Wear a coat or you'll get sick! Or will you?


Ever since I was a wee little girl my Nana has be on my case about wearing a jacket. I've heard it forever! "Wear a jacket! You're going to get sick, Katy!" I'll forever have it engrained in my brain. Even now, at 18 years old, she still is on me about it. Just two weeks ago we went to the Bloomsburg Fair and she was unhappy with me for not wearing a warm enough jacket. She's completely convinced if you don't wear a coat you're going to get sick. And I guess because it's what I've always been told I just believed it. So I decided to look it up and it seems like my sweet old Nana has been wrong! Well, not completely wrong, but not completely right, either.

Turns out, colds & the flu are caused by viruses, not by the cold! The reason people get sick more often in the winter is because we are around others more. It's cold, and no one is outside as much. As such we spread our germs to the company we are keeping. It's also because the air is a lot dryer, and germs spread more easily in dry air. So it's not the cold weather that causes the illness, it just makes it easier to get sick.

NPR did a program on why kids hate to wear coats & they also mention it's not really the cold that makes you sick. So I guess my Nana wasn't right. Oh well, I still love her anyway. But I probably will continue to not bundle up like she thinks I should...



Awww! We have all grown up believing that "IF YOU DON’T WEAR A COAT/JACKET YOU ARE GOING TO GET SICK!". In addition to this I think I will have to agree with your Nana. It is difficult not to believe that a cold is not caused by the weather. When I decide to be outside for a long time without a jacket I instantly start sneezing and feel the symptoms of a cold. There has also been a study about this topic. In which 90 of the participants kept their feet in a a bowl of iced water and the other half kept their feet in an empty bowl. The results came out to be that 29% of the participants who had their feet in the bowl of iced water developed a cold symptom compare to 9% of the participants with their feet on the empty bowl. I am not trying to say that you are wrong, but in my opinion I think there is a correlation between weather and getting a cold.

This myth, along with other myths about getting sick (see above posts for more common myths addressed in health), reminds me of when Barry Marshall came to class. Why is it that because it's believed to be right, and has been believed to be right for a long time, it is automatically true? A natural skeptic, I can never fathom believing something without having proof (I was that annoying girl who did not believe in Santa Clause). So why do we believe these myths? Or, rather, why do our parents feed us these lies when we are younger, even if they do know there is no truth in these statements? Are our parents feeding us lies just so that we do the right thing? Do our parents tell us we'll catch a cold so that we wear a jacket without complaining?

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