eli5: Why is covering your ears in the cold so important for not getting sick?



eli5: Why is covering your ears in the cold so important for not getting sick?

In: Biology

This sounds like a superstition that has been passed onto you as a fact.

There is nothing directly related to the cold that makes us more likely to get sick. The reason we generally get sick more often in the winter is that we spend more time inside and around other people, meaning we are more likely to pass illnesses onto each other.

Some people find that the cold weather can give them earache, so they cover their ears when out in the cold to avoid this. But this still isn’t the same as getting sick.

Covering your ears won’t keep you from getting sick.

But our extremities, including our ears, are the most prone to getting frostbite or otherwise getting too cold. They are small, have kinda poor circulation, and lots of surface area.

Also it’s just more comfortable to not have really cold ears? You don’t need a reason to wear a hat beyond comfort.

It’s not unless it’s incredibly cold out, though there is SOME truth to this belief.

Your ears have more skin exposed to the air than anywhere else on your head, so they’d act as better radiators. And the cold air would suck out the heat from them more efficiently than anywhere else on your head. And your body kinda goes into “power saving mode” when it’s cold, reducing cell production and weakening your immune system, this is the same reason why refrigerators preserve food. In the winter you’re generally cooped up with other people more often, leading to a higher infection rate over all.

TL:DR, it’s generally negligible, but getting cold for prolonged periods of time does make it harder for your body to fight diseases.