Tuesday 20 March 2018

Granny's advice is right... feed a cold and starve that fever

Feeding a cold could help, new study reveals
Feeding a cold could help, new study reveals

Granny's advice to "feed a cold and starve a fever" might have an element of truth, say scientists.

New research shows that the old adage appears to be based on sound science when a fever is caused by bacterial infection.

Scientists put the folk ­wisdom to the test using ­laboratory mice with bacterial and viral infections.

Read more: Filthy offices to blame for the rise of cold and flu this winter

They found that mice with flu - like the common cold, caused by a virus - were helped to recover and survive when they were fed. In contrast, feeding animals infected by bacteria only hastened their death.

"We were surprised at how profound the effects of feeding were, both positive and negative," said lead researcher Professor Ruslan Medzhitov, from the Yale School of Medicine in the US.

Read more: Dr Ciara Kelly: How to avoid catching the dreaded flu

"Anorexia - not eating - is a common behaviour during sickness that is seen in people and all kinds of animals.

"Our findings show that it has a strong protective effect with certain infections, but not with others."

The new findings were published in the journal Cell.

Press Association

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