As humans, we tend to fall prey to certain beliefs or myths that we heard or came across in life. Like in many other fields or areas, there are many myths about health and science that have been doing the rounds for a long time and we have been believing them as true for way too long. Below is a list of some of the most common medical myths that we have been believing as true for way too long and which we now need to do them away from our lives. Take a look.
1. A woman can’t get pregnant during her periods.
Although it’s unlikely that a woman will conceive during menstruation, it is said that it isn’t impossible. Sperm can live inside a woman’s body for up to a week, and ovulation can occur soon after, or even during, the periods, which makes it possible for a woman to become pregnant if she has sex either during her period or shortly after it ends.
2. Pregnancy lasts nine months.
Everyone thinks that pregnancy lasts nine months, but scientists said that ‘It’s actually more like nine and a half months.” It is said that doctors typically measure a full-term pregnancy as lasting 40 weeks, counting from the first day of a woman’s last period, but women usually become fertile 10 to 16 days after their period starts. Not only that, researchers have found that the amount of time a healthy pregnancy lasts can vary by as much as five weeks.
3. Cold weather makes you sick.
This myth is common around the world, but it is said that it is just not true. The temperature itself does not make us more susceptible to viruses. It is also said that cold air also does not make a difference in people’s recovery time from a cold.
4. Reading in the dark or sitting too close to TV ruins eyesight.
It is true that reading in dim light or staring into the multicolored tube at close range make the eyes work so hard. But it is said that there is no evidence that these practices cause long-term damage.
5. Supplements make you healthier.
Studies have found that vitamin supplements are not only ineffectual but even dangerous. Researchers also found that taking high doses of vitamins is linked with an increased risk of cancer.
6. You should drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
It is said that the eight-glasses-a-day myth likely started in 1945 when the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council said adults should take in about 2.5 liters of water a day (equivalent to about eight glasses). However, the fact is that most of the 2.5 liters come from food.
7. Waiting an hour after eating before swimming.
It’s true that rigorous exercises such as swimming are difficult, though not dangerous, after eating but getting cramps has no connection to being on an empty or full stomach.
8. Ulcers are caused by spicy food and stress.
Doctors once believed that ulcers were caused by stress, lifestyle choices or spicy foods. However, they now know that most ulcers are actually caused by the bacteria Heliobacter pylori.
9. Taking probiotics helps prevent colds.
Taking probiotics do not prevent colds. They just help reduce the severity of the symptoms of a cold and shorten their duration.
10. We use only ten percent of our brains.
It is said that the idea was used by motivational speakers and other self-help gurus as a way to encourage people to tap into some latent capacity.
11. Chocolate and fried foods give you acne.
Stress and heredity may be factors, but chocolate bars and fried foods aren’t one.
12. Back pain should be treated with bed rest.
Bed rest, in fact, prevents the lower back from recovering fully, delaying the process. You should engage in ordinary activities intermittently, to help recovery, and not go for complete bed rest. Being active also reduces the chances of recurring back troubles.
13. Vaccines can cause the flu and autism.
Studies have said that although the body can develop a low-grade fever in response to any vaccine, rumors that a flu shot can cause the flu are an outright lie. It is said that the flu shot does contain dead flu viruses, but they are, well, dead. And a dead virus cannot be resurrected to cause the flu.
14. Fingernails and hair continue to grow after death.
It is said that this myth is actually just a misperception. What really happens to our nails and hair after we die is that the skin dries out and shrinks in the process and the nails appear much more prominent as the skin dries out. As the skin shrinks back, the hair looks more prominent or sticks up a bit.
15. Eating at night makes you fat.
Eating late at night has been associated with obesity, but studies said that this eating behavior doesn’t actually cause obesity. So do not be afraid to have that midnight snack the next time.
16. Chewing gum stays in your stomach for 7 years.
It is said that though many of the ingredients in gum are indigestible, they do not hang out in our guts or take seven years to digest.