Monday, November 23, 2009

Feeling the benefit

I was wondering today when it was we started to tell people not to wear their coats indoors as they won't feel 'the benefit' when outside. Is that true? Are you more likely to succumb to pneumonia because you wore your coat inside?

My grandmother believed any number of things would give you pneumonia including going outside with wet hair and not wearing an adequate vest . I suppose in the days of antibiotics we are more cavalier about these things, however I can report that I have ventured outdoors with wet hair and no harm came to me although I had a slightly cold head.

But the old coat chestnut? Is it a testable theory I idly wondered. You would need two groups of people - those that normally feel the cold and those that don't. I belong to the first group and know I would moan about being cold in any situation so it's not really scientific. Then you'd have to have a control group of people who don't care one way or the other. Then there's the coat. Does it only apply to thick or thin coats? Astrakhan or wool? Fleece or quilted? It would not be a straighforward study, that's for sure.

Oh and the meaning of the word 'benefit': what benefits one person might not another. As a permanently cold person, I'm all for wandering about in a duvet with a zip up the front (in fact my winter anorak is essentially a duvet with a zip up the front with the mildest nod to style) but for some a skimpy cardigan affords benefit.

Sod the Hadron collider, this is an experiment that needs doing - now.

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