-> ''So please call me, baby''\\
''Wherever you are''\\
''It's too cold to be out walking in the streets''\\
''We do crazy things when we're wounded''\\
''Everyone's a bit insane''\\
''I don't want you catching your death of cold''\\
''Out walking in the rain''
-->-- '''Music/TomWaits''', "Please Call Me, Baby" - ''Music/TheHeartOfSaturdayNight''.

The Common Cold is a very mild disease (in first world countries) caused by a number of different viruses that largely have nothing in common other than most of the symptoms they cause. It has been around as long as anyone can remember, but has yet to be stamped out due to the sheer number of "cold" viruses and their different properties. Almost as durable as the disease itself is the myth that it's directly caused by exposure to cold temperatures, and that's what this trope is about.

The origins of the disease's name dates back to ancient times. [[ScienceMarchesOn Long before the advent of germ theory or any understanding of how the body works]], it was believed that one's health was dependent on keeping the body's "humours" - blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile - in balance. The patient exposed to cold temperatures was thought to have taken in a "lump" of cold which would increase the amount of phlegm, so any disease that caused a patient to produce phlegm was said to be caused by "catching cold". In addition, people in pre-industrial times were more likely to embark on travel in the late fall because that's when the year's harvest was sold. Those that went to market (quite possibly through cold, wet conditions) would bring back whatever infections they had been exposed to. Since these infections usually spread through the community in the early winter when the temperature was coincidentally dropping, the common cold gained an additional association with cold weather.

In truth, because the cold can only be caught from ''other people'', you're far ''less'' likely to catch it if you go wandering through the wilderness on a cold night, although prolonged exposure may well weaken your immune system against an infection already acquired. You'd do far better to worry about the much more severe consequences of real exposure, such as hypothermia and frostbite.

Despite the fact that the actual cause of the cold has been fairly common knowledge for about a hundred years now, this fact has not seemed to permeate the public consciousness very far. (In English-speaking communities, this confusion may just be caused by it's being called a 'cold'.) Mothers still caution their children to button up when going outside lest they catch cold, and any character in fiction, especially animation, will instantly begin to sneeze and cough after being chilled or, especially, [[InstantIceJustAddCold frozen]]. These symptoms may go away once they've been warmed up again.

There's some legitimacy to this claim, to wit: having a rapid '''change''' in temperature (such as a home with a roaring fire to the freezing midwinter outdoors) can weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to showing symptoms of the common cold. So, going outside while properly protected from the cold really is good advice for avoiding virus-related unpleasantness, and other cold-related unpleasantness.

The trope, although pretty much a DiscreditedTrope at this point, is still used faithfully in fiction and media -- exposure to cold means you are going to 'catch' a cold or something worse. Once one has caught cold, if it's a GrossOutShow, expect rivers of green mucus, horrible shots of runny noses and hankies and tissues dripping with such.

The variations of this trope are rarely combined with RedemptionInTheRain, SnowMeansCold, or PartlyCloudyWithAChanceOfDeath

See also: FreezeSneeze. When the cold really is fatal, see SnowMeansDeath.


[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* ''KikisDeliveryService'': Kiki ends up sick in bed after getting caught in a storm doing a delivery.
* In ''Manga/HidamariSketch'', when Yoshinoya-sensei (and a number of students) is out sick, the principal advices the other students to take care of themselves, specifically warning them not to go out with wet hair on a cold day just because "you think it looks cool" (implying that that's how Yoshinoya-sensei got sick).
* In the ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' anime episode "The Ice Cave!", Team Rocket doused Ash and his friends with cold water inside the title icy cave, causing Brock to come down with symptoms similar to influenza.
* In the first movie to ''Manga/CardcaptorSakura'', Sakura falls into a (shallow) well and gets completely soaked and then sneezes.
* In ''Manga/ACruelGodReigns'', Jeremy immediately catches a cold after he [[spoiler: [[BungledSuicide attempts to throw himself in the lake during a freezing rain]] but is pulled out by Ian]]. The trope is lampshaded by Lindon, who says he's more worried about Jeremy catching a cold than he is about water in his lungs or the possibility of an irregular heartbeat. To be fair though, Lindon states that Jeremy is probably also sleep deprived, and that the exposure to the cold may have just been the final blow to his immune system.
* In a {{Filler}} episode of ''Manga/FairyTail'', Lucy catches a cold after being buried in snow while other guild members battle a wyvern.
* In ''Anime/{{Free}}!'' Haru catches a cold from swimming in the newly restored Iwatobi High swimming pool too early in the season.
* In the first series of ''Franchise/{{Jewelpet}}'', Dian has a cold that lasts for several episodes after his release from his frozen seal.


[[folder: Fanfic ]]
* ''FanFic/IfThemsTheRules'', Tom ends up sick after other kid dumps a bucket of ice water on "accident" in the middle of winter.
* ''FanFic/TheStalkingZukoSeries'' Zuko gets extremely sick from cooler fever as warming himself in a freezer caused a temperature shift that weakened his immune system.
* In ''FanFic/FeverDreams'' Light and L get sick after staying out on the roof in the rain [[spoiler:and [[SlashFic having sex]]]] for a prolonged period of time.
* In ''FanFic/TravelsOfTheTrifecta'', Paul catches a severe cold from being soaking wet in the rain near the beginning of the story.
* In Fanfic/KillLaKillAU, in ''Snowflakes'', when an already ill Ryuuko escapes the hospital, this was subtly brought up as a concern, however, it is mostly because the cold may already worsen her illness (the which she was in the hospital for) or that she could freeze to death.

[[folder: Literature ]]

* In the picture book ''Mr. Putter and Tabby Catch the Cold'', Mr. Putter catches a cold after he goes outside in the snow without his hat.
* In the Literature/{{Greyfriars}} stories, anyone who gets soaked with water is liable to be coughing and sneezing by the following chapter.
* In Samantha's birthday story in the AmericanGirl series, Samantha complains that her grandmother makes her wear long underwear from September to June to prevent consumption.
* The titular character of {{Ishmael}} [[spoiler: [[FakingTheDead "dies"]] of pneumonia after being out in the cold too long.]]
* In the ''{{Belgariad}}'', cave-dweller Relg catches a cold soon after emerging onto the surface world for the first time; although exposure to the other characters might have infected him with something to which they were already immune, the text implies he caught it from the unaccustomed weather. (Then subverted: Relg recovers by walking through rock.) In the ''Malloreon'', one character voices an apparently serious concern that the TeamPet snake might have caught a cold, though this proves not to be the case.
* In the [[Literature/TheWindThroughTheKeyhole final book]] of the ''Franchise/TheDarkTower'' series, Roland starts coughing and seems to have the start of pneumonia due to the extended exposure to cold and long amounts of walking with minimal nutrition. He eats a part of a freshly killed deer to cure it.
* Bilbo in ''Literature/TheHobbit'' catches a cold after his ride downriver on a barrel, soaked through and very cold when he arrives.
* In ''Literature/PrideAndPrejudice'', Jane ends up with a bad cold after riding her horse through the rain to see Mr Bingley.
* Similarly, Marianne in ''Literature/SenseAndSensibility'' comes down with a bad fever after moping around a wet garden and not changing into dry clothes. This is more justified because she'd been generally neglecting her health and contemporary medical treatment included bloodletting, which would just makes things worse (not that Austen knew it at the time).


[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* In ''FTroop'', it happens to Captain Parmenter after he keeps getting water dumped on him in one episode. Unfortunately, the cure leaves him UnsuspectinglySoused.
* Invoked in ''{{Series/Highlander}}''...Anne tells Duncan he'll get a cold from sitting out in the cold air. (And she was a doctor. Eesh. as for whether immortals get sick,we never find out for sure.)


[[folder: Music ]]

* From Music/ChristinaPerri's "Jar of Hearts": "You're gonna catch a cold/From the ice inside your soul". Todd in the Shadows sums up this insult perfectly.


[[folder: Newspaper Comics ]]

* In a ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes'' strip, Calvin deliberately catches a cold (to escape schoolwork) by opening the window and putting his head outside. In another strip, his mom refuses to allow him to play in the rain because he might catch pneumonia, although this is somewhat more justified as pneumonia can be contracted from spores or molds.


[[folder: Oral Tradition ]]

* An old British folksong "On Ilkley Moor" suggests that, from traveling on Ilkley Moor without a hat ("baht'aht"), then "thou'll catch thy de'ath of cauld!", after which there are other repercussions, leading to a somewhat cannibalistic observation!


[[folder: Tabletop RPG ]]

* The ''{{Earthdawn}}'' supplement ''Earthdawn Survival Guide'' had a game mechanic for catching a cold after being caught in the rain.


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* In ''HarvestMoon: Animal Parade,'' if you work too hard in the rain, you'll catch a cold. The cold makes it so it takes more stamina to do work, unless you cure it. You also lose stamina faster just by working in the rain itself, but that's a somewhat more reasonable assumption to make, because doing hard work while soaking wet, in high winds, seems more difficult.
** This is also true of all of the ''RuneFactory'' games which are based on HarvestMoon.
* Almost happens to [[spoiler:Dr. Wily]] in ''VideoGame/MegaMan10''.
* Phoenix himself in ''VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorney: Trials and Tribulations'' catches a cold after falling to a river in a very cold mountain. While the fall only caused him minor injuries, the sudden shift in temperature caused his immune system to weaken.
* Snake gets a cold after being stripped of his suit in VideoGame/MetalGearSolid, although it only serves as something to attract guards.
** He gets a cold again in the sequel, after sneaking around in the pouring rain.
* In ''{{Persona 3}}'', the main character gets caught in the rain on the way back from school during the onset of a typhoon, and spends a few days in bed with a fever. The main character can also come down with a cold if fatigued by studying too late or spending too much time dungeon-crawling in Tartarus; because daytime is being spent in a crowded school and the fatigue weakens his immune system, this is in fact more realistic than catching cold due to the weather.
* In ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime Ocarina of Time]],'' IdleAnimation changes based on your environment. If it's a cold place, you shiver, and then sneeze.
* In KatawaShoujo, Emi catches a cold after staying out in the rain too long.
* In ''MarioAndLuigiBowsersInsideStory'', the late-game boss [[spoiler:Blizzard Midbus]] attacks using [[AnIcePerson snow and ice-based powers]] which can cause Bowser to become sick.


[[folder: Web Comics ]]

* ''RedMoonRising'' has this in its first five pages about how if you get caught in the rain: BAM! you catch pneumonia!
* In a FlashBack in ''Webcomic/NoRestForTheWicked'', [[http://forthewicked.net/archive/05-04.html one of November's sisters has her play dead in the snow -- and the other warns her that if November catches a cold, there will be trouble.]]
* In ''Webcomic/{{Roommates}}'' Jareth tried very hard to avert this trope (even if from his reaction he was never sick in his life) when he went to visit his mother for the Holidays. Warm clothing and everything. Unfortunately his mother is AnIcePerson and an EvilMatriarch so he ended up with a magical cold that also had PowerIncontinence as a symptom.


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'': After getting caught in "The Storm", Katara and Sokka both come down with severe colds. Aang, who is of stronger constitution (possibly due to having spent a century as a HumanPopsicle), remains healthy and has to undertake the FetchQuest to get their cure. They're an inversion because they're from a frozen climate but were not acclimated to a warmer climate.
* On ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants'' the Suds are the underwater version of a cold, caught after Spongebob fell asleep in front of an open refrigerator.
* Inversion: ''TheYearWithoutASantaClaus'': Vixen, who's acclimated to the frigid temps of the North Pole gets sick when she goes to warm weather Southtown.
* ''TheSpectacularSpiderMan'': Peter goes around in un-insulated Spidey suit in the dead of snowy winter, and the next time we see Peter Parker, he's [[FreezeSneeze sneezing]].
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'': Fighting Mr. Freeze is enough to give Bruce a cold. Justified: it's stated there's an exceptional heat wave occurring; the temperature shift would weaken his immune system.
* In one ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' short, a dog trying to find shelter from the snow trespasses into a skunk's house. The skunk runs him out and he falls into a frozen pond, catching a cold in the process... which works to his advantage, as his nose is now too stuffed up to be affected by the skunk's [[SmellySkunk odious smell]].
* ''SpaceGhost'' episode "The Iceman". Blip catches a cold after being exposed to prolonged cold temperatures.
* In an episode of ''TheMagicSchoolBus'', when Arnold takes his helmet off on Pluto, his head freezes over. Back on Earth, he's just got a cold. Just so everyone's clear, the estimated warmest temperature on the surface of this little ball of ice is just about a skip above absolute zero.
* In the movie ''WesternAnimation/{{Balto}}'', Rosy is taken to the doctor, and sees her dog Jenna outside. When Rosy goes to play with Jenna, she starts to cough, and her father rushes out saying, "You'll catch your death out here!" [[JustifiedTrope Justified]], as Rosy was already sick with diphtheria, and being outside on a cold Alaskan winter evening with no coat would have likely made her worse.
* On the ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' episode "Cold Warriors", Fry gets a cold as a child when he falls into freezing water while ice fishing. It happens again in the year 3010, a time where the common cold has been eradicated, and Fry's dormant strain threatens to contaminate the whole world.
* In ''Disney/WinnieThePooh'', the Backson is shown to give Eeyore a cold by sprinkling water on him and blowing icy air at him.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'': In "Winter Wrap Up", Spike has fallen asleep on the last piece of ice left in the lake. Applejack jokes he's in for a big surprise when it finally melts. Next time we see him, he's wrapped in a blankie by the fire with fuzzy slippers, looking sick.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', Homer makes Lisa crawl into a freezer to get a particular tub of ice cream, and she comes down with a cold. She then spends all her time playing a parody of ''Franchise/CrashBandicoot'', and [[spoiler: cheats on an English test.]]
* A possibly [[JustifiedTrope justified]] example is found in one animated version of ''Literature/AChristmasCarol'': Tiny Tim, only just recovering from pneumonia, makes the mistake of caroling outside Scrooge's window, and Scrooge throws a bucket of cold water onto him. This triggers a relapse of his illness, which is what would have killed him if not for Scrooge's ghostly adventures that night.
* Played ridiculously straight at the end of the ''WesternAnimation/{{Recess}}'' episode "Rainy Days." Less than a minute of playing outside in the rain has T.J. and friends all sneezing and feeling sick by the time they go in.


[[folder: Real Life ]]

* During his visit to the Western Isles of Scotland in 1773, Creator/SamuelJohnson was told that everyone on a certain island normally caught colds shortly after the quarterly ferry boat arrived. He thought the story unlikely, since the contemporary understanding was that the common cold was caused by exposure to cold, but nevertheless reported the conversation faithfully in his book about the trip. The story was eventually referenced as evidence to support the germ theory of disease.