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10 Myths that are Potentially Harmful to People if Relied Upon

6. Myth: A fish is full of “good fat.”

Truth: Only 30% of the fat in fish is omega-3 or “good fat.” The other 70% is a combination of saturated fats and other fats that tend to cause a rise in cholesterol levels.

Fish
Image credits: Pixabay

When it comes to a “good fat” diet, the first product that anybody recommends is fish. It is widely believed that fish consist of good fats that help in weight loss and improve cardiovascular activity. But very few people know the fact that only up to 30% of a fish is filled with “good fats” – omega-3 fats.

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This figure also varies widely among different fish. Cod, a type of white fish, contains a very high concentration of fat in its liver rather than across its body. Fish such as sardines, trout, salmon, mackerel, herring, and anchovies have a higher concentration of good fats. So, it is not correct to generalize that all fish are rich in omega-3 fats.

In fact, 70% of fish fat is comprised of a mixture of saturated fats and other fats. Saturated fats are bad for health and lead to a rise in cholesterol levels which ultimately affects the heart. (source)

7. Myth: Always swim parallel to the shore if you are caught in a riptide.

Truth: This is only true when the current goes directly out to the sea. Sometimes, the rip currents go out at an angle.

Rip Currents
Image credits: Aquatic Sciences Center/Flickr

Rip currents or riptides are a coastal phenomenon that takes place when ocean waters start flowing away from the shore and move towards the sea. They appear as patches of calm water in between the aggressive waves. In most of the cases, these currents are harmless. It’s when they start flowing fast that they become dangerous.

Rip currents can be as narrow as 10 feet or as wide as 200 feet. Fast-moving riptides move at speeds as high as five mph. This is faster than the speeds of Olympic swimmers which means that trying to swim against a rip current is a bad idea. The first thing that a person should do if caught in a rip current is to not panic. Rip currents pull people towards the ocean with much force. So, fighting to get away from it is useless. Also, it is a myth that rip currents pull people underwater. So, remain calm if caught in a riptide.

The common survival tactic, while caught in a rip current, is to swim parallel to it. But not all rip currents go directly out to sea. Some can be angled, while others, circular. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, the best tactic should be to swim alongside the shore, basically perpendicular to the riptide, and at an angle that takes you away from the current and towards the shore. (source)

8. Myth: Always play dead when you are attacked by a bear.

Truth: This trick only works if being attacked by a mother grizzly bear defending her little cubs. 

Bear attacks
Image credits: Jake Bortscheller/NPS

Playing dead to survive from a bear attack is a stupid idea. This trick will only work if you are trying to save yourself from a mother grizzly bear guarding her cubs. But in cases of being attacked by predatory bears, this trick never works.

If a bear attacks, especially a black bear, the best survival tactic is to run for your life. In case the bear is able to get a hold of you, then kick and punch as much as you can and try to scare the bear off. The bear should be scared of you and will withdraw and stop the attack. Standing or hiding behind large objects that the bear cannot move works best. (source)

9. Myth: You can suck the venom out of a snakebite.

Truth: In severe cases, the venom has already entered the bloodstream. Moreover, trying to suck puts in more bacteria into the wound and might infect it further.

Snake bite and venom
Image credits: I for Detail/Flickr

Countless survival shows and movies will tell you to suck the venom out of a snakebite and then spit it out. But experts say that this heroic bit is based more on fiction than fact. Often, sucking at a snakebite wound does more harm to the victim than good.

If a person has been bitten by a poisonous snake, the venom almost instantly enters the bloodstream. The venom spreads so quickly that there’s no advantage in trying to suck it out. Instead, touching your mouth in the affected area might increase the chances of infection. It might also lead to tissue damage. So, it is recommended to not touch the wound from a snakebite and seek immediate medical attention. (1, 2)

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10. Myth: If lost in a desert without water, the fluid from cactus plants can be used to quench your thirst.

Truth: Most of the time, the fluid from cactus plants will make the drinker sick and lead to a loss of bodily fluids, which, as a result, might lead to further dehydration.

Cactus and Desert
Image credits: Pixabay

The old cowboy movies had scenes that showed men lost in the desert quenching their thirst with water from cacti. But this is pure myth. Yes, if stranded in a desert, then drinking water from a cactus would definitely save your life. But, at the same time, it might cause a few problems that would decrease the chances of your survival.

Moisture in the pulp of a desert cactus is very acidic. It contains malic acid which is where carbon dioxide is stored by these plants. Desert plants have a very different photosynthesis process than normal land plants. As a result, they produce toxic alkaloids as by-products.

These harmful acids and alkaloids will reach a person’s body if they drink the fluids from a cactus. This leads to diarrhea and vomiting which ultimately causes dehydration. Moreover, the toxic acids in cacti are lethal to humans as they lead to calcium production in the human body which clogs up the kidneys. So, even though it might feel like drinking from a cactus will save your life, that relief would only last for a few hours. (source)

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