Digging deeper: Flu myths

The sneezing, the coughing, sometimes fever, but almost always feeling, well, less than stellar.

But is it the cold or the flu?

"Pretty good fever, abrupt onset, I really feel really crappy, I feel it hurts all over, I'm coughing --- that's influenza. Influenza is a respiratory infection," said Dr. James McDonald, of the Rhode Island Department of Health. "Sneezing, running nose, low-grade fever, feeling a little bit off your game but going to work and having a smile on your face -- that's just a cold."

Most have heard the phrase, "Feed a cold, starve a fever." True or false?

"I don't think it's ever good to starve yourself," McDonald said.

Do big temperature swings -- below zero one day, 50 plus the next -- contribute to people getting sick?

"I'd like to convince my mom of that, but that's still a myth," McDonald said.

Prevention and symptom medications. Do they work? Zicam, zinc, Cold-EEZE?

"They might relieve a symptom or two, but they're not going to cure you. They're not going to reduce the duration of your illness," McDonald said.

Does chicken soup work?

"Really works. It makes you feel better. Really does. It just warms the heart. It just makes you feel better," Rosemarie Santagata of Warwick.

"It's going to act a little bit like a vaporizer. It's got some steam coming off it. It'll decongest you a little bit. It'll make you feel better for a little bit, but it's not going to shorten the duration of your illness," McDonald said.

Take a fever reducer, rest, drink plenty of fluids, wash your hands, use hand gel, and get your flu shot.

There are only 69 full days until spring.