15 Warnings From Mom That You Needn’t Worry About
“Don’t worry about a thing, every little thing is gonna be alright.”
– Bob Marley
Your mother was right a lot of the time: Scratching only makes it worse and high school’s not the end of the world. But she got a few things wrong, too. Some lies were told out of necessity, others out of ignorance, and a few were simply sins of omission.
So settle in for some regression therapy as we identify the little white lies from your tender years that you need to let go. On with the subject at hand:
Warning #1: “Don’t go out without a coat or you’ll get sick!”
Truth: Colds and flu are not caused by catching a chill or by dejectedly walking home from your girlfriend’s in the rain without your rubbers. Nonetheless, this myth persists, largely because most people get sick during winter, when these situations commonly occur. It may even be possible to think yourself ill. If you dread damp feet, your brain may depress your immune system when it happens.
Warning #2: “You’re gonna fall and crack your head open!”
Truth: Your skull can split like an egg, but it would require a severe impact, such as falling into the corner of a coffee table. You’re much more likely to fracture your skull.
Warning #3: “Chewing gum stays in your digestive system for seven years!”
Truth: Gum, or anything else you swallow, will pass typically in a days time. Of course swallowing gum is not considered healthy but it definitely won’t get stuck.
Warning #4: “Someday your face will freeze like that!”
Truth: No matter how far you stretch the corners of your mouth or how deeply into your nostril you plunge your tongue, facial muscles will never become paralyzed as a result.
Warning #5: “Don’t watch TV with the lights off. It will hurt your eyes!”
Truth: People will agree without thinking with this statement. And in general you should limit the amount of TV you watch as it can be harmful to your eyes. However, ophthalmologists generally agree that watching TV in the dark doesn’t cause any more harm than watching TV with lots of light. It has nothing to do with the amount of light.
Warning #6: “Wear clean underwear in case you’re in an accident!”
Truth: When emergency-room personnel cut the clothes off trauma patients, it’s done so quickly that they never pay attention to whether the underwear is stained, dirty, or full of holes.
Warning #7: “If you don’t wait an hour after eating to get in the swimming pool, you will get a cramp and die!”
Truth: Exactly 0 deaths have ever been attributed to entering a pool too quickly after eating. Muscle cramps in the calves, feet, and hands and oxygen-deprivation stomach cramps while swimming are not uncommon but have never been linked to a death.
Warning #8: “You can’t have any of my coffee. It will stunt your growth!”
Truth: As far as caffeine stunting one’s growth, this is a myth. Scientists have had many concerns about this possible side effect, but there is no compelling evidence that drinking coffee at a young age can stunt growth. Matter of fact a 30 year study of coffee drinkers showed no evidence of repressed growth.
Warning #9: “If you break a leg, don’t come running to me!”
Truth: It’s unlikely that you’d be able to run with a broken leg, but you could still walk. There are people with broken legs that walk into the E.R. Sure it hurts like crazy, but the muscles spasm and produce enough support to bear weight.”
Warning #10: “Don’t play with that toad, you’ll get warts!”
Truth: Did you ever hear this one? The truth is warts are not caused by holding, touching or even kissing a toad. Warts are caused by human papilloma virus. This is a human virus that is not carried or transported by other animals. The odd bumps on the back of a toad are not warts they are to help camouflage them in their natural habitat.
Warning #11: “Keep touching yourself, and it’ll fall off!”
Truth: There’s no evidence that masturbation will cause your staff to revolt. Such exploration is a normal part of growing up.
Warning #12: “You’ll poke someone’s eye out with that!”
Truth: It’s impossible to “poke out” an eyeball with a sharp instrument. What you’ll probably do is pierce or rupture it. To actually pop an eyeball out, you have to get in there with your fingers and pull it out.
Warning #13: “Don’t crack your knuckles. You’ll get arthritis!”
Truth: Probably not but mother was closes on this one. There doesn’t appear to be any conclusive evidence either way regarding arthritis but it appears that there is some weak correlation that knuckle-cracking causes some damage to the hand.
Warning #14: “Don’t cross your eyes. They’ll get stuck!”
Truth: Intentionally crossing the eyes is never a cause of strabismus (crossed eyes); the eyes cannot get “stuck” in a crossed position.
Warning #15: “Eat your carrots. It will improve your eyesight!”
Truth: While carrots are a source of beta-carotene, which is necessary for good eyesight (the liver changes it into vitamin A), chomping on lots of carrots won’t improve your vision. Carrots and other veggies are good for you, but they won’t make you see better in the dark unless you are severely deficient – which is highly unlikely as vitamin A is in a wide variety of foods in our western diet.
So there you have it. Thanks to the internet we can finally break this long chain of old myths.
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