Myth #4: “Cold weather will make you sick.”
In terms of infectious illnesses, germs make you sick, not cold weather itself. To catch a cold, you have to come in contact with rhinoviruses and you need to be infected with influenza viruses to contract the flu. Rhinoviruses peak in spring and fall, and influenza viruses peak in the winter.
While there isn’t a connection between being chilled and getting sick, cold air may contribute to conditions that lead to illness.
Myth #5: “You can catch something sitting on a public toilet seat.”
Our fear of sitting on the average toilet seat (one that isn’t visibly soiled) is overblown. There’s no question that germs can inhabit the seat but the bulk of the organisms found are basically fecal-borne bacteria. These can include E. coli streptococcus (the bug behind strep throat), or S. aureus (linked to serious skin problems or pneumonia).
Organisms leading to STD’s such as the herpes virus, HIV, or other sexually transmitted diseases don’t survive for long outside the human body, especially not on a cold, hard toilet seat. To infect you, they need to enter either through an open cut or sore or via a mucous membrane (your mouth or rectum, for example), which wouldn’t normally come into contact with the seat. All this makes the odds of infection from just sitting down miniscule.
Myth #6: “Chocolate causes pimples.”
Chocolate per se will not make you break out. In fact, there is little evidence that chocolate or any specific fatty foods will cause acne, but we do know that a high-sugar/high-fat diet can increase sebum production and promote inflammatory responses in the body which can lead to acne.
Although we can’t make a direct connection between acne and foods that are high in sugar and fat, we can say that overindulging in these kinds of food may displace other nutrients that are critical to the skin’s health. Stick to skin friendly foods like fruits and vegetables..
Myth #7: “Chewing gum sits undigested in your stomach for seven years.”
Swallowed gum passes through your digestive tract in a couple of days. Chewing gum is made from gum base, sweeteners, coloring and flavoring. It’s true that your body cannot digest gum given its mixture of elastomers, resins, fats, emulsifiers and waxes, some of which resist your stomach’s digestive juices. However, it doesn’t remain stuck inside you. Your gut just keeps them moving through your system until they come out the other end.
Myth #8: Excessive hat wearing leads to baldness.
Great news for men! Your ball caps, knit caps and fedoras won’t mess with your follicles. Unless you wear hats that are too tight, ripping hair away you can ignore this myth. The X chromosome is the big gene associated with causing baldness—not what you choose to wear on your head. Also, as the body becomes sensitive to androgens, a male sex hormone, hair loss becomes common.
Myth #9: Swimming after eating is asking for trouble.
Any strenuous exercise is tricky after a big meal, but stomach cramps that lead to death by drowning are misguided. In fact, if you’re set for a long dip, a pre-swim snack is a useful energy boost.
Myth #10: Your urine should be almost clear.
Dark coloured urine typically means you’re dehydrated and clear urine may mean you are over hydrated. Urine that is a light yellow indicates a healthy urinary tract with healthy bacteria. Normal urine from a healthy, well hydrated person may be very yellow.
Dr. Christopher Calapai is an Osteopathic Physician board certified in family medicine, and anti-aging medicine. Proclaimed the “The Stem Cell Guru” by the New York Daily News, Dr. Calapai is a leader in the field of stem cell therapy in the U.S.