Mom May Have Been Right, So Bundle Up

Nov. 13, 2005 — -- Since the early 1960s, doctors generally doubted the stereotypical mother's advice that bundling up helps avoid a cold -- saying the cold virus causes a cold, not going out in the winter without a hat or with wet hair.

But now, some doctors say mom's conventional wisdom was right.

A report coming out in this week's Oxford Journal of Family Practice, an international scientific publication from Oxford University, concludes that chilling can bring on common cold symptoms.

"Chilling causes a constriction in the blood vessels in the nose, and this reduces our resistance to infections within the nose," said Dr. Ron Eccles, a professor at Cardiff School of Biosciences' Common Cold Centre, who worked on the study.

Eccles asked 180 healthy volunteers to remove their shoes and socks. Half put their feet in a bowl of ice cold water, while the others sat with their feet in an empty bowl as the control group.

Over the next four to five days, 29 percent of the chilled volunteers developed cold symptoms, compared to only 9 percent in the control group.

"The chilled group had approximately 10 [percent] to 12 percent more colds than the controlled group, thus supporting the folklore of so many mothers, who know that in the winter you should wrap yourselves well and avoid getting your feet wet," Eccles said.

While the cure for the common cold might still be generations away, generations of mothers across the world can finally say, "I told you so!"

Taina Hernandez reported this story for "Good Morning America" Weekend edition.