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Toughing it out, chicken soup and other wellness myths

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8 winter wellness myths

Today we’re debunking eight winter wellness myths so that you can make it through winter feeling good, or at least recovering strong…. The fact is, January and February can be downright nasty. The holiday fun is over, and the weather has turned from cozy pumpkin spice crispness to freeze-your-booty frigid. One after another, we fall sick with coughs, sore throats, fevers and congestion. The last thing we need is to feel sick for longer than necessary. So read on while we cover 8 common myths.

The myth of toughing it out.

We all know that person who resists going to the clinic for medical help when they’re dealing with a cough, congestion or fever. They say things like “I’ll tough it out,” “I’ll sleep it off,” or “What are they going to do for me, anyway?” Yes, sometimes it’s true that not much can be done and you might be have to tough it out (darn you, common cold!). But sometimes, medical help can make a difference and prevent prolonging your misery. A quick test can assess whether you’re dealing with bacteria or a virus. Often, bacteria can be treated by a medical provider, and you can be feeling significantly better within 24 hours. So, don’t assume that nothing can be done. If you’re feeling sick, head to urgent care.

The myth of chicken soup.

Don’t hate us for saying this, but chicken soup does not treat an illness. The science of chicken soup as a treatment simply doesn’t hold up to rigorous testing. But a bowl of its steaming, nutritious, goodness can definitely help us feel better and relax. Given that good nutrition and fluids are an important part of recovery, we’re going to give it a thumbs up from the comfort side of things.

The myth of waiting it out.

You can wait out some illnesses. But some will just keep getting worse until you interrupt them. Sore throats can be strep, which is a bacterial infection that won’t resolve smoothly without antibiotics. Pneumonia can become dangerous if not addressed. And of course, infections of any sort need medical attention. Don’t wait to feel better. You’ll just waste your time and put your body through unnecessary stress.

8 winter wellness myths to bust

The myth that some people can get by on less sleep.

Sleep is good for you: this is when your body recovers and heals from the impacts and exposures of the day. Get eight hours of good-quality sleep to support a healthy immune system. We all know people who seem to make it on less sleep and live a healthy life, but there is a strong correlation between long-term health and getting adequate sleep.

The myth of the internet doctor.

The internet is not a doctor. In fact, legitimate medical articles won’t hand out firm diagnoses. Get true medical help to assess your situation. Many illnesses are so similar that only a molecular-level test can accurately diagnose the symptoms. Some can even be dangerous if ignored. If you are experiencing any of the following, head to urgent care, get in and out, and get better – thanks to a diagnosis made by a professional, based on your exact symptoms.

Symptoms to watch for:

  • Persistent fever over 102 degrees, or that doesn’t respond to fever reducers.
  • Dehydration.
  • Dizziness.
  • Sore throat that lasts more than a few days or is extremely painful.
  • Earaches or headaches that last more than 2-3 days.

Check the end of this article for a list of symptoms that should be seen at a hospital or 911.

And before we wrap up, here are a few more myths about staying healthy and avoiding illness. None of these things is a bad idea, but by themselves, they’re not enough.

The myth that vitamins and supplements can save the day.

You can keep taking your vitamins and supplements, but nothing outperforms good nutrition, quality sleep, daily exercise and diligent hand hygiene. Before you invest in expensive supplements, be sure to ask your medical provider about dose, effectiveness, side effects and any potential interactions with other medications.

The myth of comfort food.

Potatoes, creamy casseroles and warm bread. Yum! They sound so good, but they’re not what’s actually best for you when you’re sick. Aim for a ‘colorful plate’ for meals: greens, yellows, orange…eating more fruits and vegetables lets you get the range of nutrients your immune system needs to fight viruses and bacteria. Add a dose of cozy by roasting your veggies!

The myth of mind over matter.

The body of research about the impact of a positive mindset on health is not a myth. But the idea that you can overcome illness and “think yourself better” by pushing through symptoms and disregarding the signals your body is sending you is a myth. Illness is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it’s the sign of a healthy immune system at work fighting a virus or bacteria. Give your body some credit and listen to it. Head to urgent care for help… you’re likely to feel better faster.

Those are the myths! But the facts are consistent: listen to your body, take care of it with good food and sleep. If you do fall ill, get help so you feel better soon. Head to a BestMed Urgent Care clinic near you — we’ll provide a treatment plan specific to your situation.

The getting there myth: we have telehealth!

To get you the help you need without dragging yourself out the door, BestMed is now offering telehealth, or “virutal” visits. These visits are a great solution for scenarios that don’t require a listen to your lungs, running labs or a test, or other scans that require in-person assessments. But there are lots of things we can help you with – while you stay cozy at home. Next time you’re in this situation, check out the option of a virtual visit. You’ll find it on our website. BestMed virtual visits are available in Colorado, Montana, Oregon and Wyoming. 

Reviewed by: Katie Sanne, FNP-C


If you are in a situation that might be life-threatening, go straight to the emergency room or call 911. Situations like this include: Shortness of breath or breathing problems. Seizures or ‘blackouts’. Sudden vision problems. Confusion or dizziness. Heavy bleeding. Possible breaks that appear to be deformed or blue, or that include bleeding. Serious burns. The inability to speak or move. Head and neck injuries.