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7 Medical Myths – Debunked for the Community

Carrots give you night vision. Swimming after eating will give you cramps. You need to drink eight glasses of water a day. Organic food is more nutritious and free of pesticides. No, no, no and No! Health-related myths are often repeated as fact, even though any diligent Google search will reveal the truth behind these fallacies. It’s time to put an end to these alluring myths, misconceptions, and inaccuracies passed down through the ages.

Myth 1 : Vaccines can cause the flu (and autism).

  • 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,”.
  • The flu shot does contain dead flu viruses, but they are, well, dead. “A dead virus cannot be resurrected to cause the flu,”.
  • As for vaccines causing autism, this myth was started long time ago with an article. In the study, the parents of eight (yes, only eight) children with autism said they believed their children acquired the condition after they received a vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella (the MMR vaccine). Since then, rumors have run rampant despite the results of many studies. For example, a 2002 study in The New England Journal of Medicine of 530,000 (yes, a whopping 530,000) children found no link between vaccinations and the risk of a child developing autism.
  • Unfortunately, the endurance of this myth continues to eat up time and funding that could be used to make advances in autism, rather than proving, over and over again, that vaccinations do not cause the condition.

Myth 2: Supplements always make you healthier.

  • Vitamin supplements may be not only ineffectual but even dangerous, studies have shown. For example, a study published in 2016 showed that some older women who take calcium supplements may face an increased risk of dementia. And in a huge review of 20 years of supplement research published in 2015, researchers found that taking high doses of vitamins may be linked with an increased risk of cancer.
  • Aside from these possible long-term risks, reports have suggested that supplements can cause damage in the short term too. A report published in 2016 found that a man in Pennsylvania who took Ayurvedic herbal supplement developed lead poisoning. Another report, also published in 2016, showed that a 4-year-old boy in England went to the ER after taking a slew of “natural” supplements, and developing a condition called vitamin D toxicity.
  • The FDA does not require supplements to be regulated in the same way that drugs are, which can be a real problem. As a result, the safety of many supplements has not been rigorously studied. Furthermore, supplement bottles can sport unsubstantiated claims and even make errors in dosage recommendations. It’s a better idea to get your vitamins and other nutrients from eating real food, rather than taking a pill.
  • “A vitamin pill is not the answer, “Eating more healthily in general is the answer.”

Myth 3: Cold weather makes you sick.

  • This myth is common around the world, but it is just not true. Studies have shown we may feel more cold symptoms — real or imaginary — when we are chilled (after all, a cold is called a “cold” for a reason), but the temperature itself does not make us more susceptible to viruses. This has been known since at least 1968, when a study in The New England Journal of Medicine showed what happened when researchers exposed chilly people to the rhinovirus (one cause of the common cold).
  • It turned out that whether they were shivering in a frigid room or in an icy bath, people were no more likely to get sick after sniffing cold germs than they were at more comfortable temperatures.
  • Cold air also does not make a difference in people’s recovery time from a cold. In fact, although the research is in its early stages, it is possible that being exposed to cold may even help your body in some way.
  • However, its unclear how chilly conditions might affect the germs themselves. Research has shown that two common causes of colds — rhinoviruses and coronaviruses — may thrive at colder temperatures, and that the flu may spread most effectively under cold, dry conditions.
  • Some scientists speculate that colds are more common in cooler months because people stay indoors more, interacting more closely with one another and giving germs more opportunities to spread.

Myth 4: A person with a concussion should be awake.

  • It has long been thought that a person with a concussion should not sleep because they might slip into a coma or lose consciousness. Through research and expertise, we now know that there is no need to make a patient with a concussion stay awake.
  • If the person who is injured is awake and holding a conversation, you can let him or her fall asleep as long as they are not developing any other symptoms such as dilated pupils or issues with walking. Usually after a concussion, a person may be dizzy or may vomit. “For children, we advise parents to wake up the child a couple times during the night to make sure they are able to be aroused.
  • A concussion is a head injury that sometimes involves loss of consciousness but is not associated with internal bleeding. Unless a doctor says the person needs further treatment, the injured person should sleep and rest.
  • A concussion can be caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. Most concussed people recover quickly and can be treated at home, while others have symptoms that last for days or weeks and need medical attention.

Myth 5: Chewing gum stays in your stomach for 5 or 7 years.

  • Although it is true that many of the ingredients in gum — such as elastomers, resins and waxes — are indigestible, that does not mean they hang out in your guts for seven years. Plenty of what you eat — even things you are recommended to eat, such as fiber — is indigestible. But the digestive system is a robust piece of organic machinery, and anything it can’t absorb, it moves along. Despite the stickiness and strange consistency of gum, it passes right through your digestive tract and into the toilet.

Myth 6: You should drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.

  • In general, we are not all walking around in a dehydrated state, adding that our bodies are very good at regulating our fluid levels. 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 litres of water a day (equivalent to about eight glasses, or two-thirds of a gallon). Although most media outlets reported that as fact and stopped there, the council actually went on to explain that most of the 2.5 litres comes from food. The recommendation should be amended to the following: Drink or eat about eight glasses of fluid a day.

Myth 7: Babies get fevers when they are teething.

  • This is one of those myths that every parent has heard: Babies get fevers when they teethe. But this medical myth is both false and potentially dangerous.. Parents shouldn’t write off a baby’s fever as due to teething. Research has not shown a strong relationship between teething and high body temperatures, so if your baby has a fever, it might be time to visit the doctor.