When it comes to staying healthy during cold season, many moms and dads still trust the advice their parents and grandparents passed down. A new poll reveals seven out of ten parents interviewed use strategies with little or no scientific evidence to prevent colds. Researchers with C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Michigan asked over 1,000 parents with kids between the ages of five and 12 about the methods they use to help keep their kiddos well and while they are using some science-backed tactics - like handwashing - it turns out, they’re leaning hard on these “folklore strategies” to prevent colds.
Myth: Going outside with wet hair can make you sick - We’ve all heard this one, but the reality is that it’s just not true. Dr. Katherine Williamson, a pediatrician and spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics explains that in order to catch a cold, you have to be exposed to an infectious agent. And having wet hair may make you cold, but it doesn’t make you more susceptible to the common cold.
Myth: Being exposed to cold air can cause a cold - Sure, the peak of cold season coincides with the time of the year we have cold weather, but Williamson says it’s just a correlation and doesn’t mean one causes the other. You still have to be exposed to a virus to catch a cold. But it’s what we do when it’s cold outside that causes colds, not the weather itself. We’re inside more when the weather is cold, so we’re breathing in recycled air and being exposed to germs and viruses when we sneeze and cough on top of each other.
Myth: Using multivitamins and supplements can prevent a cold - According to Dr. Michael Russo, a pediatric infectious disease specialist, kids who are otherwise healthy and eat a balanced diet don’t need vitamin supplements. “It has never been shown to have any effect on prevention,” he explains, “so parents can save the money.”