In terms of health, certain myths get passed down from generation to generation, and we’ve often acquired a many of them from our own parents. These ideas promote the spread of false information, which is best not passed on to our children! To clear things up, here is our Top 20 list of health myths that need debunking.
1) UV rays are not dangerous for your health
False! Excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays, whether it comes from the sun or a sunbed, is very harmful to your health. Regular use of sunbeds increases the risk of developing skin cancer.
Try a natural approach to staying blissfully bronzed instead!
2) You don’t need sunscreen if your skin is dark
Obviously false. Even if dark or black skin is less sensitive and responsive to sun exposure, it is recommended that you apply a medium SPF (20-30) and avoid the sunshine during peak sun intensity hours (between 12 and 4pm).
The risk of skin cancer is the same for everyone, even if you may believe it is higher in people with pale skin.
3) You shouldn’t go swimming for 3 hours after eating
Your parents are sure to have told you not to go swimming just after eating, and to wait at least three hours before going in the water, to prevent the risk of cold shock response.
However, cold shock response is caused by a stark temperature difference between the cold water and the heat of the body, which can lead to feeling unwell in the water, increasing the risk of drowning. Digestion increases body temperature, but it is rarely the only cause of cold shock response.
However, certain health organisations have recently recorded a number of cases of drowning in which poor digestion was implicated. It is therefore recommended that you wait at least 1 or two hours after eating, to give your food the time to be digested, before you go swimming. Full digestion takes on average between 6 and 7 hours.
4) If you cross your eyes, they can stay that way
We can sometimes hear parents telling this to their children, to stop them from crossing their eyes. But it’s mainly just to frighten them! This myth has no scientific basis, as confirmed by ophthalmologist Dr. Bernard Arnoux: “Sometimes children like to have fun crossing their eyes: it’s not great for their eyes, but there is no danger of their eyes staying crossed.” However, the doctor explains that if a parent notices that a child’s eyes often become crossed, they should seek the advice of a specialist.
5) If you swallow chewing gum, it will stick in your stomach
Another complete myth! Gastroenterologists assure us that even if it’s better not to swallow it, chewing gum will not stay stuck to the walls of the stomach. It mixes with other foods and is excreted in the stools.