Cold and flu season is well underway, and you may hear that, “you better make sure your hair is dry before going to sleep or outside, otherwise you’ll catch a cold.” This myth can be traced back for decades to when it was believed that wet sleeping conditions made people more susceptible to illness.
This logic is applied today to going to bed with wet hair, but is there any truth behind a warning that has been passed down from one generation to the next? White-Wilson Family Medicine PA, Gary Mousseau provides insight on the issue.
“While colds and flus circulate during colder weather seasons, you must actually be exposed to a virus to contract it,” said Gary Mousseau, PA-C. “Fortunately the common cold cannot be conjured up by a cold, wet head. The viruses that cause colds are spread from close contact with infected people or surfaces.”
How to fight off the common cold?
While your hair helps keep your head warm, wet hair cannot make you contract a virus you have not been exposed to. You will simply feel chilly or uncomfortable. PA Mousseau adds that you can help your immune system fight off viruses by staying hydrated, eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of rest and exercise.
What are the symptoms of the common cold?
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Body aches
When to seek treatment for a cold?
While most people recover from the common cold on their own in seven to 10 days, people with a weakened immune system may develop complications. In most cases the common cold simply must run its course, however, PA Mousseau recommends seeking medical care if you or your child have any of the following symptoms:
- Symptoms that persist for 10 or more days
- Severe or unusual symptoms
- A child younger than three months and has a fever or is acting lethargic
If you are unsure, your health care provider is the best person to determine if you have the cold or flu and to recommend treatment.
PA Mousseau concludes that while you will be may be more comfortable with a warm head, you cannot get sick from it. Remember to wash your hands frequently and make sure your body has the rest and nutrition it needs to fight off viruses. Stay away from people that are sick and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
This Myth is BUSTED.
Gary Mousseau, PA has more than 40 years of health care experience and is accepting new patient at the White-Wilson Medical Center Family Medicine Clinic