Health | Did You Know

8 Old Wives' Tales So Wrong They're Damaging Your Health

There are a lot of wive's tales and urban legends about health and overall well-being. Some of them are pretty harmless, like sleeping with a bar of soap under your sheets to prevent restless leg syndrome. However, others have caused serious problems in the past and need to stop.

1. HIV/AIDS Conspiracy

There was a myth about HIV/AIDS that actually caused it to spread further. It was believed that the disease was created by the government as a biological weapon to be used against their enemies. This conspiracy claimed that the first cases of AIDS were found in gay men who lived in Manhattan before the first reported cases in Africa. People who believe this theory are more reluctant to visit a doctor if they're showing symptoms, as they distrust the government and don't believe they would help.

2. Seat Belts Not Being Safe

There's a ludicrous rumor that safety belts are more dangers than they are safe, with people claiming some police officers told them it's hard to unbuckle yourself from a potentially dangerous situation after a crash. This, of course, is ridiculous. Snopes has disproved this theory, but there are still a lot of people who refuse to wear a seat belt because "they cause more injuries than they prevent.

3. Chicken Pox Parties

It wasn't that long ago that people would hear someone in the neighborhood had chicken pox, and would subsequently organize a party at that person's house. The belief was that if a child had chicken pox at a young age, it was impossible for them to get shingles as an adult. It was determined that this was a lie, and that it was far more effective to just have your kids vaccinated against shingles. That being said, these parties still take place today.

4. Hair of the Dog

A lot of people still go by the "hair of the dog" mantra, which means drinking more alcohol to cure your hangover. There are now drinks specifically designed for curing hangovers, like the Bloody Mary. However, drinking more alcohol actually doesn't help cure your hangover at all. The reason you sometimes feel better after doing so is because alcohol dulls your senses. So while you may feel better, it's not actually getting rid of toxins in your body.

5. Anti-Vaccine Parents

This one is pretty obvious. There are parents who believe that vaccinating their kids will not only make them ill, but also cause autism down the road. Because of this, diseases like polio and the measles are resurfacing in the United States where they had previously been eradicated.

6. Five Second Rule

Too many people live by this rule: if you drop food on the ground, you have 5 seconds to pick it up before it gets infected with bacteria. This is wildly incorrect. While there are surfaces and foods that will acquire less bacteria, it's still pretty gross. Scientists tested out the "five second rule" and found it can actually give you food poisoning, depending on where you drop it.

7. Cough CPR

There's a myth that if you cough forcefully while having a heart attack, it will knock your heart back into rhythm. This, actually, is not true. Cough CPR should only be used under the guidance of an expert once you have been stabilized. If you are experiencing a heart attack, call 911.

8. Gum Stays In Your Digestive Tract

Alright, so this one doesn't harm your body...but it does harm the environment. There's a myth that swallowing your gum is bad for you as it will stay in your digestive tract for seven years. This isn't true at all. You can swallow your gum with no harm, unless of course it's a young child in which case they can choke. But, because people are so afraid of their gum, they leave it everywhere. On the street, on the bus, in nature, people have no problem in littering their gum across the country.

Do you believe any of these myths?

Meagan has an intense love for Netflix, napping, and carbs. If you have a comment about one of Meagan's articles feel free to contact Tristan@shared.com