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Wrong-Headed Medical Myths That Never Seem To Go Away

Everyone knows that apples don’t really keep the doctor away. However, that doesn’t stop people from believing plenty of other old wives’ tales. What began as well-known myths have somehow been mistaken for medical facts. What’s more: these falsehoods are so pervasive that most of the population has no idea they aren’t remotely true!

The next time you hear someone rattle off one of these medical myths, you might want to educate them on the truth. Sure, a few might be based on real occurrences or anecdotal evidence, but for the most part, there’s a logical (and scientifically proven) explanation for everything…

1. Going outside with wet hair will make you sick: There is only one thing that makes us sick, and it isn’t our wet hair—it’s germs. So if you’re in a rush, go ahead and leave the house without dealing with your hair dryer! To keep germs at bay, just make sure you wash your hands.

2. Cold weather in general makes you sick: Nope! Remember, only germs can make you sick. In fact, some doctors believe that you’ll recover more quickly if your body is exposed to colder conditions. A drop in temperature has nothing to do with actually getting a so-called “cold.”

3. Supplements make you healthier: While it seems like taking vitamins can do a body good, you should do your homework before you add a supplement to your routine. Studies have shown that older women who take calcium actually have a higher risk of dementia.

4. We only use 10 percent of our brains: This common idea has been spouted by self-help gurus for years as a way to get people to access some sort of hidden potential. If you don’t believe it’s a myth, ask your doctor to perform a scan of your brain activity. There are zero dormant areas!

5. Sugar turns kids into monsters: Studies have long debunked this myth. Kids most often consume sweets during celebrations—like birthday parties—when the rules are lax and they feel free to be rambunctious. It’s not the sugar, but the party!

6. You have to stay awake when you get a concussion or else you’ll die: If you believe that you or someone you know has a concussion, seek medical treatment immediately. However, your doctor will most likely tell you to get lots of rest—not to avoid sleep.

7. Gum stays in your stomach for seven years: Several of the ingredients in chewing gum, like wax, aren’t digestible. But the human body knows how to deal with indigestible food products—we poop ’em out! So swallow all the gum you want if that’s what you’re into.

8. Sitting too close to the TV ruins your eyesight: People say this about holding a book too closely to your face, too; neither are correct. While doing this might make your eyes work overtime and feel sore, there is no evidence that this causes long-term damage to your eyes.

9. You must drink eight glasses of water a day: In 1945, the Food and Nutrition Board recommended that adults drink the equivalent of eight glasses of water a day. However, they also said that most of that water we require is actually already present in the food we eat.

10. Don’t swim for an hour after you eat: There is no evidence that doing any sort of exercise after eating is actually dangerous. Sure, you might feel uncomfortable and get a cramp, but it’s most likely because you just ate too much.

It’s crazy how these are confused with real science! It never fails to amaze just how many “medical facts” out there are actually medical myths.

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