6 On Your Side: Consumer Confidence, Can You Catch A Cold For Not Dressing Warm Enough?

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(ABC 6 News) – True or false: you can catch a cold by not dressing warm enough. The short answer is false, and Consumer Reports puts the myth to bed once and for all.

But, it still might be a good idea to listen to your parents and add on the layers when it’s chilly outside.

“Being cold won’t make you sick,” says Consumer Reports’ Pang-Chieh Ho. “Viruses will, by causing respiratory tract infections.”

In fact, there are more than 200 viruses that can cause a cold.

Any one of them can be more likely to spread in winter as people spend more time indoors, by increasing exposure to germs transmitted through air or contact with infected surfaces, and eventually making it into your nose, mouth, or eyes.

Mucus in the nose also plays an important part, it helps trap bacteria we breathe in before it can cause an infection.

But, as Pang-Chieh Ho explains, “Low humidity in heated environments can cause the lining in our noses to get dry, making it easier for germs to invade the body.”

The easy remedy? Consider a humidifier to moisten the air.

Levoit, Honeywell, and Babymoov models earn top marks in Consumer Reports tests, and cost $55-$100.

What about our immune systems? Turns out there may be an indirect link between cold weather and catching a cold, since our immune systems function best when our body temperature is well-regulated.

The fix? Bundling up after all!

It can help ensure proper temperature balance for peak immunity.

Consumer Reports says frequent handwashing, avoiding contact with sick people, and wearing a mask can help prevent catching a cold.

And while there is still no cure, if you do catch a cold, rest, drink plenty of fluids, and ask your doctor about any over the counter remedies to bring relief.