Myths our parents have been telling us since we were little

By: Victoria Pan

For many years, our parents have been telling us that if gum is swallowed, it will stay in your stomch for 7 years. Photo courtesy of Google Images

Since we were little, our parents have been telling us things like, “Don’t get too close to the microwave, or else you will get a brain tumor!” or “If you cross your eyes, they will stay that way forever.” And being the innocent little children we were, we developed a fear for microwaves, running quickly from them after pressing the button. But are these “myths” we have been hearing our whole lives actually true?

            “If you swallow that piece of gum, it will stay in your stomach for 7 years!” Sound familiar? At least by the time high school graduation comes around, your stick of Wrigley’s wintergreen gum will already have disappeared. Gum digests just like any other food. The fluids in your body carry the gum into the intestinal tract, which then is disposed in a matter of a few days.

            Another well-known myth is that you should not swim for an hour after eating. The truth is that more blood flows to the digestive system rather than the muscles, after eating. People say that you may develop cramps from lack of blood, however that will not happen. Lack of energy when swimming actively may be possible, but it will not affect your ability to tread in water.

            You have probably heard the myth, “Get someone to scare you if you have hiccups.” If it was Halloween, that might be more effective. However, being scared, drinking a glass of water really fast, or holding your breath are not remedies for curing hiccups. There has been only one remedy discovered to cure hiccups, which is granulated sugar. This has been tested and worked for 95% of the patients.

            One myth that children have followed for many years is the five-second rule. You are eating the delicious warm chocolate chip cookie when half of it breaks off and falls on the ground. 1-2-3-4-and just in time, you pick it up, dust it off and eat it. What we do not know is that once the cookie touched the ground, germs were already clinging on to it, and by dusting the cookie off, germs are simply not “blown away.”

            We have all had that time when going to sleep was the last thing on our minds, and reading in the dark was the best idea. However, our parents have told us that reading in the dark or dim light, will damage our eyes. It is true that reading in the dark could cause eye strain, but as long as you rest your eyes for a while, it will go away.

            Now it is no longer necessary to run away from the microwave, swallow gum and sweat over it never disappearing, and you can even go out for a nice swim after eating. What our parents have been telling us for our whole life happened to be a myth all along!


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