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If you have children — or even if you don’t — you’ve certainly heard criticism of those who shower in the rain with kids. In March 2023, a video went viral on social networks by simply exposing this subject, which is still an eternal dilemma between fathers and mothers: after all, does taking a shower in the rain cause the flu or a cold?
In the video, a couple has fun and plays in the backyard in the rain with a baby in arms. In the captions, the mother leaves the following message: “No, taking rain does not cause a cold. As it is a viral infection, only these pathogens, disease-causing microorganisms, can cause the condition. Let your child be happy and be happy with them. Create memories”.
The video was seen by millions of people and gathered thousands of comments, both from people supporting the initiative to play in the rain and from people criticizing it. According to the pediatrician Linus Pauling Fascinamedical manager of the Maternal and Child Department of the Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, the mother, Ana Carolinayou are right: taking a shower in the rain does not cause the flu or a cold.
Rain shower cause a cold?
In practice, explains the doctor, these diseases do not differ, since they are the same viruses that
cause local irritation and systemic effects, such as pain throughout the body, sluggishness and malaise.
“Rain bath does not cause the flu. No foot wind, no ice cream. What causes the flu are several types of respiratory viruses that have in common sneezing, coughing, runny nose and nasal congestion, in addition to sore throat. Cold, snow, icy water and rain in themselves do not cause the flu, otherwise people who live in cold countries would always be sick and this does not happen”, explained the pediatrician.
According to Fascina, this belief is old and misinformation exists because contact with temperatures lower than that of the human body triggers these sneezing and coughing reflexes. But then, why does the nose usually run when there is exposure to these situations?
“In these cases, the nose runs due to a reaction to the cold and not to an infection. When we take the rain or go out in the cold, our body reacts locally in the nasal mucous membranes, causing vasoconstriction. [diminuição do fluxo sanguíneo]. Thus, the local cells understand that they are more dehydrated and release mucus to protect against the loss of local heat and humidity, resulting in a runny nose”, explains Fascina.
The same happens with coughing after exposure: it is nothing more than a defense reflex to try to keep the respiratory areas moist and warm.
Fascina points out, however, that these reactions should only last for the time of exposure to cold or rain. “By returning to the proper thermal environment, this reaction slows down and tends to disappear quickly. When the person exposes himself repeatedly, he can have the impression of being something continuous, ”she said. “If you amend it with a viral picture, it may seem that the rain was to blame”.
The pediatrician makes one more warning: the biggest risks of taking rain are being struck by lightning (especially when you are in an open field), slipping in puddles of water and getting hurt, becoming contaminated because of dirty sewage water, among others things.
importance of vaccination
There is a fundamental measure to avoid the flu: vaccination. According to Fascina, immunization is recommended for all age groups, including pregnant women, as it helps to keep health up to date during autumn and winter, when people tend to spend more time indoors and
“This period helps with the spread of viruses by coughing, sneezing or simply failing to sanitize our hands when touching surfaces. These are the biggest sources of contamination. Therefore, vaccinate your child against the flu”, said the pediatrician.