Subject: Re: Wet hair on Winter mornings Date: 22 Oct 1993 02:23:51 GMT Andrew Welsh asks:

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From: twcaps@tennyson.lbl.gov (Terry Chan) Subject: Re: Wet hair on Winter mornings Date: 22 Oct 1993 02:23:51 GMT Andrew Welsh asks: ->Well, despite being sure it was in the FAQ I couldn't find this one so ->couldn't tell my Mom to stop saying it. Her 'wisdom' is that if you go ->out in the cold with wet hair (ie after washing it / swimming) you'll ->catch a cold/come down with pneumonia/you get the idea . Any truth in ->this at all [?] Since it came from your mom, it has a 50-50 chance of being a bogus old wives' tale or being a true old wives' tale. In a subsequent post, Barry Shein speculated that this old saw of "being cold causes a cold" has not being established as being true or false at all. He also had some ideas of where it may have originated (e.g., bad thinking about the body's response to cold catching a cold, people likely catching more colds in the winter when it's cold because people tend to be indoors more with other people, etc.) This sounds pretty close to what's been established, though the thinking on transmission of the cold virus seems to vary.. In a 1958 paper by H.F. Dowling, et al. entitled "Transmission of the Common Cold to Volunteers Under Controlled Conditions" in the _American Journal of Hygiene_, (Vol. 68, pp. 659-65), the authors tested the notion that one can catch a cold from being chilled. In that experiment, 400+ volunteers were exposed to colds and also temperatures of either 10 degrees while wearing heavy coats, 60 degrees while wearing only underwear, and 80 degrees. All got sick "about the same rate." This experiment was repeated by R.G. Douglas, Jr., K.M. Lindgren, and R.B. Couch in "Exposure to Cold Environment and Rhinovirus Common Cold," in the _New England Journal of Medicine_ in 1968 where they actually dropped the rhinovirus directly into the noses of "volunteers" from the local Texas prison. These subjects were then exposed to extreme cold, in different states of dress, and at different points of the incubation period. Neither the frequency nor the severity of the common cold was greater for these men as opposed to the men who were not exposed to lower temperatures. I ripped-off the above from a reference noted in the FAQ list. Terry "Ah-choo!" Chan

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