When you were a kid, your mum could do no wrong. She was the most beautiful, clever and kindest woman in the world, and she would never lie to you. Newsflash! She did. All the time. In her defence, she didn’t have the internet, so couldn’t fact-check. These statements – some of them scary – were likely handed down from her mum. Besides, they kept you in line, so she ran with them.
Here are 11 porky pies she told you that are actually not true.
1. Sitting too close to the TV will damage your eyesight
Nope. According to the docs at WebMD, sitting with your nose up against the screen might give you a headache but it won’t affect your vision. Kids who sit too close to the TV could be doing it because they don’t see clearly, so an eye test might be in order.
2. If you go outside with wet hair in winter, you’ll catch a cold
“Yeah, nah,” says an infectious diseases physician (I may have paraphrased slightly). We tend to get sick more often in winter because we congregate indoors and sneeze all over each other and exchange cold and flu viruses. Wet hair has nothing to do with it.
3. Chewing gum takes seven years to digest
Don’t think so, Mum. Icky sticky bubblegum might make your hands sticky, but it won’t stay in your stomach. Chewing gum comes right out in your poop at the same speed as everything else you swallow.
4. You have to wait an hour after eating to swim
Nunh-unh. The idea was that because blood flow was diverted to the stomach to help you digest your food, your arms and legs were left in a weakened state and you were more likely to get fatigued and drown. An alternative version of the myth was that a killer stomach cramp would render you unable to swim. According to a Mayo Clinic doc, while it’s true that you could get a cramp, it’s hardly life-threatening. Plunge forth with abandon.
5. Stop crossing your eyes or they’ll get stuck like that
As if. Have you ever met a single person who told you their eyes were crossed because they were making faces at their little brother one day and a big gust of wind swept by and they stayed that way? An ophthalmologist says no way. You have to wonder how we ever believed this one.
6. Stop eating sugar or you’ll be climbing the curtains at bedtime
Mums the world over believe that sugar makes their kids hyperactive, but several studies have disproven this urban legend. Some experts believe it’s the context in which children tend to eat sugar – high-energy parties with a bunch of other overexcited kids – that makes them hyper, rather than the sugar itself. But old myths die hard and some studies have found that parents rate their children’s behaviour as hyperactive if they believe they’ve had sugar even when they haven’t.
7. You must learn your times tables because you won’t always have a calculator
Wrong again, Mum. It’s called an iPhone. I’m still glad I learnt my times tables though because: life skillz. 6 x 7 = 42. 9 x 9 = … uh, yeah, I may have given up by the 7’s. Whatevs, I always have my phone.
8. You shouldn’t drink milk when you’re sick because it increases mucus
False. It might temporarily make your mucus thicker, but it won’t cause your body to produce more of the yucky stuff. One awesome doc even SUGGESTS eating ice cream to soothe your sore throat when you’re sick. Man, do I wish she was my mum.
9. If you keep playing with it, you’ll go blind
I’m pretty sure everyone and their little brother would be getting laser eye surgery if this were true. Way to traumatise young children.
10. Eating raw cookie dough will give you worms
Nah. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning to American families to stop licking dough off spatulas because it could be contaminated with E. Coli or Salmonella, your mum was totes pulling your leg when she threatened you with worms.
11. Your wound won’t heal if you keep it covered with band-aids. It needs to breathe!
No way. Experts say exposing a wound to air causes skin cells to die. Eek. You should keep your wound moist and covered for five days to help your blood vessels regenerate. But step away from the antibiotic ointments as they can cause swelling and dermatitis. All you need is a dollop of good ol’ Vaseline. Who knew?
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