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7 Medical Myths

medical myths While talking to a friend who is doing MBBS, our conversation steered to the common medical myths prevalent in the society. It was an interesting discussion which cleared many misconceptions. Later I decided to do a research on this topic by visiting websites of various hospitals and health organizations, and there I came across many other myths that even well-educated people believe.

Let’s take a look at these myths so that we are better prepared to handle such situations next time.

1) Myth: Tilt your head back in case of a nose bleed.
    Reality: Tilting your head back may cause blood to run into the throat and lead to nausea and vomiting. The correct approach is to tilt your head forward, pinch your nostrils shut, and breathe through your mouth.

2) Myth: In case of heart attack, the victim should lie down.
    Reality: Lying down makes it harder to breathe. Instead make the victim sit in W position with their knees bent and head and shoulders supported.

3) Myth: If an external body part is bleeding heavily, tie a piece of cloth tightly above (& not on) the injury.
    Reality: The reason given by people for tying something above the injury is to stop the blood flow. But this will stop the blood supply to the injured portion and cause tissue damage. The right way is to tie something ON the wound which puts pressure on it and stops bleeding. This is what doctors do when the tie a bandage around your wound.

4) Myth: If someone is having an epileptic seizure, put something hard in their mouth to stop them biting their tongue.
    Reality: While the thinking is correct, the type of object mentioned is not. Putting something hard, like a spoon, can break his/her teeth. The object might also break in which case the victim will choke on the pieces. Best thing to do is to use some cushion such as a blanket.

5) Myth: If a person feels faint, tilt their head forward.
    Reality: By tilting their head forward, the person might actually fall forward. Best practice is to lie them down and raise their legs such that the brain is at a lower level as compared to legs. This increases blood flow to the brain.

6) Myth: Reading in dim light weakens your eyesight.
    Reality: Though reading in dim light is not a good habit, but it doesn’t weaken your eyesight. Dim light causes stress in the eye, and decreases the rate of blinking which leads to drying of eyes. But these effects are not permanent.

7) Myth: Don’t swallow chewing gum; it will stick to your intestines.
    Reality: I still remember my parents and teachers warning me about the ill-effects of swallowing a chewing gum. Time has changed but this misconception still prevails. Gum consists of flavors, sweeteners, softeners and gum base. While the former three gets digested, the gum base remains indigestible. But instead of sticking to your intestines it passes out of your system in a normal way.

These are just few of the myths that exist in our society. Though some are harmless, like the last two, others might prove fatal to the victim. To prevent such a situation, there should be a mandatory basic first-aid course in schools.

You’ll find many of these myths on web too. With hoax mails like Reverse ATM PIN, Dial #90, LPG Cylinder Expiry Date, and now these medical myths, you should be careful which source you trust. At Knowledge Hub, we continuously strive to provide you authentic information. So subscribe to our newsletter, join our facebook page or follow us through Google Friend Connect to receive updates in future.

Do tell us about other medical myths that you have heard.

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