2017 witnessed a year of fake news propagation, and with 2018 fast approaching, the conclusion of this year also calls for an end of misinformation.
Here are some of the folk wisdom about health, wellness, and nutrition that are mostly—if not totally—wrong.
- Eating food within five seconds after dropping it is safe
Food is a necessity, and eating is definitely among our guilty pleasures. We probably are all guilty too on following the five-second rule, which ironically breaks sanitary measures. Food scientists say that whatever is on the floor, including food, attracts bacteria in milliseconds. How dirty the food gets depends on its moisture and the condition of the floor, not time. If the floor where you drop the food on is in the same surface geometry where people from the streets of the metro walk on, don’t even bother.
- Digesting a swallowed gum takes seven long years
Whether you were caught by your teacher, or you had an untimely hiccup, having swallowed a gum is usually unintentional, but is sometimes inevitable. As the gum makes its way through the oesophagus, you start of thinking ways how to lessen its seven-year stay in the stomach. But you need not to worry, as the digestive system moves it through any normal intestinal activity, and disposes it when you have a bowel movement. A gum alone doesn’t block the digestive tract, unless the gum covers a coin and you swallow it.
- Getting warts is caused by the frog pee
Never blame amphibians for having warts! This health myth must’ve been caused by the fact that most frogs and toads have rough and warty looking bumps on their skin, but those are glands, which do not burst and secrete anything that causes people to have warts. No scientific evidence also links the contact with frog urine and the growth of warts. Warts are infection in the top layer of the skin, often caused by viruses like the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) through a tiny scratch, which then triggers a rapid growth of cells.
- Getting your hands wet after doing exhaustive work will make them trembly (pasma)
You must have been warned about not taking a shower after a long day of laborious work, or even not getting your hands wet after hours of ironing your clothes, because you will become pasmado. Probably one of the most common misinformation in the medical field is the concept of pasma. Manifested by hand tremors with excessive sweating, the word pasma has no direct English translation, because it does not exist, or so experts say. The same signs and symptoms, research shows, are mostly neurological in nature, which can be linked to nervous dysfunction.
- Healing of wounds acquired on Good Friday takes longer time
Guided by our lolas who are die-hard devotees, we suddenly act in our best behaviour during the Holy Week. As kids, we took all measures not to get wounded on the Good Friday as we have been repeatedly warned that it will take forever to heal. But this health myth is clearly anchored on religious roots, not logical reasoning. From the medical perspective, the recuperation period depends on the medical attention that a person with a wound receives.
- Sleeping with wet hair causes blindness
What else is more satisfying than a warm night bath before finally dozing off to sleep? But the struggle to remain awake after the shower is real, only because the hair is still wet. However, stories of people waking up blind after taking bath in the previous night are merely coincidences. Eye experts say that most of the vision problems are genetic, caused by accidents, or triggered by illnesses that affect vision over time like cataracts. Sleeping with wet hair may ruin the pillow, but never the eyesight.
- Jumping on New Year’s Eve makes people taller
In a hopeless attempt to add a few more inches in height, both kids and adults desperately jump like mad men on the New Year’s Eve. But whoever plans to jump again later tonight must reconsider, as there is no scientific basis of such claim. Research shows that height is determined by about 60-80% genetic factors, and 20-40% environmental attribution, mainly nutrition. More likely for keeping the fun and tradition, no other reason is valid to literally jump your way to 2018.