Tips&TricksWet hair won't cause colds, but might make you more susceptible, experts say

Wet hair won't cause colds, but might make you more susceptible, experts say

The woman is drying her hair with a towel.
The woman is drying her hair with a towel.
Images source: © Getty Images | Boy_Anupong
8:57 AM EST, February 12, 2024

Routines such as walking your dog or visiting the store in the late evening could seem risky. After all, the common belief is that leaving the house with wet hair could lead to the flu or even pneumonia, at least according to our mothers and grandmothers.

But is this really true? The editors of the Daily Mail sought to find out, consulting an infectious disease specialist on this matter. As it turns out, having wet hair is not directly responsible for causing illness, and an expert's opinion backs this claim.

Could going out with wet hair lead to pneumonia?

Many women dream of having long and thick hair. However, this desired length comes with its own challenges. For one, hair at such a length can take hours to dry, and using a hairdryer is not always feasible. Not to mention, some of us consciously avoid it, as the high temperatures can cause irreversible damage to the strands. So instead, we might leave the house with damp hair, a practice for which our grandmothers have often chastised us, claiming it's a surefire way to catch a cold.

But is this really putting us at risk? The answer appears to be... no. Prof. Paul Hunter, an infectious disease specialist, spoke to the Daily Mail to clarify: going out with wet hair isn't as hazardous as it might have been presumed to be. According to him, wet hair, in itself, cannot cause pneumonia or the flu. The only threat would be coming into direct contact with an infected person.

Connection between wet hair and colds

The specialist did, however, point out that damp hair could lead to a chilling sensation in the body. As it is widely known, a cooled body is more susceptible to infections, a fact that is confirmed by studies conducted by Prof. Ron Eccles from Cardiff University's Common Cold Centre.

In one of these studies, 180 participants were divided into two groups: one wore socks, and the other had to dip their feet in cold water. All participants were then exposed to a person infected with a virus. The outcome? Those who were subjected to the cold conditions caught the virus 10% more often than their sock-wearing counterparts. "While controversial, I believe that under certain circumstances, being cold may lead to catching a cold, if the virus is already present," explains Prof. Ron Eccles.

In conclusion, though going out with wet hair cannot cause pneumonia or the flu, it does risk lowering the body's temperature. If you've just washed your hair and plan to be in a room filled with people, it may be advisable to dry your hair before heading out.

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