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Hey All!

I don’t know about you, but I know my family has many myths about finding relief and curing symptoms when one of us has a cold or the flu. My family members can be a little bossy and stubborn with their beliefs on what to do when they are sick. This surely comes from the way my grandmother was and how my mom is. I’ve been told everything under the sun in regards to how you catch a cold and how to relieve it, and I’ve always wondered what was true and what was not true. If you’re Puerto Rican (like I am), your family may have told you to put a penny over your nose between your eyebrows to clear your sinuses or to stop a nosebleed. It’s crazy, I know…but my grandmother firmly believed this worked. She made us do this whenever we had a cold and I still do it today because of her. Luckily, I can finally put some of these family myths to rest thanks to Advil® Cold & Sinus.

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Advil® Cold & Sinus commissioned the “Ask the Pharmacist” survey of more than 2,000 Americans and found that 71 percent of Americans do not find doctors to be the most accessible or convenient to speak to when sick, so many turn to their parents, friends or significant others for guidance. I learned from the survey, that the advice we’re usually given by family can be based on hearsay, myths or old wives’ tales.

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I’ve been told many of those myths, but luckily I was given the great opportunity to ask Pharmacist and Health Expert, Jim Morelli three questions about our family cold myths and these are his answers:

Can you clear your sinus congestion by pressing a penny over your nose between your eyebrows?

I’d like to say this is a ‘penny-wise’ way to clear sinus congestion, but I see no reason why this should work. However, the act of pressing gently in that area can bring about feelings of some relief. However, for deep-seated sinus congestion this seems unlikely, at best, to work. Remember, if your sinus congestion is accompanied by fever, body aches, sore throat — those kinds of symptoms… you should seek medical attention… it will be money well-spent.

Can going out in the cold when you’re congested actually be good for you since it seems the cold unclogs your nose?

At least one study has shown that cold air with low humidity makes the nasal passages feel clearer. Feel is the operative word. This was a study focusing on perception of stuffiness — which may or may not have anything to do with actual congestion. Bottom line, though… more stuffiness was reported from the study subjects when breathing in normal, room temperature air than cold air. Personally, I think that unless you have a fever or other symptoms below the neck — in other words, you’ve got minor, uncomplicated congestion — fresh air is a good idea, provided it is not dangerously cold out. Couple that fresh air with exercise, if you feel up to it. A brisk walk in winter can do wonders to make you feel better — and it can probably help you get over your cold faster, since exercise primes the immune system.

Should you avoid washing your hair when you’re sick, because wet hair can make you sick?

Wet hair does not make you sick — in general or otherwise. It can make you uncomfortable if you go out in the cold… but that’s about it.  Easy solution to that is to dry it before heading out the door.

If my grandmother were still around, she’d be shocked to learn her penny technique is not medically proven to work. I’m glad I could get to the bottom of at least 3 of our family cold myths. It’s funny how much we listen to our family about finding relief for the common cold. While the doctor is still the first choice for treatment advice for many people, the survey showed 71 percent of Americans do not find doctors to be the most accessible and convenient to speak to when they are sick. That’s a lot of calls going back home to mom instead!

More Americans ages 18-24 seek advice from their parents (72 percent) than the doctor (45 percent), probably because they consider their parents to be more accessible and convenient to speak to when they are sick (52 percent). I know I’m guilty of this as well, but chatting with Jim has given me an eye opener. I probably should just seek a doctor’s advice instead of family advice when I’m feeling down. I know it’s cheaper to call mom, but sometimes you can’t beat a doctor’s advice.

Another option is to seek advice from your pharmacist! A whopping 81 percent of respondents have purchased medicine based on a recommendation from a pharmacist. As a knowledgeable and helpful source of information, people should look to a pharmacist for advice on medicine and treatment options.

Some other myths that were debunked by pharmacist, Jim Morelli, as a result of this survey include:

Myth: Chicken soup can cure the cold or flu. (60 percent)

Pharmacist’s Take: Chicken soup is not a cure for anything but hunger. However, there is some evidence it can be beneficial when you have a cold or the flu because it is hydrating and contains needed electrolytes.

Myth: The flu shot causes the flu (53 percent)

The flu shot is actually a killed virus so it is not live. It cannot give you the flu. Even the weakened virus in the nasal spray vaccination should not cause the flu.  Some people experience what is called a “serum sickness” from vaccinations, but this is a short-lived period of feeling lousy as opposed to the actual flu.

Myth: Avoid dairy when sick (34 percent)

Unless you are taking a tetracycline antibiotic, typically used to treat respiratory tract and intestine infections, dairy is fine when sick. Keep in mind, however, that in some individual’s dairy can upset the stomach if they’ve got a stomach bug.

I’m sure we’ve all thought some of these were facts at one point. I know I thought that about the flu shot and have avoided getting one for some time. I love learning about these things, because I can’t afford to get sick. This site is way too busy and I’m always traveling and on-the-go. I can’t afford to lose valuable work days being sick. If I do get sick, I need to know what works and what are myths. I’m super excited to finally have answers to these questions after all these years. Thank you Advil® Cold & Sinus!

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When I am under the weather, I thankfully have Advil® Cold & Sinus to come to my rescue. It is the #1 pharmacist recommended brand to treat your worst cold and flu symptoms.  It combines Advil® – the number-one selling pain reliever – and a powerful nasal decongestant to provide fast, powerful relief.  My nose is always the first to go when I’m sick, so it’s a must have for me. You can ask your pharmacist for it behind the pharmacy counter!

For more info about Advil® Cold & Sinus, check out their website. Also visit the Advil® Cold & Allergy Facebook page for all the latest info daily.

This post is brought to you in partnership with Advil® Cold & Sinus on behalf of Pfizer Consumer Healthcare. All opinions are my own!

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