The weather has started to get cold and most of us have already started to sniff and sneeze and feel exhausted. While the hustle and bustle of everyday life continues, we, unfortunately, do not have enough time to rest and recover from our illnesses. Remember that in every case, the best remedy is to take precautions.

What do we know about the cold, an illness that affects our life quality significantly? Is there any truth to the advice our family elders give us? We should be careful to avoid getting caught up with useless efforts, believing that they can protect us from catching a cold. The first and the most important thing we should know is that what make us catch the influenza are virus and microbes.


The flu or cold is an illness that develops when our body falls under the influence of a virus called rhinovirus. If this virus manages to enter the body through the nose, mouth or other similar organs, you will be sick regardless of the weather or environment. Otherwise, this virus will not affect you even if it exists in the same environment with you.

Therefore, we should ask, “Does the likelihood of contracting this virus increase when we go out with wet hair?” Wet hair causes us to feel more of the ambient coldness. Thus, this long-lasting belief maintains its popularity.

American scientists studied the effect of going out with wet hair upon catching the flu. They primarily started evaluating the prevalence of this belief. They got the reply, “Yes, it increases,” in 41 percent of the participants when they asked whether going out with wet hair increases the risk of catching a cold or not.

In the study, two environments carrying the flu virus were used. One of the environments was cold while the temperature in the other was normal. Some of the volunteers were placed in the room with wet hair and some with dry hair. The result of the survey is quite interesting. There was no difference between the volunteers with wet hair and dry hair in the rate of catching the flu virus. The only difference recorded was that volunteers with wet hair felt the cold more than the others. Other similar surveys also indicated the same results. Therefore, it was proven that going out with wet hair does not increase the chance of catching the flu. You better start telling your mother about this. I am sure it will take a long time to change this belief which has been abided for years.

Does wearing a hat in cold weather provide protection?

If you are like me and you spent your childhood wearing wool hats, it means you lived together with your hat like two peas in a pod until reaching an age you can persuade your mom. The reason behind this common belief is the idea that the most and quickest heat loss in the human body, which exposes one to cold weather, starts from the head.

The emergence of this belief dates back 50 years. The U.S. Army did some experiments in order to increase the chance of soldiers’ survival in the freezing cold temperatures they would likely encounter. A quiet and cold environment was prepared for this study conducted by scientists. Some volunteer soldiers started to wait in this room without their hats. The scientists periodically evaluated the heat in the soldiers’ head region. The results were supportive of this superstition. The evaluations showed that soldiers were losing their body temperature from their head region.

One of the reasons why this belief has managed to reach today is the trust in the results of this study. So, does losing heat most and fastest from the head mean that we lose heat from here alone? Of course, not. If so, we could say that protecting our head, wearing a hat is enough to struggle against the danger of freezing.

Head of Cleveland Clinic Research Institute, Dr. Daniel Sessler, conducted a similar survey on volunteers who were kept in an environment with same conditions, but this time, wearing swimsuits. According to the results of this study, nearly all regions of the human body lost heat evenly when not protected against cold.

As a result, we cannot say there is no difference between wearing a hat in cold weather and not wearing, but it can be said that protecting only the head region does not signify anything by itself.

Remember this information when you are running after your children with hats or hair dryers. Do not forget the things making us ill are actually viruses and microbes. The first thing you should pay attention to is keeping your hands clean as you are always in crowded environments or in contact with ill people. Your hands are always in contact with either your mouth or nose, which are passages for the virus’s entry to your body. Try to get into the habit of washing your hands, especially in winter.

Source:  Daily Sabah

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