Mom Doesn't Always Know Best...but don't tell her I said that


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So I called my mom the other day, just catching up on everything. In the middle of talking, I sneezed. BIG MISTAKE.  The flood of questioning that followed went a little something like this:

"Are you sick?" "How did you get sick?" "Are you not taking care of yourself?" "Did you go out with wet hair again? You know you have a bad habit of doing that."
cold hair.jpg

After rolling my eyes and hoping it would translate through the phone, I thought about what she said for a second. Not because I was going to listen to her and stop doing it, but because I had always believed her when she said going out with wet hair made me sick, and I wanted to know why.

So thanks to major advancements in technology, I was able to have my answer in a matter of minutes. Here's what I found:

According to Discovery Health, one study reported that 40% of mothers believed that going outside in the cold with wet hair would cause a cold, or a related illness. Looks like my mother isn't the only one!

I wonder where they all got this idea...

Some attribute it to Louis Pasteur's experiment in 1878 where he exposed chickens to anthrax and then dipped their feet in icy water to see how it affected the odds of them catching the disease.  All of these chickens ended up getting anthrax and died.

Research in the early 20th century proved to be consistent with Pasteur's findings.  A German scientist noticed that men living in cold, wet trenches during WWI were four times more likely to get a cold as compared to those living in dry areas.

BUT, apparently, the idea that being cold and wet causes a cold is just one big myth.

So how are these two things related?

Turns out, being in the cold weather will simply make you more susceptible to getting a cold/other virus.  The cold air is less humid, and therefore your mucus dries out, making it substantially easier for a virus to attack you.  The only way to actually get the virus, though, is through contact with someone who already has it.

Well there you have it, mom, you were wrong.

I guess I was too though...I can't be the only one who believed this myth, can I?

3 Comments

This is actually very interesting. I always thought that going outside with wet hair made me more prone to illness, it's weird how these myths spread. Anyone could easily find out this wasn't true by simply googling it, but yet everyone just chooses to believe it. I found an article on 11 common myths that aren't true. Did you know that your chances of getting heads when flipping a coin aren't actually 50/50? Here's the article,(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/12/common-myths-not-true_n_983785.html#s375669&title=What_are_the), it's actually really interesting to see how many things most people believe to be true but aren't.

I am really glad we are scientifically working thorough some wives tale's.
While I see the scientific reasoning behind your conclusion here I was wondering if you have though about other home myths specifically how to treat colds, like chicken soup?

In my research i found a New York times article suggesting that chicken soup may help move white blood cells thought the blood stream to fight colds, according to a 2000 study at University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

Do you think that our mother's may be right in some of there remedies?

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/10/12/the-science-of-chicken-soup/

Wow, Miryam, that is strange! Unfortunately, the link would not take me to the site you suggested :(

And Meghan, I actually hadn't thought about that, but I'm glad you found an article on it. That was one part of my mother's advice that I didn't mind so much!

I think our mothers just want to do what they think is best for us and when they see something that potentially could harm us, they don't question why it could harm us, they just believe it as they see it. We can't blame them for that!

Did your mother have any special remedies? I know my grandmother used to make this soup that no one knew what was in it...but it worked every time!

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