Can You Get Sick From Not Wearing A Jacket In Cold Weather?

Can you get sick from not wearing a jacket in cold weather? You’ve probably heard all the cold weather myths or wondering what’s true about winter weather and health (like, can you get sick from not dressing warm)? Or, you may even be wondering does cold weather weaken your immune system? We’ll discuss winter myths, list lesson ideas for winter, and even give you fun winter kids activities to go along with the big question of can cold weather make you sick! (Sorry kids, they’re probably not going to be myths to get a snow day!)

Can You Get Sick From Not Wearing A Jacket In Cold Weather? teen girl in winter hat and wrapped in blanket without winter coat and looking cold

Can You Get Sick From Not Wearing A Jacket In Cold Weather?

Can you get sick from being outside in the cold without a jacket?

Can a child get sick from not wearing a coat is a one of those myths for winter that parents love to say! The answer is yes… and no. You can get sick from not wearing a jacket in cold weather, but probably not for the reason you think (shivering and being cold). Although illnesses are caused by things like viruses and bacteria, the reason that you may get sick when you’re cold is that it lowers your immune system, making it harder to fight off an illness. This can leave you more susceptible to getting sick.

So, if you’ve been wondering can you get sick from not wearing enough clothes in cold weather, the answer is that it can make you more susceptible to catching a cold (or other winter illnesses)!

But, you can’t catch a cold or actually get sick from not having a coat on.

(It’s just one of those winter health myths.)

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“People often associate going outside with wet hair or being underdressed with getting sick because exposure to germs is often more likely when you go outside. The common cold is transmitted through bodily fluids, such as when people who are sick sneeze, cough or blow their nose. So you have just as much of an opportunity to be exposed to germs indoors, especially when you are in close contact with others.”

Mayo Clinic

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST EPISODE: WEAR A COAT OR CATCH A COLD (where we break down the does cold weather make you sick myth)

Don’t miss our winter lesson plans and winter lesson activities for kids below!

How do you catch a cold from cold weather?

While there are many myths about how you can catch a cold, the most common way to catch a cold is from contact with another person who is infected with a virus. You can also catch a cold from being in contact with respiratory secretions, such as saliva, mucus, or blood. Colds are most commonly spread through the air, but can also be spread through contact with contaminated surfaces.

You cannot catch a cold from being cold. However, if you are in a cold environment for an extended period of time, you may be at risk for developing hypothermia.

Hypothermia is a condition where the body temperature drops below the normal range, and it can be life-threatening. Symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, confusion, memory loss, drowsiness and slurred speech. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

Wearing a jacket in cold weather will not prevent you from catching a cold. However, staying warm and dry will help keep you healthy, comfortable, and help keep your immune system healthy.

Can you catch a cold from cold water?

You may be wondering can you catch a cold from cold water? Although it’s a popular misconception, you can only catch a cold from exposure to one of the viruses that causes the common cold. Colds are caused by viruses, and not by cold water or weather conditions.


According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, there are over 200 viruses that cause the common cold!

Can you catch a cold from being cold?

You may be wondering can you catch a cold from being too cold? When you’re cold, your body works hard to keep you warm. (That’s why you shiver!) This can be be taxing on your immune system, which can make you more vulnerable to viruses and bacteria and make it easier for you to get sick.

When your body is fighting off an infection, being cold can make it harder for your immune system to work properly. So, while you’re not likely to get sick from being in a cold temperature, it is possible to get sick faster because your immune system is lowered.

Virus lessons for kids text above a cartoon kid sneezing

Ideas for Winter Lessons Kindergarten And Up

These are great to add to your winter curriculum, winter science (or adjacent to your snow science), learning about the difference between a virus and bacteria and more!

Science Books for Kids to Go with Winter Learning Activities or a Winter Thematic Unit

We hoped this helped answer can you get sick from not wearing a jacket in cold weather!

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Jacqueline Wilson, the mom half of the Parent Busters Podcast, is also the founder of Homeschool Super Freak (named a top 15 BEST Homeschool Site), a professional educational consultant and writer, former award-winning college professor, educator of 18+ years, homeschooling mom of over 11 years, and #1 Bestselling Education Author. She's been featured in local and national news and media outlets. She loves rescue pets.

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