Unfortunately this is how wrong information gets cuirculated; we pass along the information as fact, because we believe it to be true. And the introduction of the internet has only made that worse.
It's time to set the record straight and debunk the myths we used to believe to be fact.
Myth #1: Cold weather makes you sick.
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. 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 #2: Going out in the cold with wet hair will make you sick.
Though lots of people might tell you that a wet head, plus cold air, is bound to equal a head cold, that's simply not the case. Germs, not temperature changes, make people sick. So although you might be a bit chilly if you leave home with wet hair on a winter day, that doesn't mean you'll get sick.
However, a study published in 2015 in the journal Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences does suggest that rhinoviruses (the viruses behind the common cold) may take advantage of cold weather. Researchers found that cold temperatures might make it easier for these cold-causing viruses to replicate by diminishing the body's antiviral immune responses.
Myth #3: Chicken noodle soup cures everything.
Everyone has heard sometime in their lives that chicken soup is a cure-all, but this is something that just isn’t true. It does not contain some magic cure for the common cold or flu.
And while the veggies and chicken stock is a great immune system booster, the myth that it cures everything is just that - a myth.
Myth #4: Reading in the dark or looking at electronics all day ruins your eyesight.
Reading or working in dim light, or looking at electronics all day will undoubtedly make your eyes work so hard they hurt, but there is no evidence that these practices cause long-term damage. The TV myth may have started in the 1960s, and at that time, it may have been true. Some early color TV sets emitted high amounts of radiation that could have caused eye damage, but this problem has long been remedied.
Myth #5: You should drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
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 liters of water a day (equivalent to about eight glasses, or two-thirds of a gallon). The recommendation should be amended to the following: Drink or eat about eight glasses of fluid a day.
Myth #6: Eating turkey makes you drowsy.
While turkey does contain a chemical called tryptophan that is known to cause drowsiness, your serving of Thanksgiving bird doesn't contain any more of the chemical than a similar-size serving of chicken or beef.
So why do people feel so sleepy after a Thanksgiving feast? It could be the overall quantity of food you eat on this holiday that makes you drowsy. Those heaping mounds of carbohydrates on your plate (think dinner rolls and mashed potatoes), plus a few alcoholic beverages, will almost certainly make you feel tired, according to experts.
Myth #7: Ulcers are caused by spicy food and stress.
Although doctors once believed that ulcers were caused by stress, lifestyle choices, or spicy foods, they now know that most ulcers are actually caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori.
Ulcers - sores that develop in the lining of the esophagus and stomach - can also be caused by digesting large amounts of certain medicines, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and certain vitamins and minerals.
Myth #8: Poinsettias are toxic.
It’s true that the pretty holiday plants can make people sick, but there have been no definitive cases of a person dying from exposure to a poinsettia plant. In a paper published in the Southern Medical Journal in 1996, researchers reviewed 22,793 cases of poinsettia exposure that were reported to poison control centers over a seven-year period. They found that not one of those cases was fatal. The most severe reactions reported were stomachaches and cramping.
The myth about poinsettias being toxic may have come from a case, reported in 1919, of a 2-year-old in Hawaii who allegedly died after ingesting parts of the plant, according to a 2012 article in the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine. But the child's death was never confirmed, nor was the cause of death.
Myth #9: Eating at night makes you fat.
Though eating late at night has been associated with obesity, this eating behavior doesn't actually cause obesity.
It actually depends on what you eat before bedtime. If you are a person who loves to eat cookies, cake, pie, ice cream, or munch fatty chips before you go to sleep, it’s probably the calories that is making you gain weight. Choose a piece of fruit or cheese instead.
Myth #10: Psychiatric and emergency room visits increase during the full moon.
How many times have you heard “there must be a full moon” because people are acting a little too wild?
Mayo Clinic researchers looked at how many patients checked into a psychiatric emergency department between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. over several years. The researchers found no statistical difference in the number of emergency psychiatric visits on the three nights surrounding full moons versus other nights of the lunar cycle.
And regular emergency-room visits are not any more common during a full moon, either. In 1996, researchers at Northwestern University examined 150,999 records of emergency-room visits to a suburban hospital. Their study found no significant difference between the number of visits during the full moon compared to other nights.
For more myths, visit livescience.com.