Is there a link between wet hair and colds in kids?
The next time those colder days approach, instead of worrying about the combination of wet hair and colds, invest in a good humidifier.
For years, we have been told that wet hair and colds go hand in hand. If we go out in low temperatures just after a shower, we could end up with a runny nose and sometimes fever, cautioned our own mothers. And so we advise the same to our own kids.
There’s no doubt that this fear which our mothers instilled in us is now being passed on to our children. We tell them not to step out of the house with wet hair if the temperature is lower than normal, or at night.
But as it turns out, there’s no correlation between wet hair and colds. However, there is a connection between low humidity and colds! Yes, you read that right.
According to an interview with Dr Stan Spinner, chief medical officer, Texas Children’s Pediatrics, by the New York Times (NYT), people need to be exposed to viruses to get sick. “By definition, a cold is a viral upper respiratory infection, so no virus, no cold,” said Dr Spinner.
He also added that since there are a large number of viruses around us, we tend to catch colds from time to time.
“There are a large number of viruses that can cause the common cold. That’s why we catch hundreds and hundreds of them throughout our lifetime,” he added.
However, he shared low humidity can actually increase the chances of developing a really bad cold.
Running air conditioning at home not only dries the rooms but also our nasal passages. “When you don’t have good nasal mucus flow, it’s harder for the immune system to work against the virus,” he told NYT.
Research published in the medical journal Plos One states that low indoor humidity can promote transmission of flu viruses.
“At low relative humidity, influenza retains maximal infectivity and inactivation of the virus at higher relative humidity occurs rapidly after coughing,” the study notes.
So in high humidity, flu viruses are thrown out of the system through sneezing and attach themselves to water molecules. These molecules drop out of the air, much before they can trigger an infection. But in dry rooms, these viruses continue to float around till they can attach themselves to a host body.
Fascinating, isn’t it?
So the next time those cold days approach, instead of running after your kid with a scarf and worrying about the combination of wet hair and colds, invest in a good humidifier. Better yet, create one at home!
As stated, dry air can cause flu viruses to linger in your room. So the best solution to remove those viruses is by humidifying your room. But not all of us can afford to buy one. So why not make one on your own?
Instead of draining the water you just used to shower, let it cool on its own. The steam from the water will create moisture in the room, which you can pass on to other rooms by opening your bathroom doors.
Plants can naturally moisten the air in your home by a process called transpiration. When you water your plant, the moisture travels from its roots to the pores of the leaf. The pores then release this moisture and increase humidity in the room.
A water source either a vase with water and stones or a fountain can also do the trick. Not only will the sound of water act make you feel relaxed, it will also add extra humidity to the room. Just make sure you clean the water regularly to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes!