At some point, our parents or a caring friend have probably warned us of the dangers of venturing outside with wet hair in the winter. Or maybe a teacher told us to put our hat on at recess because we lose most of our body heat through our heads.
These health statements have been around for decades, but is there any truth behind them? Here’s a look at five popular health myths.
Myth No. 1: Wet Hair + Cold Temps = Sickness
It makes sense: Your hair is wet, which can make you chilly. Couple that with heading out into cold temperatures and it stands to reason you’d be colder, but does being colder mean you’re more susceptible to viruses and bacteria?
Scientists in England put the theory to the test and found that being chilled does not increase the possibility of catching a cold. If the cold virus is already in your body, however, being chilled can cause the onset of symptoms.
Myth No. 2: Cracking Your Knuckles Causes Arthritis
While cracking your knuckles sounds jarring, it won’t raise your risk of developing arthritis, according to Harvard Medical School. Contrary to popular belief, that popping sound isn’t caused by bones, but rather bubbles popping in the fluid that helps lubricate your joints.
But just because knuckle cracking won’t give you arthritis doesn’t mean you should continue doing it. Harvard Medical School reports that chronic knuckle crackers are more likely to have swollen hands and reduced grip strength.
Myth No. 3: You Lose Most of Your Body Heat Through Your Head
The U.S. Army survival manual from 1970 strongly encouraged covering your head when it’s cold, stating “40 to 45 percent” of body heat is lost from your head, which could help explain why most parents encourage children to wear their hats when playing outside in cold temperatures.
Scientists uncovered this myth isn’t true, noting that while wearing a hat might make us feel a little more comfortable in colder weather, it’s all up to personal preference.
Myth No. 4: All Fats are Bad for You
Roam the grocery store, and you’ll see a myriad low-fat or fat-free products. While saturated and trans fats are considered unhealthy, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats have been shown to be good for us (and our hearts).
Unhealthy fats tend to be solid at room temperature, while healthy fats — like olive or coconut oil — tend to be liquid at room temperature.
Myth No. 5: You Need 8 Glasses of Water a Day to be HealthyWhile many of us tote around water bottles to help us meet this recommendation, it may not be necessary.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that healthy adults and children receive their daily fluid intake from the foods they eat and from drinking when they feel thirsty. Your body needs more water in hot climates, when you’re more physically active, if you have a fever or are vomiting and have diarrhea.
While many of the health recommendations — like washing our hands before eating or wearing sunscreen — we receive from family and friends have proven benefits, many more are just myths. If you have questions about any health recommendations, talk with your doctor.