Don’t Believe All Your Mama Told You!

Despite what you may have been told:
DebunkedMyth– Poinsettias are NOT toxic
– Vaccines do NOT cause the flu
– Cold weather can NOT make you sick
– Sugar does NOT make the kids over active
– Eating holiday turkey does NOT make you drowsy
– Reading in the dark will NOT harm your eyesight and neither will sitting too close to the TV.

A study that looked at 23,000 Instances of poinsettia exposure found that none was fatal and the worst reactions were stomachaches. So, as you think about decorating for the holidays, don’t worry about having poinsettias around.

“Those beautiful flowers you’ve been so wary of keeping in your home during the holidays, lest they poison pets or children, are not toxic,” reports Live Science. Citing a study that looked at nearly 23,000 cases of
poinsettia exposure reported to poison control centers. None was fatal, and the most severe reactions were stomachaches.

This is just one of the supposed medical facts that the website knocks down as myth. Live Science says the poinsettia fears probably were sparked by a 1919 case in which a child was said to have died after eating parts of a poinsettia, but neither the death nor the poinsettia connection was ever confirmed.

Live Science also addressed the myth that vaccines can cause the flu. No, they can’t. The flu shot contains
flu viruses, but they are inactivated. “A dead virus cannot be resurrected to cause the flu,” Rachel Vreeman, a doctor who has written about medical myths, told the website.

Another myth says that cold weather makes you sick. No. People feel more chilled when it’s cold, but that does not translate into actually getting a cold, a major study found. “Whether … shivering in a frigid
room or in an icy bath, people were no more likely to get sick after sniffing cold germs than they were at more comfortable temperatures.” We probably get more colds in winter just because there are more people
stuck together indoors, making it easier to spread germs.

A lot of parents are convinced that sugar makes kids really wired. Nope, even though many parents swear this is true. Live Science writes: “In one particularly clever study, kids were given Kool-Aid sweetened with
aspartame, a compound that contains no sugar. Researchers told half the parents the Kool-Aid contained sugar, and told the other half the truth.” Wrist sensors on the kids found they were “actually acting subdued,” but the parents who thought their kids had ingested a sugary drink “reported that their children were uncontrollable and; overactive.” More likely it is, the excitement of parties where sugary treats are served that makes kids wild.

Some believe that eating holiday turkey makes you drowsy. You will read stories about tryptophan, an amino acid found in turkey, and how it makes you want to nap – but, in fact, chicken and beef have pretty similar amounts of the chemical. Your sleepiness is probably just from overeating, with lots of carbo-
hydrates and a few alcoholic beverages added in, experts told Live Science.

And, in this season of longer nights and more indoor activity, it’s good to know that neither reading in the dark nor sitting too close to the TV ruins your eyesight. These behaviors may tire your eyes because they work harder, but “there is no evidence that these practices cause longterm damage,” Vreeman told
Live Science. However, she said, if you tend to sit so close to the TV (or computer) that your eyes
hurt, it’s probably worth getting tested for nearsightedness.