We’ve had several cold snaps under our belt so far this season, with many more to go. When it gets this cold, my grandmother’s voice echoes through my head, “Be sure to cover your head and bundle up, or you will catch a cold!”
What You Need To Know
- An old wives’ tale is a traditional belief regarded as unscientific or incorrect
- They are often said to discourage certain behaviors, usually in children.
- It’s a type of urban legend, said to be passed down by older women to a younger generation.
When I started studying meteorology, I was shocked to find out that this common saying was a myth, but what about other old wives’ tales?
Can you catch a cold from going outside with wet hair?
Nope. You catch colds from viruses. Pediatrician Dr. Amanda Smith, Saint Joseph Medical Group says, “The reason more people get sick during cold weather is that they are more frequently gathering indoors with other people and not spending as much time outside.”
Do you lose most of your body heat through your head?
No. You do lose body heat through your head, but it only accounts for 10% of the body’s total surface area. This myth is said to come from a U.S. Army survival manual from 1970, which strongly recommended covering the head when it’s cold.
It falsely claimed that we lose up to 45% of our heat through our heads.
Is drinking hot coffee or alcohol a good way to warm up?
While drinking a warm beverage is a great way to raise your internal body temperature, drinking alcohol or coffee can do the opposite.
Caffeine constricts blood vessels, preventing warming of your extremities.
Alcohol reduces shivering, which helps keep you warm.
Can seasonal allergies cause you to spike a fever?
Nope. If you have a low-grade fever, it’s your body fighting something. Dr. Smith says, “Allergies do not cause a true fever. If you are experiencing this, you likely have a bacterial or viral infection.”
Stay healthy and safe my friends.