Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity

ByABC News
January 23, 2004, 9:14 AM

Jan. 23, 2004 -- -- Can going out in the cold give you a cold? Is life getting worse? Can money buy happiness?

You may be among the many who would answer yes to these questions. You'd be wrong. There are a lot of popularly held beliefs out there that simply aren't true. Yet the media tend to report on many of them as though they were hard facts.

Myth No. 10 Getting Cold Can Give You a Cold

All through my childhood, I had to watch health movies which sold us the old wive's tale: being cold will give you a cold.

People still think that's true, and they make sure their kids are more than prepared for nasty weather. So what happens when kids play a game of football without any coats some without any shirts on a 40-degree day? Probably nothing.

Public health expert Dr. Mark Callahan explained being cold has nothing to do with getting a cold. "Running around outside in the cold won't give you a cold. You have to get exposed to a virus, pick it up and then you'll get a cold," Callahan said.

I learned about this myth years ago, when 20/20 sent me to a cold part of England. Scientists there found that dropping cold viruses into people's noses often made them sick. But getting them cold and wet made no difference.

The researchers had people walk outside in the winter rain and then sit in unheated rooms in various stages of undress, and those chilled people got no more colds than did anyone else.

The cold is caused by a virus, not by temperature. And people get more colds in the winter, only because then we spend more time indoors passing the virus back and forth because we're closer to each other. Being cold has nothing to do with it.

Myth No. 9 We Have Less Free Time Than We Used To

Countless news stories tell us we're "running ourselves ragged." And everyone thinks it's true.