Health in winter: Does cold showers strengthen the immune system? Cold myths fact-checked

The cold season not only brings frosty temperatures, but also a variety of cold wisdom.

Health in winter: Does cold showers strengthen the immune system? Cold myths fact-checked

The cold season not only brings frosty temperatures, but also a variety of cold wisdom. Women are generally said to freeze more quickly than men and wet hair can lead to colds. What is really true and what remains an enduring myth.

Rating: So far unclear, but not unhealthy.

Facts: Warm-headed people can breathe a sigh of relief because this myth is not entirely true. According to the Health Knowledge Foundation, there is not enough scientific evidence to support the claim that people who take cold showers are less likely to get sick. According to a Dutch study, cold showers can have a positive effect on the immune system. For the study, some of the 3,000 test subjects had to shower with cold water for 30 to 90 seconds every day - the comparison group, however, had to shower with warm water. Regularly alternating between hot and cold showers resulted in people who didn't have severe problems reporting illness less often. However, this did not mean that these people were sick for fewer days.

Cold water can actually do something for the immune system - even if it is difficult to measure and more comprehensive studies are still missing. The studies that suggest that cold stimuli strengthen our immune system are not yet conclusive enough.

Rating: Correct.

Facts: This claim is often dismissed as nonsense - but it is true. Studies show that the different sensations of cold between men and women are biologically and hormonally determined. This is partly due to the thickness of the skin and the higher proportion of muscle in men.

With roughly the same body weight, women tend to have fewer muscles that produce heat. Likewise, there is more fat between the skin and the muscles, so the skin feels colder because it is a little further away from the blood vessels. Women also have a lower metabolic rate than men, which reduces the ability to produce heat, so women are more likely to feel cold when temperatures drop.

Rating: False.

Facts: A schnapps or mulled wine seems ideal for warming up. After just a short time, a warming feeling spreads throughout the body. When you drink alcohol, the blood vessels in your skin expand, causing more blood to flow to the surface of your body. This initially creates a warmer feeling. But only for a short time: According to the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA), the heat is released to the outside through the skin and the body temperature drops. At the same time, the body also draws heat away from the internal organs. If there is inadequate protection, the body cools down.

Rating: Unclear.

Facts: A myth that is repeatedly believed to be true. Viruses are the trigger for a cold. And they are not interested in the level of moisture in the hair, but in that of the mucous membranes. If these are too dry, they form an ideal nesting place for the pathogens. Without the pathogens, infection is impossible. Nevertheless, in sub-zero temperatures, you should go out the door with dry hair and, ideally, with a hat to prevent you from getting cold. There are isolated studies that suggest a connection between colds and the cooling of the body. Overall, however, this is controversial.

Rating: Correct.

Facts: The level of blood pressure changes throughout the day. It rises sharply when you wake up and continues to increase as the morning progresses. According to the Health Knowledge Foundation, various factors such as gender, age, different lifestyle habits and the environment influence blood pressure. This is how it reacts primarily to temperature differences: “In winter it is higher than in summer because the blood vessels constrict due to the cold and thus cause an increase in blood pressure,” it is said.

Persistently high blood pressure can cause serious damage to the brain, heart and kidneys over a long period of time, explains the Federal Center for Health Education. One speaks of high blood pressure when the values ​​are more than 140:90.

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