Home Biology Medical Myths That People Somehow Still Believe
Biology By Joe Burgett -

Medical Myths That People Somehow Still Believe
[Image via Pikul Noorod/Shutterstock.com]

Myth: Women Cannot Get Pregnant During Their Periods

Likely the biggest shocker on this list for some people. It is completely false that a woman cannot get pregnant while on her period. Of course, to be fair, this is only during certain points. First and foremost, she needs to have unprotected sex for this to occur as usual. Most of the time, it is hard to get pregnant by having sex at the beginning of your period. This means for the first day and even up to day three, you’re unlikely to get pregnant. Although this is all dependent on how long a woman’s period typically goes, how heavy the flow is, and stuff like that. Yet near the end of your period, pregnancy is possible. Planned Parenthood claims that a woman is most likely to get pregnant right before and during ovulation. Therefore, it’s possible those last few days could result in pregnancy if one has unprotected sex.

Medical Myths That People Somehow Still Believe
[Image via Healthline]

Myth: Starve A Fever, Feed A Cold

This is perhaps the oldest wives’ tale there is. This is one of the medical myths that “seemed” to be true at one point. The oldest known reference to this came from a 1574 dictionary written by John Withals. He noted in it that fasting is a great remedy for a fever. The idea was that eating food could help the body generate warmth during a “cold.” Therefore, eating could help you fight the cold better. This would mean you should avoid food for a fever because it might overheat your body. Yet this is completely false. It is true that your body is fighting a virus when you have a cold, and it does need proper energy to do this. This means properly eating is a good idea. However, food has no role in a fever. Keep in mind, a fever is your body’s response to fighting a virus so it’s technically a good thing.

Medical Myths That People Somehow Still Believe
[Image via NTL Studio/Shutterstock.com]

Myth: The Weather Makes You Sick

Speaking of colds, you’ve likely heard a lot of odd medical myths about weather and sickness. It should be noted that no, the cold weather or temperatures outside will not give you a cold. You can even go outside with wet hair in the cold and still won’t catch a virus. Although, you’d likely want to avoid it simply because hypothermia is still a thing. This also brings us to the truth about weather and temperatures. While the cold could cause things such as the aforementioned hypothermia, this is a progressive issue that will not happen if you spend 5 minutes outdoors. On top of this, things like heat stroke and exhaustion could occur. Both are also progressive from a longer period outdoors and often a lack of proper hydration. However, neither extreme temp will give you a virus or infection.

Medical Myths That People Somehow Still Believe
[Image via Seeker – YouTube]

Myth: We Only Use 10% of Our Brain

Apologies to the great scriptwriters for the movie Limitless as well as its later television show, but we do not just use 10% of our brain. Therefore, there is no pill that could be made to access all of it because it’s unneeded. It seems this myth began in 1908 by William James who simply wrote in The Energies of Men “we are making use of only a small part of our possible mental and physical resources.” Of course, this was obviously over 100 years ago and it never referenced the 10% concept that would later pop up. Today we know that unless one has a neurological condition, they will use 100% of their brain. The brain is so active during the day that it uses up roughly 20% of our body’s energy. We simply do not use 100% of our brain all day long, as it has different functions for different needs.

Medical Myths That People Somehow Still Believe
[Image via Lightspring/Shutterstock.com]

Myth: Stay Awake If You Have A Concussion

Perhaps one of the most understandable medical myths on this list has to do with the idea that one should not sleep if they have a concussion. It is true that you need to keep a person awake if they cannot hold a conversation, aren’t walking properly, or have dilated pupils. Some people might even get sick and upchuck if they have one. If none of the previous signs are there, it is okay to let a person sleep but only after seeking medical treatment to be sure there aren’t any underlying neurological problems. While one can be knocked out when they sustain a concussion, this is not automatically going to give them a neurological disorder or cause internal bleeding. Most recover from a concussion pretty well, but it’s actually advised for them to get plenty of rest if they do not need any further medical treatment.

Medical Myths That People Somehow Still Believe
[Image via Kdshutterman/Shutterstock.com]

Myth: Psychiatric & Emergency Room Visits Increase During A Full Moon

You have likely heard someone reference that things are going weird where they are because “it’s a full moon.” This has often been referenced in the medical world too by people due to its colloquial use everywhere else. Due to the huge belief that ER visits go up during full moon periods, a group of Iranian researchers conducted a study in 2004 to see if there was any truth to it. During a 13-month period, 58,000 trauma patients were admitted to three hospitals which was the highest amount in Tehran. They followed the Lunar Calendar for the study, ensuring they caught every full moon. The result of the study was that trauma patients were not admitted to the ER anymore than they were during other periods. They also did not see an increase in attempted suicide or assault cases during full moons either.

Medical Myths That People Somehow Still Believe
[Image via Fit Mix Mom]

Myth: Pregnancy Always Does And Always Should Last For 9 Months

While most should know that this is one of the most untrue medical myths imaginable, you’d be surprised how many still believe it. Let us be clear about this though. Yes, it is usually good to carry your child “to term.” However, that does not mean 9 months as pregnancy itself is supposed to last for 40 weeks, which goes beyond that. In fact, 36 weeks or 9 months is actually referred to as a “preterm birth.” Plus, there are complications at times that can cause a child to be born even earlier than 9 months. A child can be born around 5 to 6 months, but they will need proper care in a hospital to survive. Yet a child can be born around 8 months and often will not need any major hospital care. Therefore, pregnancy does not always last for 9 months and it does not always have to.

Medical Myths That People Somehow Still Believe
[Image via Vectorfusionart/Shutterstock.com]

Myth: Sitting Is The New Smoking

While smoking is obviously not advisable for its various health concerns, some have believed sitting has become just as bad as smoking. This is the idea that if someone is not an energetic and active person, they must be unhealthy. The concept was based on a 2010 study that found that people who sat more than 6 hours a day died earlier than people who say less than 3 hours per day. Yet follow-up studies on this data quickly found that it did not really consider other major data. Such as what a person was doing while sitting. Additional studies kept coming until major 2015 & 2018 studies found “no association to sitting and mortality risk.” However, health professionals still encourage exercise and not sitting constantly, as it can be good for our health to be a little active too.

Medical Myths That People Somehow Still Believe
[Image via Kenary820/Shutterstock.com]

Myth: BMI Levels Are Important

A person’s BMI or Body Mass Index is often referred to by nutritionists and many weight loss organizations. Yet the importance of a person’s BMI is one of the major medical myths of our time. Why should we see it as a problem? Mostly, the entire concept itself is flawed. One calculates their BMI by using their weight in pounds (or kilograms) and dividing it by the square of their height in feet (or meters). You’ll then get a number ranging from under 18.5 to over 30. If you’re 18.5 or under you’ll be underweight. Anyone at 30 and over are obese. Yet if you’re from 25 to 29.9 you’re overweight. However, you can likely see the issue with this. For example, John Cena at 6’0 and 250lbs and would be obese on a BMI scale, meaning he’s likely in bad health. Yet one can easily see this man is in great shape.

Medical Myths That People Somehow Still Believe
[Image via Medical News Today]

Myth: Sunscreen Is Only Needed When The Sun Is Out

Perhaps one of the biggest medical myths involves when one should wear sunscreen. Most people assume you’ll only need to wear it when the sun is beaming down on a 90+ degree day, such as in the Spring or Summer. However, you can actually get sunburnt in 50 to 60-degree weather with the sun barely out. We’ll even go further on this and tell you that you can still get burnt even when the Sun has pretty much disappeared in the evening. Ultraviolet rays, which are what the Sun emits, and what burns or tans our human skin. These rays are generally strongest from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. However, there are some UV rays still being emitted after 4:00 pm. This just depends on how intense the sun is in a given place. Therefore, it is good to wear sunscreen anytime especially if you have sensitive skin.

Medical Myths That People Somehow Still Believe
[Image via Aleksandr Medvedkov/Shutterstock.com]

Myth: Energy Drinks Offer Better Ingredients To Keep You Going Than Coffee

While energy drinks are a major fad right now, there is a huge problem with what people think about them. While it is true that energy drinks will give you energy, the way they offer energy is misunderstood. They make a lot of claims about the vitamins or other often weird ingredients used in their product. Before “energy drinks” became a thing, some drinks like Surge were banned by the FDA. Yet after energy drinks became a thing they rebranded as “Vault.” Energy drinks are made with a lot of bad chemicals but they actually offer energy the same way a normal cup of coffee does. They use the infamous ingredients known as caffeine and sugar. Therefore, you’re actually not getting any more efficient boosts from energy drinks and could actually be harming your body more by using them.

Medical Myths That People Somehow Still Believe
[Image via Vitalii Vodolazskyi/Shutterstock.com]

Myth: All Cholesterol Is Bad

Cholesterol is often misunderstood and people tend to freak out when they see it show up on things. While there are some goods and even drinks that have higher rates of cholesterol in them, we actually need some. Cholesterol is a molecule and part of lipids, which are a class of organic compounds that are technically fatty acids or their derivatives. They are insoluble in water but will be soluble in organic solvents. You’ll see them in natural oils, waxes, and even steroids. The amount of cholesterol in our blood can be important as it plays a role in heart health. We judge it based on LDL & HDL numbers. The higher your LDL is, the greater chance you could have a stroke or heart disease. HDL, on the other hand, can be good to see as it absorbs cholesterol in our blood and flushes it out via the liver.

Medical Myths That People Somehow Still Believe
[Image via Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock.com]

Myth: Cell Phones Mess With & Interact With Hospital Equipment

Perhaps the very same issue assumed on airplanes, cell phones were often assumed to be the cause of every bad thing that could be experienced. According to the FDA, it was assumed that the radio frequency energy or RF from cell phones could potentially interact with some electronic medical devices. Yet while cell phones could possibly have interacted with things like MRI machines, it would likely have been due to the metal inside of them. This is why they ask you to take off your belt or any piercings before you get one. The Mayo Clinic did a study and found that cell phones did not cause any RF issues. In 300 tests in rooms containing at least 192 medical devices (including ECG monitors and ventilators), cell phones caused no problems with the medical equipment even once.

Medical Myths That People Somehow Still Believe
[Image via Leigh Prather/Shutterstock.com]

Myth: Vaccines Cause Autism

This is probably the most important thing to address in an article about medical myths. Vaccines have not ever been shown to have a role in causing autism. It is important to note that autism is something one is born with and does not just show up later on because of a shot or vaccine. There are a few reasons people believe this. First, it’s likely because we start vaccines pretty young, usually at the 2-month stage. Autism does not typically show up heavily until a child is around 18 months to 2 years old. By then, they would have likely had several vaccines. It is also due to a study that has since been debunked multiple times with pretty much every researcher involved claiming it was incorrect. Therefore, we still are wondering why there are so many who believe autism can be caused by a vaccine.


Where Do We Find This Stuff? Here Are Our Sources:

National Institutes of Health

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)

United States Federal Drug Administration (FDA)

Organization for Economic Co-Operation & Development (OECD)

The American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology

International Concussion Society

University of Michigan

University of California

Harvard University

Johns Hopkins Medicine

Mayo Clinic

Cleveland Clinic

Cedars-Sinai Hospital

Planned Parenthood