The world is shrouded with myths. Although most of the myths have been debunked by scientific proofs, many of them are still widely believed. It’s easier for people to believe the myths rather than question the reasoning behind them. Many of such myths are harmless, but there are a few that can be potentially harmful. We bring to you 10 such myths that are potentially harmful to people.
1. Myth: Snoring is a common problem, especially among men, but it isn’t harmful.
Truth: Snoring is sometimes the symptom of sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that is potentially harmful.
Sleep is shrouded with numerous myths and facts. Some can easily be discarded as old wive’s tales, but there are others that need to be taken seriously as they are incorrect information. One such myth is that snoring is common and is never harmful. Most men are known to suffer from snoring disorders, but they never see it as a problem because of the widely believed notion that snoring not harmful – but science says otherwise.
Although in the majority of the cases snoring is harmless, there are times when snoring might turn out to be life-threatening. It can be a symptom of a sleep disorder known as “sleep apnea.” Sleep apnea is a condition in which the flow of air in and out of a sleeping person’s nasal pathway is hindered. This leads to multiple awakenings during the night in order to gasp for air. Due to the hindrance in the breathing process, blood oxygen levels might decrease causing pressure on the heart. This increases the risk of cardiovascular disorders. Because of this, it is recommended not to take snoring lightly. (source)
2. Myth: Allergies are being caused by “over cleanliness,” and children should be exposed to a wide range of potentially harmful microbes.
Truth: According to experts, people should be exposed to a diverse variety of microbes, but at the same time, they should always be diligent regarding their hygiene.
During the 1990s, a hygiene awareness was created in which people were told that the reason for the rise in allergies among children was “over cleanliness.” The theory stated that as parents became more strict with their children’s hygiene, the children were becoming weaker as a result. This, it was believed, was the case of increased allergies. But this myth was debunked by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH).
According to RSPH, a person can never be too clean. It’s true that people need a diverse exposure to the microbes looming about, but they have to be vigilant at the same time. The microbes that children come in contact while playing outside are more or less harmless. But this doesn’t mean that they should not pay attention to their hygiene at all. There is no proof that a wide exposure to all microbes will prevent any disease in a person.
People should always maintain the basic hygiene guidelines such as washing hands before eating, after using the restroom, or after coughing and sneezing. (source)
3. Myth: Alligators can’t catch you if you run zig-zag.
Truth: Alligators are capable of reaching speeds as high as 19 mph in short bursts and can easily outrun a person running away from them.
If an alligator’s chasing you, never run it a zig-zag fashion. According to “Gator Bill” Robb, a retired trapper who has worked with alligators for 30+ years, running zig-zag as a tactic, is a myth. Firstly, running zigzag shortens the distance between the alligator and the person running for his life. Secondly, alligators can run really fast when they have to cover short distances. Their average land speed is 19 mph when they have to cover short distances or during their attack mode.
So, the best way to avoid being shredded by an alligator is to run away as fast and as far as possible. Alligators never pursue a person for long. They usually just run for a couple of yards and give up. So, it’s better to run fast and away from an alligator instead of trying to zig-zag. (source)
4. Myth: It’s safe to eat food that has fallen to the ground if you pick it up within three seconds.
Truth: Food can get contaminated instantaneously.
We are all familiar with the “five-second rule.” For some, it’s three seconds. The rule states that if food drops onto the ground or floor, then it is safe to consume it without washing if picked up within five seconds or three seconds. Science says that there is no truth to this statement. Microbes won’t wait for three or five seconds to contaminate the food dropped on the ground.
Researchers at Rutgers University conducted an experiment to debunk this statement. They dropped various food items onto surfaces such as carpet, stainless steel, tiles, and wood. They discovered that wet food items take less time to get contaminated compared to dry food items. This seems logical as bacteria are more attracted to wet surfaces – in this case, wet food. And, they found the bacteria contaminates the food almost instantly.
It is true that the time taken to contaminate can vary depending on the surface, environment, weather, and many other parameters, but why take the risk? (source)
5. Myth: Any product that says “natural” is safe to use and is composed of only natural ingredients.
Truth: Products termed “natural” are a bit misleading as, in the majority of cases, they are the same as the other synthetic products, with the exception of an added herb or two.
If a product is marked “natural,” we blindly assume it to be safe for use. But experts say that just adding the “herbal” or “natural” tag to a product doesn’t make it harmless. Synthetic cosmetics are loaded with harmful chemicals that also have side effects. Herbal or natural products, on the other hand, promise the same effects as synthetic chemicals but without any side effects. This is the primary reason why many people switch to natural products.
What these people do not know is that natural products are more or less similar to synthetic cosmetics. According to experts, synthesizing a 100% natural base is technologically advanced and also expensive. If cosmetics manufacturers actually created a 100% natural base for their products, then the price of the products would go up exponentially. This would lead to a very small consumer segment as the majority of the people wouldn’t purchase the product due to the price. People look for efficient products at a reasonable price. Since manufacturers cannot give both to their consumers, they end up utilizing synthetic bases. They might add an extract or two to the product and market it as “herbal.” What consumers do not realize is that they are being misled by many cosmetic brands. (source)