As children, we were all told by our parents or guardians to put on a coat or a scarf before walking outside in the winter. This is because we were told that if we don’t stay warm in colder temperatures, we may catch a cold or the flu. But is there really any truth in this claim? Can cold weather actually make you sick? In this article, we will explore the science behind the claim and provide practical advice for staying healthy during colder temperatures.

The Science Behind the Claim

While the common belief is that we catch colds and other illnesses due to exposure to the cold, it is not entirely true. Studies have shown that cold weather does not directly cause sickness, but it can weaken our immune systems, making us more susceptible to catching a virus or infection.

According to Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, “During colder temperatures, the protective mucus in our noses and throats tends to dry out, which makes it easier for viruses to enter our bodies.”

Also, when temperatures drop, our bodies focus on keeping our internal organs warm, which means there is less blood flow to the extremities like our nose, ears, and throat. This reduction in blood flow limits the ability of our immune system to fight off infections, making it more difficult to fight off viruses and infections.

It is also important to note that some people may be more susceptible to getting sick in the winter months. For example, individuals with weakened immune systems or those who suffer from chronic illnesses like asthma may be more prone to illness during colder temperatures.

In order to protect yourself during these months, it is important to dress appropriately, with warm clothing and hats to protect from the cold and cover the nose and mouth to reduce virus exposure. Additionally, washing hands frequently and avoiding contact with others who are sick can help reduce the risk of catching an illness.

Personal Experiences with Cold Weather Sickness

One common experience many people have had is getting sick during colder temperatures. This is especially true for those who work in group settings like schools, offices, or hospitals. One individual, we spoke to shared a personal story about getting sick during one winter season.

“I remember waking up one day feeling extremely congested and had a throbbing headache. I did what I usually do, wrapped myself in blankets and drank plenty of fluids, but the symptoms persisted for weeks. It made it difficult for me to go through my daily routine, and I had to miss work for a week,” shared Mark, a software engineer.

He continued, “After discussing the issues with my doctor, I realized I could have employed some preventive measures to avoid getting sick. Now I make sure I stay warm and dress in layers to keep my body heat locked in. I also sanitize my hands frequently and avoid contact with people who display symptoms of illness.”

Tips for Staying Healthy During Cold Weather

Other than dressing warmly and washing hands frequently, there are other measures you can take to boost your immune system and stay healthy during colder temperatures. One of the simplest things to do is to drink warm fluids such as tea or soup which help keep the body warm and provide nourishment.

Additionally, physical exercise is an effective way to improve blood circulation, increase oxygen levels in the body, and keep the immune system functioning optimally. Eating foods rich in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals like fruits, vegetables, and nuts can also help strengthen the immune system and provide much-needed energy to the body.

Debunking Myths and Misconceptions

Despite the evidence showing that cold weather does not directly cause illness, many misconceptions surrounding cold weather and sickness continue to persist. One of the most common myths is that going outside with wet hair will lead to a cold. However, researchers have found no evidence to suggest that wet hair or cold air cause colds. To catch a cold or flu, one must come into contact with a virus.

Another myth is that taking antibiotics can cure a cold. However, antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections and not viral infections like the cold or flu. Antibiotics often won’t do anything to help fight a cold or flu.

Examples of Excelling in Cold-Wintry Environments

While colder temperatures can be challenging, some people have excelled in these environments by leveraging traditional health routines or self-health practices. The Inuit people, for example, are known for their physical immunity and general wellbeing, despite residing in cold-weather environments.

They have relied on traditional practices like consuming fermented foods, staying active by engaging in outdoor activities like hunting and fishing, and keeping social connections and support strong.


As this article has shown, while cold weather may not directly make you sick, it can weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to catching viruses. The good news is that taking simple preventative measures like staying warm, washing hands frequently, and consuming warm fluids, among others, can help you stay healthy during the colder months.

We encourage readers to take these health tips seriously, be mindful, and take care of themselves during colder temperatures.

By Riddle Reviewer

Hi, I'm Riddle Reviewer. I curate fascinating insights across fields in this blog, hoping to illuminate and inspire. Join me on this journey of discovery as we explore the wonders of the world together.

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