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Can you get sick by not dressing warmly in cold weather? Consumer Reports explains

Posted at 7:14 AM, Jan 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-24 08:14:41-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF/CONSUMER REPORTS) — True or false? You can catch a cold by not dressing warmly enough. The short answer is false.

While it's not true, it's still a good idea to put on some layers when it’s chilly outside.

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

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.

"Low humidity in heated environments can cause the lining in our noses to get dry, making it easier for germs to invade the body," Ho said.

The easy remedy? Consider a humidifier to moisten the air. Levoit, Honeywell, and Babymoov models earn top marks in Consumer Reports tests and cost between $55 and $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 added that frequent handwashing, avoiding contact with sick people, and wearing a mask can help prevent catching a cold. While there is still no cure for the common cold, if you do catch one, be sure to rest, drink plenty of fluids and ask your doctor about any over-the-counter remedies that might give you some relief.