"Wear A Sweater Or You'll Catch A Cold"
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Your mom said: "Put on a sweater before you go outside, or you'll catch a cold!"
You'd sigh, bundle yourself up in your new Christmas sweater -- the embarrassing one with all the prancing elves -- then step outside and immediately get pelted with a barrage of well-deserved, icy snowballs.
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"But you bought me this, Nana!"
All because of an old wives' tale. "Colds are viral," you screamed at your mother, "they have nothing to do with temperature!"
Then you got a timeout for telling your mom to "suck the science" again.
It turns out that the age-old myth that you can catch a cold by being cold has some truth to it; just don't tell your mother or she'll never let you hear the end of it.
Scientists conducted an experiment in which they tortured their victims by having them sit with their feet in ice-cold water for 20 minutes. After checking back a week later, they found that 29 percent of those subjects had come down with a cold.
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Along with an all-encompassing hatred of scientists.
This might not sound significant, until you compare it with the control group: an equal number of study participants who were not forced to freeze their feet, and presumably just sat in the lobby reading a People magazine from 1989 until the time came to collect their fee. Of these, only 9 percent got sick. That's what scientists officially call "statistically fucking significant."
It turns out you and your mom were both sort of right: Colds are viral, but research shows that cold temperatures can substantially worsen any largely dormant viruses you might already have, to the point that it becomes noticeable and you're considered "sick."
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See, you technically were sick all those times you called into work so you could binge-watch Netflix.