Can children get sick from going outside without a coat?
Being physically cold does not in and of itself cause a child to get sick. To get a sickness like the common cold or flu, you need to come in contact with a virus spread by another person.
Why do so many people say you will catch a cold if you go outside without a coat, or with wet hair?
Because people often don’t know how someone became sick, and blame it on the wrong thing.
While people do not get sick simply from being exposed to lower temperatures, there are several reasons people are more likely to get sick in cold weather, including:
- Spending more time indoors, in closer contact with other people, making it easier for viruses to spread.
- Cold weather may weaken some of your body’s defense mechanisms against certain types of viruses.
- Some viruses are able to live longer in cooler, drier environments, increasing the opportunity for them to infect a person.
Why should I trust you?
Our articles are short and direct so parents can quickly get the answers they need, but there’s lengthy research behind everything we publish. If you’d like to check our facts and learn more, here are the best sources we found and used for this article:
- “It’s Suddenly Cold Out. Am I Going to Get Sick?” from The Atlantic
- “Does Cold Weather Make You Sick?” from Consumer Reports
- “Acute cooling of the body surface and the common cold” from Rhinology International Journal
- “Temperature-dependent innate defense against the common cold virus limits viral replication at warm temperature in mouse airway cells” from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
- “Monday’s medical myth: you can catch a cold by getting cold” from The Conversation