As a little girl, my mother never allowed me out of the house with wet hair when it was cold outside, for she was convinced I was going to get sick. It has since become common sense to not go outside with wet hair, to prevent such an event. But I couldn’t help but wonder, is this actually true, or just fallacy? I decided to further investigate.
Colds are caused by virus, not by cold air, further encouraging me to doubt the validity of the statement that wet hair makes you sick. According to <a href=”http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20306931_5,00.html”> Health.com </a> “[U]nless you are so cold that you get hypothermia, which could make you susceptible to infection, wet hair or clothes won’t increase your vulnerability.” This statement persuades me that unless I am in Antarctic-like conditions (or sometimes even in Penn State like conditions) simply having wet/damp hair will not cause one to become ill.
This myth has intrigued many scientists as well, in turn prompting the conduction of many experiments. By putting the viruses contained in the common cold in the noses of two groups of people (one exposed to wet conditions, one being the control group), scientists were then able to see that there is in fact not a correlation between being wet and being more likely to become sick. After all, correlation does not necessarily mean causation. It is necessary to question the size of the two groups in this experiment, the wet conditions they were exposed to, and the degree of ethical guidelines followed when considering the validity of this experiment.
So was mother’s intuition right? It is reasonable to say it is better to be safe than sorry, but there is not much need to be overly concerned of going out into the cold with wet hair. Yes, it is possible there will be a little more discomfort and one may feel a little bit colder, but it is unlikely wet hair will be the main factor in causing you to become ill.
“A Wet Head Can Make You Sick.” – Most Common Myths About the Common Cold. Health, n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2014.
Gelman, Lauren, and Megan Othersen Gormanprevention. “Cold and Flu Old Wives’ Tales, Debunked.” ABC News. ABC News Network, 06 Nov. 2011. Web. 21 Oct. 2014.