People catch viruses when their bodies are weakened by casual cold and resulting cough. Most of the time, bad weather is not necessarily to blame. It’s just the wrong clothing.
Can you think about a calm and sunny winter day? Do you remember actually feeling cold? Maybe on your nose, but you were not really freezing. Such days won’t make you sick.
Wind and humidity paired with clothing that does not keep your body heat will make you coughing in a while.
Overdressing and overcompensating
Young mothers often worry to have their babies clothed too warm in the cold weather. Why? Because a sweating baby is a sick baby! The same applies to adults, indeed.
Quite often, you are not “underdressed,” you are rather overdressed or dressed “fragmentarily.” And then you sweat in the public transport and cool down too quickly when you get outside.
Even worse, you try to compensate for too warm clothing by exposing selected surfaces of your body. A real health-killer is walking in windy cold weather with a goose jacket on and no hat. Or a warm outdoor or even Arctic expedition parka with summer shoes.
Another combination that I never could get used to (but kept seeing quite often) are a puffy jacket with summer trousers. Brrr!
So, the first rule is balance: cover as much skin as possible. Do not overheat single parts of your body. Once overheated, you won’t stand the temptation to put off your jacket, or your hat, or your gloves. Stop opening the door to the cold!
Your helpers: a waistcoat
A waistcoat is your biggest helper. Why is this? It warms you without blocking your armpits! Remember that some sport jackets have zips under the arms?
On the contrary, a thick jacket will not allow the first sweat to evaporate without any harm. Your body won’t cool down a bit. Instead, it will signal you to put off your jacket. As soon as you do it, you are trapped in exposing your body sweat to the cold and can barely avoid getting sick afterward.
Besides, most of the time you only need to protect your essential organs hidden in the upper part of your body behind the ribs. Legs — and limbs in general — rarely get cold since they are better secured by muscles and a fat layer.
Shoes, hat, and gloves
Always wear warm shoes. Do not compensate good boots by anything else. Your feet lose warmth very quickly through the contact with the cold air and the cold ground.
If you have to go to your office daily, have a second pair of shoes. Change shoes when you come and go.
Start wearing a hat, a beanie, or whatever you prefer as soon as your ears start feeling uncomfortable outside. Even if it is not so cold, seemingly. Strong wind can do much more harm than a low temperature. Ears are the channels that transport cold air into your head. If you keep them exposed, a strong wind will pump cold air into them.
Let nature take care of you
As long as you can, avoid or reduce synthetic clothing among your winter outfits. Why a sheep needs no Gore-Tex? Because nature is still better in manufacturing winter cold protection. I have nothing against Gore-Tex and alike. In fact, I possess quite a lot of active sport clothing made of synthetic materials. But they work well when you do some active sport. They are not made for this slow sweating in a public train or in a supermarket.
Wool clothing is indeed expensive and requires a lot of care, like special wash powder, etc. But it stays clean longer when you wear it properly, for instance, with a less expensive shirt under it that you can wash easily and more often. A good wool pullover is a must in the winter.
Jeans may be traitors
Cotton was not made for low temperatures. Neither was denim. It feels icy when the thermometer goes down. Oddly enough, skinny jeans stays warm since they are very close to your skin. But you may be loosing a lot of warmth through them.
Wear some wool trousers instead.
If you cannot imagine your style without jeans, stick to the thick ones with the fabric weighting higher than 16. No stretch and some free space for the wool pants similar to those your grandma was wearing before WWII. I am not kidding. They help a lot.
You can wear them above your underwear and take them off while your in the office.
By the way, another great rule for winter clothing is that many layers are better than one thick layer. You can always reduce their number and stay safe.
Wind is much more mean than low temperature. Choosing your winter jacket for a windy region, pay attention that the external surface is windproof. It can be a good thing to refrain from buying a wool coat. It offers no wind protection. Keep wool near your skin but use something different as the most external layer.
Regretfully, the same must be said about all down jackets. Downs and feathers stretch out when the temperature is extremely low. By creating a lot of space between them, feathers fill themselves with the air: the best insulation ever! But when it’s windy and especially when the wind is humid, they fail to sustain this heating effect. Instead, they let the wind reach directly to your body.