DALLAS—Last week's icy blast should a good measuring stick--if cold weather makes people sick then everyone should be hacking and coughing.
Zane Wright and his friends aren't exactly bundled up on the eve of the next winter storm.
His mom always warns him that if he goes outside without a jacket--he'll catch a cold.
"Well," Zane said. "That's what my mom always tells me."
According to Baylor-Carrollton doctor Leigh Galatzan Zane's mother is wrong.
Viruses and bacteria make us sick--not the cold.
"I think you are going to get sick from being around people who are sick," Dr. Galatzan said. "Respiratory droplets mainly."
Cold weather does cause its share of health problems--Dr. Galatzan with people with arthritis complain of more pain when the mercury starts to dip.
Cold weather can also impact the eyes--Ron Chu has dry eye syndrome and last week's cold, dry air was brutal.
"It actually worsened my dry eye condition so it felt like sand or grit in my eye so it makes it very difficult to wear contacts," Ron said. "It was just unbearable."
Ron had to use artificial tears every fifteen minutes.
Ophthalmologist Marvin Hsiao said people with low tear production have a hard time when the weather is cold and dry.
"Well," Dr. Hsiao said. "Not only the air being more dry and cold weather, we're using heaters more and that can dehumidify the air and cause dry eyes."
Dr. Galatzan said cold weather also impacts people with breathing issues.
"I think we see a lot of increase in incidence or respiratory problems in people with chronic lung disease like COPD, emphysema and asthma when it's cold."
Dr. Galatzan considers wearing a hat and gloves outside when it's cold to be a good idea--not so that you won't catch a cold but to prevent frostbite.
So the next time mom tells you to "put on a coat or you'll catch a cold!" she means well, but she's wrong.
"Well, that's certainly a good wives tale," Dr. Galatzan said. "But I think that mainly would decrease you're risk for hyperthermia."