The Real Truth About The Risks Of Catching The Common Cold

The Real Truth About The Risks Of Catching The Common Cold

My husband and I recently had a lively conversation about colds. I joked how hilarious it was that people still say “Put yer coat on, yull catch a damn cold!” (Misspellings used for phonetic emphasis. This is how EVERYONE remembers this phrase being yelled).

My husband stared at me blankly. I ignored him and continued on about how silly it was that many people once thought that “getting cold” could actually “give you a cold”. He continued to stare. I gently said, “honey, you can’t get “a cold” from “being cold.” Getting chilly doesn’t suddenly cause you to be highly susceptible to viruses. Your immune system doesn’t suddenly swing open the front door, and cheerfully say to the viruses, “come on in guys, let’s get you all warmed up!”

I could see by the twitch in his left eyebrow he wasn’t buying what I was selling. Then the subject became a joke. Suddenly everywhere we went we were hearing people say “Ya, my defenses must have dropped because I was out in the rain” or “I think I caught it when I left the window open the other night. It was really cold out there!” Every time we heard something related to the theme he would whip his head around and look at me. “See! I told you,” he would scream without speaking.

Once and for all, dear husband, let’s put this one to bed.


When you actually think about this old wives’ tale, it is perplexing how it has been continually propagated. Although illogical beliefs like “Don’t go swimming with a full stomach” and “Don’t stare, it will make you cross-eyed” haven’t made appearances in awhile, the perceived relationship between “getting cold” and “getting a cold” still seems to persist.

Tim Ferris author of the self-help guide, “The Four Hour Body” discusses the benefits of cold temperatures as a type of therapy. Ferris believes exposure to various temperatures can actually boost our immunity. He states that he personally uses ice packs on the back of his neck to force his body into self-regulating temperature mode. He also explains how we have culturally suppressed our immune system capabilities by using excessive temperature regulation tactics. According to Ferris automatic temperature controls in buildings and protective clothing cause us to neglect our own self-regulating temperature modes. Moreover, he believes this neglect has compromised our immune systems.

I can hear Brent saying “I still don’t get why do so many people get sick during the WINTER months when it is cold?”


According to a recent CNN report, “Does cold weather cause colds?” Dr Sorana Segal-Maurer, Dr James Rahal, and Dr Brian Currie agreed that virus attacks, during the winter months, have more to do with people spending more time indoors than being in a cold environment. In other words, during the winter, we are clustered together in close spaces. We also sneeze and cough more often, which exposes us to a variety of germs, some of which can lead to a nasty cold.

And if that is not enough here is my take on it dear husband.

  • People are typically more D deficient in the winter months because of less exposure to sunlight or more time indoors. The result of a low Vitamin D level is immunospupression.
  • People eat more crappy foods in the winter months. Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas alone provide ample opportunity to indulge in sugar and alcohol cravings. With all those foods guess what? Yep- immunosupression.
  • During the winter months, people also eat less variety and quantity of fruits and vegetables. They are less available and more expensive and we are too busy eating sugar and drinking alcohol to care. What does this lead to? Bingo – immunosupression
  • Finally, we tend to experience more stress during the winter months. Holidays, family dynamics and longer work hours especially contribute to elevated cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Heightened cortisol levels leads to, yep, you guessed it – immunosupression.

So, perhaps, if your health allows, do as the Europeans do. Go out, and roll in the snow naked. Your immune system is strengthened by the temperature-regulating efforts!


The winter coat; maybe, to fight off this seasons bugs, leave it behind.


I would love it if you would leave a comment below letting me know how you are liking WELLFITandFED!


2 Responses

  1. For the past several years I’ve gone through phases of cold-water finishes to my showers. I don’t know if it helps with fat loss or immune system improvement. All I know is that I don’t like it. I think I’d rather go roll around in the snow than end a nice, warm, comforting shower with the typically recommended 30-second blast of cold water. I always dread it and sometimes find myself extending my showers too long in an attempt to delay the trauma. Cussing, whooping and screaming don’t seem to help the situation and only disturb my cats.

    I’ll admit that the experience is, uh, exhilarating, to say the least, but it is definitely something that I’ve been unable to get used to. The only time I was able to perform the masochistic ritual without undue stress was at a conference in Tampa one year in July. The water never got cold, only tepid. As I valiantly endured the “cold finish” I smugly thought, “Ha! This ain’t no big deal!”.

    I’m such a candy.

  2. I’m enjoying all the modules! I grew up hearing and believing that the winter months were going to be the death of me and at times it has felt very true. I am ALWAYS sick in the winter. I work with children, have a high stress job and definitely don’t get enough veggies in the winter. Sugar is my addiction. All your practical reasons make perfect sense and I think I will boost my vitamin D this year and I’m working on having one fruit and veggie smoothie a day. Maybe this year will be different. I think I will stay bundled up yet. I don’t care much for the cold.

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About Dr. Denniston

Dr. Denniston is a wellness strategist for elite leaders and their teams, bridging the connection between personal well-being and professional success. She provides custom solutions for burnout and stress and facilitates cohesive habit-training strategies that maximize vitality, productivity, and resilience.

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