Can you catch a cold from going outside with wet hair?
This “mom-ism” has been passed on from one generation to the next and has created the circulating idea that if you are exposed to low temperatures with wet hair, you will catch a cold. But is there any truth to it?
Luckily, the answer is no.
Skipping the blow dryer before going out into the cold will not cause you to catch a cold. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, a cold virus spreads through tiny air droplets that are released by a sick person who sneezes, coughs or blows their nose – not from being out in the cold with wet hair.
“Of course, if you’re already sick, feeling cold certainly doesn’t make you feel any better,” says Dr. Hilary Norton, from the Advocate BroMenn Family Health Clinic in Normal, Ill.
“But being cold, and by extension, having wet hair, does not make it any more likely that you’ll catch the common cold.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Dr. Norton say some of the best ways to avoid catching the common cold include:
- Washing your hands regularly, for 20 seconds with soap and warm water
- Using hand sanitizer
- Not touching your mouth and eyes. This prevents microbes on your hands that cause the common cold from getting into your body through unprotected eyes and mouth
- Covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing to prevent the spread of germs
“Unfortunately, because the common cold is caused by a virus, it can’t be treated with antibiotics, which can be frustrating for patients,” says Dr. Norton. “If you do catch a cold, staying well hydrated, controlling sinus drainage with over-the-counter decongestants and managing any fevers with Tylenol or other NSAIDs are the best things patients can do.”
About the Author
Danielle Sisco, health enews contributor, is a recent graduate of Illinois State University and a former public affairs and marketing intern at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital and Advocate BroMenn Medical Center. She has a Bachelor's of Science Degree in public relations and is currently working at a public relations agency in Chicago. In her free time, Danielle enjoys going to country music concerts, playing volleyball, traveling, blogging and spending quality time with her family, friends and puppy.