Old Wives’ Tales: Real or Fake?

Old wives' tales

Everyone has heard about the phrase “Old wives tales” to describe some…*ahem*… interesting theories about ways to improve or hurt your health. Some of us believed a lot of them. Below are some of the tales that our doctors say are not so accurate:

“Drinking at least eight glasses of water a day is good for you.” – Cardiology

“Chocolate causes acne” – Dermatology

“Eating poison ivy confers immunity. I did and it didn’t.” – Family Medicine

“Organic and GMO foods are safer or better than “regular” foods.”  – Gastroenterology

“If it is all natural it is safe and won’t have ANY side effects.” – Ophthalmology

“If you open the abdomen and air gets in, you will get cancer.” –Vascular Surgery

“Stop cracking your knuckles, else you’ll get the ARTHRITIS in your finger joints.” – Dermatology

“Hair grows back curlier.” – Pediatrics

“If you swallow a watermelon seed, a watermelon will grow in your stomach.” – Psychiatry

“When I was young and crossed my eyes, my mom would tell me to stop because they will stay that way.” – Neurosurgery

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” – Psychiatry

“You will wreck your eyes if you: watch TV in the dark, sit too close to the TV, read in low light.” – Ophthalmology

“Don’t raise your arms above your head, or you’ll tie the umbilical cord around the baby’s neck.” – OBGYN

“Getting out of shower will [cause you to] catch a cold.” – Oncology

“Wait at LEAST 2 hours after eating before going into the water, else you’ll get bad cramps and drown.” – Dermatology

Are all old wives tales wrong? As it turns out, they aren’t (or at least not all the way)…

“Teething DOES cause fever. This info came out several years ago. There is a prostaglandin effect that causes a fever. OTOH, most babies who have fevers are teething, so you still need to be alert to serious infections.” – Ophthalmologist

“The old midwives’ tale to new mums that “Guinness is good for you” turns out to be quite true! It improves the breast milk flow, relaxes mum and calms the baby. Wonderful stuff.” – Anesthesiology

“Cod liver oil for kids prevents disease (actually turns out to be a great source of vits A & D. who knew?)” – Radiology

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