Carmen Dargel, M.D.
While your mom may have warned you that going outside with wet hair will make you sick, the question remains: Does wet hair cause the common cold? The short answer is no. Colds are caused by viruses, so you can't catch a cold from going outside with wet hair. And wet hair won't make you more attractive to germs.
People often associate going outside with wet hair with getting sick because exposure to germs is more likely when you go outside. In reality, the common cold is transmitted through bodily fluids, such as when people who are sick sneeze, cough or blow their nose.
I recommend these 6 tips to protect yourself and your family from catching a cold:
1. Wash your hands.
Clean your hands thoroughly and often with soap and water. If soap and water aren't available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
2. Disinfect your stuff.
Clean kitchen and bathroom countertops with disinfectant, especially when someone in your family has a cold.
3. Use tissues.
Sneeze and cough into tissues. Discard used tissues right away. Then thoroughly wash your hands.
4. Don't share.
Don't share drinking glasses or utensils with other family members. Use your own glass or disposable cups when you or someone else is sick. Label the cup or glass with the name of the person with the cold.
5. Steer clear of colds.
Avoid close contact with anyone who has a cold.
6. Take care of yourself.
Eating well, getting exercise and enough sleep, and managing stress might help you keep colds at bay.
You can rest assured that if you go outside with wet hair, it doesn't increase your chance of getting sick. Wet hair in the colder months just causes temporary discomfort.