The myth: Cold showers cool you off fastest
The cool facts: Jumping into a cold shower on a hot day sounds logical, but it may not cool you off as planned. “Suddenly going from hot to cold causes your body’s defense mechanism to kick in,” says Dr. Balu Gadhe, internal medicine specialist and senior medical officer with CareMore, a medical group in Cerritos, Calif. The body possesses a natural mechanism that preserves its core temperature. When you are hot and suddenly get into a cold shower, your blood vessels constrict, which stops you from “taking in” the coolness, Gadhe says. To avoid this self-protective reaction, Gadhe recommends showering with tepid water instead of cold. The best way to beat the heat: Eat or drink something cold, which lowers your body’s core temperature.
The myth: Air-conditioning increases risk of catching cold
The cool facts: Next to a dip in a pool, nothing beats an air-conditioned room to help cool off on a hot summer day. But some believe the drop in temperature may increase the risk of catching a cold. “Not so,” Gadhe says. “Colds are caused by viruses, not cold air.” Those with allergies may be at a higher risk of having an allergic reaction, however, if the air conditioning filter isn’t changed regularly. “Air conditioning also takes the humidity out of the air, which can cause sinuses to dry out, triggering allergic reactions in some people,” Gadhe says. Change your air conditioner’s filter regularly (recommendations vary, depending on the type of filter).
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