens, including viruses, but it also contains antibodies and can help reduce certain traits of viruses, such as their infectivity and their transmissibility. To be avoided therefore.

In addition, while garlic contains certain anti-inflammatory compounds, in particular, it is also full of a whole series of elements that can irritate the skin, nose, eyes, etc. This could damage very sensitive local mucous membranes (and make congestion worse), lead to bleeding, or even get stuck. So it doesn’t really help and can even be dangerous. In general, sticking something in the nose is never a good solution.

3. Can herbal remedies have a preventive effect?

Various herbal remedies claim to prevent or speed up recovery from a common cold. People often mention coneflowers, plants of the Asteraceae family that grow in North America.

Some trials have suggested a slight preventative effect, but large studies do not show a statistically significant reduction in disease levels.

Turmeric is also touted as a preventative drug, yet there is no strong evidence for its effectiveness either. Its potential antibiotic activities are still under investigation, but antibiotics have no effect on viruses.

4. Can Vitamin C Help?

Nobel laureate in Chemistry Linus Pauling suggested in the 1970s that high-dose vitamin C could be an effective treatment for many viral infections.

But a Cochrane review, a very robust system in which researchers assess the evidence, found that vitamin C did not prevent colds, but could reduce their duration, in some people. Since vitamin C supplements of around 200 mg per day are considered low risk, some suggest that this is a reasonable strategy to shorten the effects of a cold. However, be careful with overdoses, which do not bring any additional benefit.

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5. Does vitamin D prevent colds?

Vitamin D has gone from being a “sunshine vitamin” associated with bone health to that of a vitamin associated with reducing the risks of heart disease, diabetes and viruses. We have been particularly interested in vitamin D to help us fight against the flu and, more recently, against Covid-19.

Vitamin D plays an important role in supporting immunity, which is essential for fighting viruses.

Laboratory experiments show that it plays an important role in supporting immunity, which is essential for fighting viruses. The problem could be that some people have insufficient vitamin D levels. The sun allows us to make our own vitamin D, but winter is not conducive to it.

It is therefore likely to be a good idea to take vitamin D supplements in winter, as advised by the UK government, in order to get enough intake, which can help prevent colds.

6. What about chicken soups?

Grandmother’s remedy par excellence, chicken soup is haloed with many benefits against colds. Like honey, it might have some interest in symptom management… But it is unlikely to have any real impact in warding off the infection.

Studies have been conducted regarding its effect on our immune system cells, but the results are far from conclusive. Which does not mean that we should forget the famous soup! The water in the soup promotes hydration, which is often a problem when you have a cold. Like most hot drinks, it can also help relieve sore sinuses.

Unfortunately, there are no miracle cures for the common cold. Some suggestions can be helpful and usually aren’t harmful, such as getting enough vitamins C and D. But others are definitely not worth trying and can be risky, such as putting garlic in your nose. The best thing to do, when you’re bedridden with a runny nose and red eyes, is to get rest, stay warm, and drink plenty to stay hydrated.

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This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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