Weather Wise Kids: Can you catch a cold from the cold?

When I was your age my grandmom used to scold me for going out in the cold with wet hair. She warned me I would catch a cold and I believed her. So was Meemaw right? Can you catch a cold from cold air?

I may be a scientist, but I am certainly not a doctor. After doing some research on the subject I learned this is one of the most common myths about the common cold. The only way you can “catch” a cold is by coming in contact with the virus. Cold air may irritate a condition you already have, such as asthma, increasing your chances of getting sick.

Stepping outside in cold weather without being bundled up won’t make you sick, but it could weaken your immune system. Hypothermia, which is the lowering of your body’s core temperature, can lower your body’s ability to fight off viruses.

With cold air comes dry air. Dry nostrils can make your body more vulnerable to colds, sinus infections and the flu. In the winter, bacteria and viruses can linger longer in dry air after someone coughs or sneezes. So remember to wash your hands, wear your jacket, and don’t underestimate the power of Vitamin D. On the next sunny day take a 15 minute walk outside, it could help strengthen you immune system.  when colder weather moves in people tend to spend more time inside. This leads to less vitamin D exposure and more dry air exposure due to central heating.

For more information on the cold virus contact your local doctor. For the cold weather part, you can trust your local meteorologist.

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