Myth-Busting: You'll get sick if you got out with wet hair in the cold

If you ever tried running outside with wet hair as a child, you might’ve received a scolding from a parent or grandparent. Conventional wisdom holds that leaving the house with damp hair can cause you to become sick—especially if the weather is cold—, and so your well-meaning guardian might’ve advised you against doing so.


But is there any truth to that?


While your parents and grandparents might have a plethora of knowledge to offer, the idea that you can catch a cold in any way besides a virus is false. Let’s try to figure out where that misconception originated from. 


Cold weather and colds 

Colder temperatures serve as better environments for viruses than warm ones. Many viruses, like the rhinovirus (also known as the common cold), have an easier time spreading when the weather is chilly. 


However, the biggest reason most people get sick more often in the winter isn’t because of the temperature. It’s because they tend to congregate indoors. When you’re in constant, close proximity to those around you, viruses have an easier time jumping from one person to the next. 


It doesn’t matter whether you have wet or dry hair—when you’re up close and personal with both people you know and strangers, you have a higher chance of getting sick. 


How to prevent colds

Until scientists are able to get a grip on the constantly mutating common cold, people are going to continue getting sick each year. As with any virus, however, there are some simple steps you can take to reduce your chances of falling ill. 

Wash your hands

A good rule of thumb is to wash your hands each time you make it back home. Doing so will prevent you from spreading any germs you picked up outside around your house. 


As you might’ve learned since the start of COVID-19, most people don’t spend enough time scrubbing the soap around their hands before washing it off. Try to wash them for at least 20 seconds each time. 

Avoid sick people

It might sound obvious, but if someone you know is sick, make a point to keep some distance between the two of you. The more time you spend close to them, the greater the chances you’ll catch whatever they have. 


Masks are effective at stopping the spread of particles from one person to another. If someone you live or work with gets sick, don’t be afraid to encourage them to mask up while in shared spaces!

Disinfect your home

Human to human transmission isn’t the only way that many viruses spread. If someone coughs or sneezes on an object, you can then touch that and get sick. Disinfecting your home is therefore paramount to stopping the spread of viruses. 


If you work in an office with other people, disinfecting both your objects and surfaces that people often touch can also help stop the spread of the common cold. 

Take care of your body

Remember that the best way to stay healthy during cold season is by taking excellent care of your body. Try your best to always get enough sleep, eat well, and exercise. 


That way, if you do get sick, your body will have the strength it needs to fight off whatever it caught! 


The verdict

While your grandparents may be wise, don’t believe them when they try to tell you that leaving the home with wet hair will cause you to become sick. Modern science proves that claim to be false.


No matter what type of hair you have, take steps to prevent yourself from getting sick this cold season.

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