Cold and Flu Myth:

Cold weather causes a cold or the flu.

No! We’ve all been cautioned against leaving the house with wet hair or without a jacket for fear of “catching a cold.” The idea that a person can “catch” a cold from exposure to cold or wet weather may be the most ubiquitous or common of all myths about the cold or flu.

Even the name “a cold” alludes to this misconception. The truth is that viruses are the only causes of the common cold or flu. So how can we explain the higher incidence of colds and flu during periods of colder, wetter weather?

The US government’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases proposes that the reason for this may have to do with the opening of schools and the tendency for people to stay inside around others during colder seasons. Both of these factors increase the opportunity for viruses to spread among people.

The best way to avoid an infection is to limit your exposure to the viruses, irrespective of the weather. This means staying away from infected people, keeping your hands away from your eyes and nose, washing your hands often (especially during the cold season), and cleaning surfaces that may be infected with viruses with a disinfectant.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Antibiotics Aren’t Always the Answer. Retrieved from:; December 28, 2011.

The Regional Medical Center of Acadiana. True or False: Being Exposed to Wet, Cold Weather Increases the Risk of Infection. Retrieved from:; December 28, 2011.