Debunking Myths: Can You Get Sick from the Rain?

rainDo you remember getting sick after getting caught in the rain? You may have suddenly developed the sniffles after being surprised by a downpour, or after hurrying from your office to your car in a torrential rainfall. Or maybe you found yourself sneezing incessantly after trying to beat the rain.

With the fall season upon us, the chances of light showers and rainfall have significantly increased. With this revives an old warning we often heard from our parents while growing up: getting caught in the rain can cause you to get sick.

This warning can continue to haunt us even when we are old enough to know better. As times go by, this warning gets passed on from parent to child, until our own offspring would grow up thinking that the rain is not their friend and exposure to it can trigger illnesses.

It’s about time we shed light on this matter by scrutinizing if the rain is indeed the culprit to the flu, the common cold, and other illnesses.

What causes the common cold?

According to the Mayo Clinic, the common cold is caused by many viruses, the most notorious of which is the rhinovirus. This virus enters the body through the nose, eyes, or mouth, and can spread through the air when someone with the virus sneezes, coughs, or talks in your presence.

Likewise, this virus can also spread through hand-to-hand transmission, such as when you share contaminated objects such as glasses, utensils, or towels. In the workplace, you could be touching items that were previously handled by people who are sick, such as the telephone or even a pen. When you touch your eyes, mouth, or nose after coming into contact with contaminated objects, then you are at risk of getting the virus as well.

What does this have to do with the rain? As the cold weather settles in, we spend more time indoors, and therefore are at risk of prolonged exposure to the virus, particularly in the office or your home.

What happens when you get caught in the rain?

When you are caught in the rain, your body temperature drops, which can cause you to temporarily have sniffles. However, if your body temperature remains at a low point even when you are already indoors, then your immune system can be compromised, particularly if you are already carrying the virus.

This therefore means that you can only get sick from viruses and germs, and not to the rain exposure per se. What’s more, it’s not the wetness of the season that can get you, but rather the coldness.

So if you are already carrying the virus, or if you are in a place where you can get it, the chances of getting sick after being a little wet can compromise your health. To avoid this, you should probably get out of your wet clothes as soon as possible and to take a nice, warm shower. This way, your body temperature would normalize and you would be on your way to feeling at the pink of health.

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