Wet Hair does make you sick!
Growing up, my mother used to tell me so many things, which made sense as I used to do exactly as I was told but she would never be able to tell me the reasons behind things. Her usual response would be because her elders told her! I know I definitely cannot get away with using that excuse with children of today.
One of the things that I was told is never go out in the morning with wet hair nor go to bed with wet hair. Only after studying real science did I understand why and it forms part of my beautiful medicine. Mother would also tell me to wear a wool hat and scarf on days when the temperature is below 18 degrees as well as windy days. The reasons for covering head, neck and shoulders became clear when I read the Yellow Emperor!
In TICM, the condition of our hair is a direct reflection of the condition of our Blood, Liver and Kidneys. Hair is thick, dark, healthy and glossy when there is an abundant flow of Kidney essence (Jing) and Liver Blood. If there is a deficiency, our hair may turn dull, lifeless and brittle. The deficiency may even lead to premature hair greying and thinning.
The external pathogens responsible for cold and flu symptoms in a body are seen as invasions of wind. Wind is considered to be one of six external pathogens that can invade the body and produce symptoms. Our body is protected by what is known as the Wei Qi (defensive Qi) also known as our immune system. This is our body's first line of defence. When we are strong and healthy, our immune system stands guard, keeps the pores of our skin closed and prevents wind from entering. However when we are overworked, highly stressed, lack appropriate rest, eat poorly or are simply inappropriately dressed for certain weather conditions, our defence system becomes compromised, our pores open and wind enters the body.
What’s even worse, a chronically damp scalp or pillowcase leaves an environment for bacteria and fungus to grow, which can result in pesky dandruff and an uncomfortable red and itchy scalp. And to top it all off, the growth of bacteria increases your blood flow to fight the infection, which causes increased pressure resulting in a headache. Waking up with a migraine is definitely not a good way to start the day.
So, while a cold may not necessarily be coming your way from sleeping with damp hair, it is a much better idea to dry your hair before bed and before leaving the house to avoid being affected by the wind elements and dampness. So when someone says to me they woke up like this, my response is "lets be serious, no one wakes up like this". There is always cause and effect with absolutely everything in life.