Main content

Can you catch a cold from getting cold?

Catching a cold from getting cold, or getting wet, sounds like an old wives’ tale but actually there may be more to it as Dr Saleyha Ahsan reveals.

Research from the Common Cold Research Centre at the University Cardiff in 2005 showed that 13 of the 90 volunteers who had their feet chilled with cold water for 20 minutes caught a cold in the following 4 or 5 days, compared with only 5 of the volunteers who didn’t have their feet chilled.

The reason is possibly because the cold causes the blood vessels in our noses to constrict, and reduces our ability to fight infection. We are constantly being exposed to viruses, and so the chilling left the volunteers more vulnerable to this cold onslaught and therefore more likely to develop a cold over the following days. This could also be one of the reasons why colds are more common in the winter. So, to avoid a cold, keep yourself (and especially your nose) warm. Scarves out!