Debunking the Myth: Does Going Outside with Wet Hair in Cold Weather Cause Colds?

  • Author: Admin
  • November 15, 2023
Debunking the Myth: Does Going Outside with Wet Hair in Cold Weather Cause Colds?
Does Going Outside with Wet Hair in Cold Weather Cause Colds? | Photo:

The belief that stepping outside with wet hair on a chilly day will inevitably lead to catching a cold is a long-standing myth. This article aims to dispel this misconception by delving into the real causes of colds, the impact of cold weather on our health, and the difference between feeling cold and actually being sick with a virus.

Understanding Colds: Viruses at Play

Colds are primarily caused by a group of viruses, with rhinoviruses being the most common culprit. These viruses are transmitted from person to person, typically through respiratory droplets when someone who is infected coughs or sneezes. They can also be spread by touching surfaces contaminated with the virus and then touching the nose or mouth.

The Role of Cold Weather

It's a fact that colds are more common in colder months, but not directly due to the cold weather itself. Instead, the reasons include:

  • Indoor Crowding: People tend to spend more time indoors during colder months, leading to closer contact with others and a higher chance of virus transmission.
  • Low Humidity: Cold air is often dry, and low humidity levels can dry out the mucous membranes in the nose, making it easier for viruses to invade.
  • Weakened Immune Response: Some studies suggest that exposure to cold temperatures might suppress the immune system, although this is still a subject of ongoing research.

The Wet Hair Myth

Going outside with wet hair on its own does not cause colds. However, it can make you feel uncomfortable and possibly lower your body temperature. When your body works to warm itself, you might experience symptoms similar to a cold, such as shivering or a runny nose. These symptoms result from your body's response to cold, not from a viral infection.

Symptom Similarities and Differences

While being cold can make you feel under the weather, it's important to distinguish these sensations from the symptoms of a viral cold. Common cold symptoms include a runny nose, sore throat, coughing, and sneezing. Feeling chilled might mimic some of these symptoms, but they do not indicate a viral infection.

Preventing Colds

Prevention is key when it comes to colds. Here are some effective strategies:

  • Hand Hygiene: Regularly wash your hands with soap and water to remove germs.
  • Avoid Close Contact: Keep a distance from people who are sick.
  • Disinfect Surfaces: Regularly clean surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Stay Hydrated and Rested: Maintaining good overall health can help your immune system fight off viruses.

The Role of Clothing and Hair in Cold Weather

While your clothing and hair do not directly impact your likelihood of catching a cold, they do play a role in your overall comfort and ability to maintain body heat in cold weather. Dressing warmly and ensuring your hair is dry before going out in cold temperatures can help prevent discomfort and the body's cold response.


The myth that going outside with wet hair in cold weather causes colds is just that—a myth. Colds are caused by viruses and not by the cold weather itself or by having wet hair. Understanding the real causes of colds and taking preventive measures can help you stay healthy during the colder months.

In summary, while it's important to dress appropriately for the weather to stay comfortable, there's no need to worry that wet hair in the cold will make you sick. Focus on good hygiene and health practices to keep cold viruses at bay.