Mother knows best when you’re growing up, but even the most informed and well-meaning mothers sometimes gave us advice that we later discovered wasn’t quite right. We here at AFC took a list of some of the most popular pieces of motherly health advice and evaluated them. Read on to find out which pieces passed muster, and which ones we can leave behind!
- Put hydrogen peroxide on that scrape!
Verdict: Not quite right. While hydrogen peroxide does kill harmful bacteria, it can also delay healing by killing healthy cells. Clean water is better for most cuts and scrapes, unless there is a lot of dirt in the wound. And hydrogen peroxide should never be used on a deep puncture wound. If you’re unsure, clean the cut with water and call your doctor!
- Don’t go out with wet hair, you’ll catch a cold!
Verdict: Wrong! Catching a cold has nothing to do with the weather outside, and everything to do with the bacteria you’re exposed to. Many people confuse correlation with causation, and in this instance, moms everywhere were confusing the fact that colds become more common during the winter with a causal relationship! But colds and other illnesses are easier to catch in the winter because people tend to spend more time inside, hanging out around other people’s bacteria. You can rest assured that the only thing you’ll catch when you go out with wet hair is a bad hair day!
- Drink your milk!
Verdict: We’re not sure yet. Physicians generally agree that cow’s milk is healthy for children, but they caution that it should never be a meal replacement, even for infants. Some studies have also found that too much cow’s milk can lead to iron deficiency anemia and malnutrition in children. This is because too much milk can cause microscopic tears in the digestive tract, leading to blood loss. So, while milk provides a big calcium boost that’s important for building strong bones, be careful not to consume more than the daily recommended amount.
- Sitting too close to the TV will damage your eyes.
Verdict: Not really. The American Academy of Ophthalmology has agreed that sitting too close to a TV will not damage your eyes. This was the case in TV sets made before the 1950s, which released tiny amounts of radiation, and actually had a small potential to damage your eyes if you were too close to them. TVs today are made with shields that prevent this radiation from being released. This comes with a caveat, though; sitting too close as you grow older can cause eyestrain. Children are better able to focus on things close to their faces when they’re younger, but as they mature, their eyes become more susceptible to strain after long periods of looking at close objects.
- If you keep making that face, the wind will change and it’ll get stuck!
Verdict: Close! Mom was probably being a little overdramatic. She said this in an effort to get you to stop making crazy faces in front of company. But it has a grain of truth. The faces we make most often start to become etched into our features in the form of wrinkles. It’s a normal, if unpleasant, side effect of aging.
Mom gave us a lot of advice in the process of raising us, and while it might not have all been perfect, it was given with lots of love. So, this Mother’s Day, take some time to talk to your mom about the best health advice she gave you, and give her some tips based on what you know now!