Old wives tales are superstitions passed down through time. They’re beliefs that aren’t backed up by facts.
While some of them are actually true, some are dangerously false. How are a couple of old wives tales dangerous, you ask? Dangerous like killing an infant with alcohol by accident. Just saying…
Here are three old wives tales that have been proven to be incorrect. As well as the facts to back them up so argumentative relatives can’t catch you with your opinion pants down around your ankles.
You know what I’m talking about. We all have those relatives who enjoy arguing more than breathing.
The tale: Rub some whiskey on your infant’s gums to stop teething pain.
The truth: Alcohol can kill the wee just born mini humans.
The facts: According to Dr. Jennifer Shu, a pediatrician, no amount of alcohol is safe for infants. Makes sense to me!
Let’s look at it this way. When adults take a shot, they drink about one ounce of alcohol, according to Jaclyn Stewart. A baby is getting 0.01 of that amount when a parent rubs whiskey on their gums.
But infants are tiny little sacks of flesh wrapped around tinier bones! They’re itty bitty and can easily be harmed. Stewart continues to plead our case as she goes on to describe what alcohol does to a tiny baby’s body. In a few words? It slows them down.
Sounds like not such a big deal? Think again.
Babies are constantly growing and slowing their freshly baked bodies down can cause developmental issues.
There’s enough challenge in this world for us humans, please don’t add any more for your child before they’re old enough to even understand the difference between chocolate and vanilla.
What to do instead? Dr. Shu saves our bums again. She suggests massaging your baby’s gums with a warm washcloth, allowing them to chew on cool baby rings made of the appropriate materials, or using an over the counter pain reliever in the appropriate dose for your wee one.
Seriously though, don’t give alcohol to babies. It’s not funny.
Old wives tale: Cracking your knuckles causes arthritis.
The truth: Nope. It hasn’t been proven to cause arthritis. Though, you might not want to make a habit of it, regardless.
The facts: There are multiple theories as to why our knuckles make a cracking sound. The most popular one is that bubbles are bursting in our synovial fluid when we crack them. Synovial fluid, by the way, is fluid that lubricates your joints. Muy importante.
Everywhere we turn, there is one thing people agree on. Cracking your knuckles on a consistent basis is noisy and annoying. Knock it off.
It certainly isn’t on the top of my annoying noises list.
(Anyone here chew with their mouth open and smack louder than a dog with peanut butter? You’re at the top of my list. Stop or die. Grrrr!!!)
But apparently cracking your knuckles drives some people up the wall and back down again. Pick a new habit. And in case that isn’t enough to get you to quit, it’s also been suggested that cracking your knuckles gives you problem with grip strength. Not something I’d give up without a fight.
So while the old wives were wrong about cracking knuckles causing arthritis, it’s still not advisable.
Old wives tale: Starve a fever, feed a cold. (I’ve also heard people turn that around.)
The truth: No! No! And, uh? No!
Please hold while I slam my head into this desk.
The facts: Starving is rarely, if ever, good for improving anything. Except maybe your appreciation for life once you’re rescued from that island you were shipwrecked on, after you nicknamed the local seagulls and began wondering how good tree bark tastes.
Regardless of which way you’ve heard this old wives tale said, it doesn’t matter. They’re both wrong. We need to feed both a fever and a cold.
When fighting off being sick, our bodies need energy. Nutrient-rich food is what our bodies use to create that energy. Ta-da.
(You definitely don’t want to overeat though.)
When you have a fever, it’s your body trying to fight off the illness. According to Mark Fischetti over at Scientific America, fevers increase our metabolism, meaning we need enough food for our bodies to burn in the pursuit of getting healthy.
Whether we have a fever or a cold, we need to eat healthy food and stay hydrated. Our bodies need the nutrients. Antioxidants, protein, glutathione, phytochemicals, and bioflavonoids are especially good for your health and can often prevent a person from getting sick too often.
If you’re sick and hear someone tell you to fast? Roll your eyes and cram the veggies and water down your gullet. When stuffy nose and fever attacks, fight back with healthy food, giving this old wives tale no nevermind.
The next time you hear an old wives tale, maybe consider whether or not it’s true on your own.
Did your parents put alcohol on your gums?
Does anyone else remember those teething rings from the fridge that were in the shape of the number eight and had little bumps all over them? (I used to love those things as a wee one.)
What are your favorite old wives tales? Are there any you wonder whether or not are accurate?