Will Going Outside with Wet Hair Give You A Cold?

wet hair in winter

Wet Hair During Cold Weather

Last week, my friend came in to our night class with her hair still soaking wet from her shower. With the freezing temperatures outside (and inside) our classroom, we wondered if it was likely that she would get sick from leaving her house with wet hair. Growing up, my mother always chased me with a blow dryer if I tried to leave the house before drying my hair, but was it worth it? Will a wet head in the winter really give you a cold?

Hair Starting To Freeze?

While having a wet head outside may be uncomfortable—ever feel your hair start to freeze!?—it isn’t likely to get you sick. Despite what many of us might think, a tremendous amount of body heat is not lost through our heads. An informational website, How Stuff Works, states “In actuality, you lose just as much, if not more heat through a bare arm or leg as you do through your noggin.” When going outside on a cold day, it is just as important to cover up the rest of your body as it is your head. While wearing the right winter gear is necessary to protect us from the harsh temperatures, research states that bundling up won’t actually keep away any colds. To put it simply, How Stuff Works explains that “Colds are actually caused by viruses. You need to be exposed to the cold virus in order to get sick.” Colds can travel through the air which is why it is important to wash your hands frequently and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze but, unfortunately, what you wear won’t be able to protect you from germs that are circulating. In fact, being outside as opposed to being in a crowded classroom or office might actually help you ward off infections since it is more likely that enclosed, congested rooms contain more germs.

Wet Hair In Winter

Health and fitness website, Health, explains that “Unless you are so cold that you get hypothermia, which could make you susceptible to infection, wet hair or clothes won’t increase your vulnerability” of catching a cold. Interestingly, How Stuff Works suggests that it isn’t even the coldness of the temperature, “but the humidity (or lack thereof) that [can make you sick]. Scientists have shown that cold winter air (which is less humid than warm summer air) can dry out the mucus lining of your nasal passages, making it easier for viruses to get in and make you sick.” Using a humidifier or nasal spray can help restore some moisture back into your body, but be sure to talk to a doctor being using.

Wet Hair Will Not Result In Catching a Cold

Verdict: False. Going out with wet hair won’t result in catching a cold. This rumor, which may have started from “A German scientist [who] discovered during World War I that soldiers who slept in cold, wet trenches were four times more likely to get colds than those who rested in dry barracks,” doesn’t apply to being outside with wet hair for a few minutes, How Stuff Works says. To increase your chances of staying healthy this winter, wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your eyes or mouth, keep up with an exercise regime, and get plenty of sleep.

Space Heaters Can Make You Sick

Did you grow up with this wet hair myth?


  1. Can Going Out With Wet Hair Make You Sick? This Is Why The Old Wive’s Tale Has Stood The Test Of Time – Screenny

    […] old wives’ tales — that’s has been passed down from generation to generation is that going outside with wet hair can make you sick. No one really knows how this would work, since wetness doesn’t inherently make you more […]


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