How many of you can remember your parents say the following:
“Get out of those wet clothes or you’ll catch your death of cold!”
“If you washed your face more often, your acne would clear right up.”
“Pick yourself up by your bootstraps.”
“Low carb diets are the best weight loss plans.”
“Don’t touch your face with your hands.”
“Wash your hands often.”
“Eat your oats, they’re good for you.”
“Sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt you.”
Not all of the above actually comes from mom and dad, some come from the television, popular books and the internet. The question is, which are right and which are not?
Acne: Continuous face washing, especially with abrasive products will be more likely to cause an outbreak, not end it. Gentle products are best, and always follow the advice on the package. Even better, make your own. There are many things that you can buy right in the produce aisle to help clear up your skin.
Death of Cold: This is a true and false belief. False because, unless you are exposed to it for a long period of time or hypothermia sets in, the cold does not actually cause an illness. True because being to cool for too long does weaken the immune system and it is possible that you’ll pick up a bug from someone.
Depression: No amount of bootstrap pulling will help you get over clinical depression…unless you also have medical help. It’s caused by a chemical imbalance, not a weakness or failing on the part of the depressed.
Also, bear in mind that some depression is natural. Telling the grieving widow at her husband’s funeral to “buck up” approaches the pinnacle of crassness.
Face Touching: There are two very good reasons that avoiding touching your face with your hands is a good idea. First, going back to the acne, the extra oils can help make the condition worse. Second, if you’ve been exposed to something via your hands and then you touch your face, you’ve more or less inoculated yourself with the illness.
Hand Washing: Another good idea. As mentioned above, your hands are often the vector for viruses and even some bacteria. If they’re clean, you’re less likely to get sick. Soap and hot water go a long way towards keeping you healthy.
Low Carb: This, too, is both true and false. Some people will be healthier if they watch the carbohydrates they consume and choose what they do eat with care. However, there are two things to keep in mind. First, most of your vitamins come from fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Second, in a low carb diet, most of your calories will come from animal products and these can be high in cholesterol and saturated fat. People who are at an ideal weight can die from heart attacks, also.
Oats: Mom was right. Oats are one of the few food/herb items that the FDA will allow health claims to be made for. Eating oats on a daily basis can lower your LDL cholesterol.
Shopping Carts: I have never been so grossed out. Normally, I’m against using those disposable sanitary wipes, but I will now make an exception for shopping carts. Studies indicate that e. coli and fecal matter show up on about 50% of these everyday items. Yuck. Plus, if the person before you had the flu, you can pick it up from the cart. The virus lives for quite a while after being deposited.
Sticks and Stones: You will most likely recover from bruises and broken bones faster than you will from some of the things that can come out of another person’s mouth. That’s something we can all remember, because once we’ve uttered something, it can never be taken back.
It’s a good idea to listen to health suggestions from others, particularly your parents, but it is equally good to ask if they don’t sound right. Your doctor will be much happier to sort out the good from the bad than he or she would be to fix what got broken because you didn’t.