Winter Health Myths Debunked

Along with the bitter temperatures come those inaccurate health myths passed down from generation to generation. We’ve all heard that famous one of chicken soup curing a cold. “Chicken soup cures nothing. It just makes you feel better as you go through your illness,” said Dr. David Magier, an internal medicine and specialist and gastroenterologist at NYU Langone Great Neck Medical. He went on to debunk four other common winter health myths he often hears from patients.

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We lose body heat through the head

It might seem like we lose most of our body heat through our head in the winter (the rest of our body is usually bundled up after all), but that’s completely false. “You lose your body heat through your skin,” said Dr. Magier. “The head is like any other part of the body.” In fact, it only represents about 7 to 10 percent of surface area.

You shouldn’t eat ice cream during a cold

Dessert lovers, rejoice. Having a cold isn’t a reason to stop indulging in your favorite treat. “Eating ice cream does not make a cold worse,” he said. Consuming something warm like tea may just make you feel better as opposed to something cold.

The flu vaccine gets you sick

“The flu vaccine is a dead virus. You can’t resurrect something that’s dead,” he said. Some people may get reactions from vaccines, including fever and swelling, that can be mistaken for the flu. Dr. Magier also noted the flu vaccine only protects people from about four life-threatening strains like influenza A or B. But there are hundreds of other strains that cause flu-like illnesses. He highly recommends the flu vaccine for specific patients: very young, very old and those with underlying health conditions that would make it difficult for their bodies to handle the flu.

Wet hair makes people sick

Running outside with wet hair may cause you to feel chillier, but that’s about it. “There’s no evidence that going outside in the cold air without a jacket or with wet hair is more likely to make people sick,” he said. “If you get sick, it may take you longer to recover. But the virus doesn’t grow faster in wet hair.”

anna halkidis

anna halkidis

Anna Halkidis is a senior web editor at Long Island Pulse. Feel free to reach out at or on Twitter @annahalkidis.