Baylor College of Medicine

11/12/2019 | News release | Archived content

Can you catch a cold from being cold?

The temperature outside may be dropping rapidly but that doesn't mean venturing outdoors will cause you to catch a cold. Isabel Valdez, a physician assistant and instructor of general internal medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said a virus like the common cold spreads through what we breathe in - not because of the weather.

'Because it's cold outside a lot of people tend to stay indoors in close proximity with other people, and we can breathe in any germs that they might have; these germs are airborne and easily get into our sinuses and lungs when we breathe them in,' Valdez said.

While the weather changing does not necessarily make you sick, Valdez adds it can worsen medical conditions people already have. People who suffer from chronic breathing conditions like asthma or COPD are more at risk for getting sick, she said. These patients can lessen their risks of getting sick by taking their medications as recommended by their doctors.

Some other weather-related myths about catching the common cold that are also not true, according to Valdez:

  • Going outside with wet hair.
  • Going outside barefoot.
  • Forgetting to cover your neck when the temperature drops.