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10 Myths You’ve Been Told Your Whole Life that Aren’t True

Myths

Whether it’s old wives tales, marketing scams, social media, click bait advertisements looking to make a quick buck, or good old fashioned rumors, there’s plenty of commonly held beliefs to go around. And unfortunately, many of us are guilty of taking them at their word. After all, it makes sense that male and female’s brains would be different, right?

Now if you’re thinking right now “I’d never fall for that”, (don’t worry, we had the same thought process when we first started this article) then think again! A lot of these myths are ones that we’ve seriously believed all of our lives; they simply make sense. They’ve also been drilled into our heads by trusted authorities such as parents, teachers, etc. And the Internet has backed them up.

Given the Internet and how quickly people can pass things along, you can expect misinformation to spread like wildfire. While most is junk that you can easily decipher as fake (come on, there’s no such thing as a miracle weight loss pill), some of the myths actually look believable at face value.

So without further adieu, check out our list of the top 10 myths that we’re all guilty of believing.

1. Rust gives you tetanus

tetanus

Just looking at the above image probably has you cringing and trying to think back to your last tetanus shot, right? Well, rust doesn’t actually cause tetanus. This isn’t to say that you should skip the shot after you’ve stepped on an old nail, but it is a myth that we found surprising.

So where does the tetanus come from then if it’s not the rust? Clostridium tetani is the bacteria to blame. It makes its home in soil, dust, and feces. So if you step on or prick yourself with a nail, the wound can then potentially be exposed to the bacteria. Nails are the most common way to get tetanus because the bacteria thrives in the oxygen deprived setting like the one that exists far below your skin’s surface.

However, any injury that breaks the skin (think dog bite or pricking your finger with a straight pin) carries with it the potential for tetanus.

2. Urination will ease your jellyfish sting

jellyfish sting

Honestly nothing ruins a day at the beach faster than being stung by a jellyfish. Depending on which kind gets you (we’re looking at you man o’ war) will determine how much pain you’re in for the rest of your stay. Some linger for a few minutes while others last for hours. And if you’re thinking to yourself “I’d never ask someone to pee on me if I got stung,” then you’ve probably never had the displeasure of having those tentacles drag across your skin.

So what causes the stinging sensation? The jellyfish’s tentacles contain venom called porin. This protein causes shooting pain, blisters, redness, swelling, and in severe cases allergic reactions. It’s designed to paralyze prey for the jellyfish to eat and unfortunately, our skin has just gotten in the way.

There are tons of other recipes for relief (please don’t put steak seasoning on your stings either) but the one that actually works is vinegar. You will get nearly instant relief though you may need to reapply every few minutes to keep the pain at bay. Over the counter pain medicine is also good for toning down the pain.

3. There’s a difference between male and female brains

male and female brains

We’re going to be completely transparent here: we seriously thought that female and male brains were wired differently. After all, our husbands seriously can’t seem to see the piles of dishes in the sink and forget about asking them to pick between a few shades of red; they all look the same supposedly. And speaking from the male perspective, our husbands can’t figure out why we can’t just say what we really mean.

Surprisingly though, there’s no difference between male and female brains. In 2015, a study concluded that there is no such thing as a typical “male” or “female” brain. Structurally speaking, the male brain does possess a larger hippocampus and amygdala (keep in mind that exceptions do exist) but aside from that, most brains are a mix of both “male” and “female” structures.

4. Supplements will make you healthier

Supplements

So undoubtedly this is going to be a controversial one but bear with us here.

How many of us have our daily routines of eat breakfast, take vitamins, brush teeth, and get ready to go out the door? Or maybe you take your vitamins just before bed. Either way, you might be just paying for what my doctor calls “expensive pee”. In other words, the vitamins pass through you without doing much good.

This is not to say that all vitamins and supplements should be avoided, but if you’re taking some to prevent chronic disease or death, you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth. And if you’re considering supplementing your antidepressant meds with passionflower, the results may vary from person to person.

Some studies have even suggested that high intakes of vitamins such as E and A and beta-carotenes can actually up your chances of dying prematurely. Because of this, we recommend talking to your doctor before starting any supplement regimen.

5. You lose more heat through your head

Do you remember your parents bundling you up before you went outside to play as a child and making sure that your head was covered? Or perhaps your mom stood at the door before you left for school to make sure you had something to keep your head warm. Maybe you do the same things as a parent now. However, it’s not true that more heat escapes from your head than the rest of your body.

So where did this myth come from? Well, a study conducted by the US military is to blame. During the test, subjects wore Arctic survival suits in the harsh, winter weather but were not given head coverings. Because of this, the subjects lost more heat through their heads. However, if any other body part had been exposed the same amount of heat would have escaped.

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t keep your head covered during the winter for extra warmth, but you won’t run the increased risk of hypothermia by forgetting your cap at home.

6.  Cold weather gives you colds

Cold weather

Sticking with the winter trend, we also want to discuss another really popular myth: cold weather gives you colds. How many times have you washed your hair only to blow dry it before going outside for fear of catching cold? How many times have you avoided going outside because you simply cannot get sick right now? Yeah, we’re guilty too.

We still have a hard time wrapping our heads around this one but it’s true. You won’t catch a cold from simply exposing yourself to the weather. You can develop cold-like symptoms however from being outside in the cold (think body aches, runny nose, headaches) but it’s not actually a cold. Instead, it’s the weather messing with your sinuses and causing body aches since you tend to “tense” up during the cold.

So what causes the cold then? Colds are viruses, which means that they’re spread from person to person; typically through the air or direct contact.

7. People can be double jointed

double jointed

Okay, not even going to lie here: we feel personally attacked by this. We’ve always been told we’re double jointed and it’s a pretty cool feeling. If you’ve been told you’re double jointed as well, then you probably feel special like we did too. Well, unfortunately we’re here to rain on both of our parades: there’s no such thing as double-jointed.

So how come some people can bend their hands/thumbs backwards into odd positions or twist their elbows nearly 180 degrees? It’s actually mislabeled. There’s no such thing as an extra joint present that allows us to do those tricks; it’s actually hypermobility or joint laxity.

This is say that those with hypermobility are able to stretch further due to loose ligaments in order to achieve those strange stretches and positions. For those with joint laxity, the socket (think ball and socket joints like hips and shoulders) is on the shallow side, which allows for a greater range of movement. 

8. You can’t sunburn on cloudy days

sunburn on cloudy days

We believed this one for a significant portion of our lives and never really bothered to fact check it until this article. However once we started thinking about it, it made sense; especially after we researched the subject quite a bit more.

For those who are serious tanners you know that UV rays are the key to that golden, sun-kissed skin. That’s why tanning beds have a variety of UV ray numbers designed to keep you glowing all year round and also why you’re cautioned to limit your exposure in the tanning bed.

So while you might think you’re safe to step outside without sunscreen because it’s cloudy, you aren’t actually safe from getting sunburnt. That’s because the clouds only block the sun’s light; the UV rays easily penetrate the cloudy cover and can wreck havoc on your skin. So if you burn easily (we do too, no judgments), then make sure to put on sunscreen before going outside, even if the day is cloudy.

9. We only use 10% of our brains

10% of our brains

Sorry sci-fi fans but you use more than 10% of your brain already so if you’ve always dreamed of unlocking your full potential (and powers) by using 100% of that squishy organ, you’ll need a new dream to chase.

It’s true that not too much is known about the brain, but one thing scientists can all agree on is that we use 100% of it. Once you think about it, it makes sense right? If we were only using such a small portion, we probably wouldn’t be here writing this article and you wouldn’t be learning new facts to add to your repertoire.

Plus, no one in the history of ever has been told “hey, you have a brain tumor but it’s located in the inactive portion of your brain so you’re safe!” Although that would definitely be nice, it’s not something you’re ever going to hear.

10. Sugar makes children hyperactive

children hyperactive

Okay we promise that your child didn’t convince us to write this one or pay us off: it’s false that sugar causes your kids to become hyper. And if you’re a parent, you’re probably laughing at us right now in disbelief, but science is on our (and apparently your kid’s) side.

According to IFLscience, there is not enough evidence to support the “sugar buzz” claim. Of course, there are a handful with insulin disorders and psychiatric disorders that will receive a sugar buzz, but the average child won’t.

So why then is your child super ramped up after they’ve had a sugar laced treat? This influx of energy is likely due to your child’s excitement of getting a treat or being around other kids at a birthday party. Other factors such as caffeine that is sometimes found in candy can also be to blame for your child’s high energy levels.

With all of that said, sugar should still be limited; especially when in regards to children. Sugar leads to a number of health concerns such as weight gain, diabetes, and more. It can also put your child at a greater risk for some forms of cancer so give them sugary treats in small doses!

Myth busters common myths edition

Out of all of the myths we debunked on the list, which one(s) surprised you the most? Were you completely blown away by the fact that sugar doesn’t equal increased levels of hyperactivity in children or were you guilty of peeing on jellyfish stings? Let us know! We’d love to hear which ones you enjoyed reading about the most, which ones completely caught you off guard, and which ones you already knew. And if you have any other interesting myths to add to our list, we’d love to add them!

Vimal Lalani is senior correspondent for Ishli, Medical and Wellness unit, reporting breaking news and health consumer reporting on Ishli.com.

Written by Vimal Lalani

Vimal Lalani is senior correspondent for Ishli, Medical and Wellness unit, reporting breaking news and health consumer reporting on Ishli.com.

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