Doctor busts 10 common health myths

Doctor busts 10 common health myths – including needing to drink eight glasses of water and not drinking alcohol while on antibiotics – and shares the advice to follow instead

  • Dr Sara Kayat appeared on This Morning today some bust popular health myths
  • She tackled a list of 10 enduring health myths, separating fact from fiction
  • Among those she tackled was the idea you need to drink 8 glasses of water daily
  • Another myth she debunked was that cracking your knuckles is bad for joints

A doctor has busted some common health myths – explaining why you don’t need to drink eight glasses of water day or clean your ears, despite popular belief.

Dr Sara Kayat appeared on today’s episode of This Morning to separate health advice fact from fiction during a segment with presenters Rochelle Humes and Vernon Kay.

She tackled a list of 10 myths, including that cracking your knuckles won’t give you arthritis, and why you don’t need to have a period on the pill.

Other myths she debunked were the ‘five-second’ rule, and whether you really need to treat verrucas. 

We don’t need to clean our ears, according to Dr Sara, who says they are self-cleaning, and that using items like cotton buds can damage them

1. You don’t need to clean your ears

According to Dr Sara: ‘Our ears are so beautifully self-cleaning. They’ve got these little hairs that kind of pulsate and push out the wax. And so you don’t need to be shoving something in there to clean it out.’

She added that every time you put a cotton bud in your ear, you risk damaging the small hairs and the lining of the skin, which can lead to infections.

Additionally, you may also accidentally perforate or burst the eardrum. 

Finally, Dr Sara explained why we shouldn’t try to remove all the wax, explaining: ‘We need ear wax. The wax is good, it traps the debris.’

Those taking the pill do not need to take a break every 21 days according to the doctor, who said the bleeding during those breaks is not a true period

2. You don’t need to have a period on the pill 

Dr Sara said you don’t need to have a period if you’re on pill, adding that the bleeding at the end of 21 days is not a real period.

‘So, if for any reason you don’t want to have those seven days of bleeding, you do not have to,’ she said, explaining that you can have two packets back-to-back. 

‘You could take [the pill] for three months and then have a period if that’s what you prefer,’ she said.

‘Or if you definitely want a period every month but you think, “actually I don’t like seven days”, cut it down.’

Dr Sara’s advice when it comes to tackling your child who has a fever is to ‘treat the child not the fever’

3. You don’t need to bring down your child’s fever

Dr Sara said: ‘I always say treat the child not the fever…. a fever is there as a response for our body to fight an infection, and so, if you reduce that fever, then you may limit your body’s ability to fight it as quickly.’

She noted that if your child is distressed or unwell, you should try and make them feel better.

But she reiterated: ‘I think it’s just really important to look at your child rather than the number.’  

4. Verrucas don’t need to be treated

According to the health expert, verrucas, although unpleasant are just viruses.

She said: ‘As we know. our body is able to get rid of viruses by themselves. [For] some people, it might just take a couple of months. 

‘Other people, it can take years and if they’re really frustrating you and of course you can do treatments…but you don’t have to. They will go away by themselves eventually in most people.’

The number eight is totally arbitrary when it comes to how much people should drink every day, said Dr Sara

5. You don’t need to drink eight glasses of water a day

While Dr Sara pointed out that it’s important to stay hydrated, she described the number eight as ‘a completely arbitrary number’. 

‘I can’t find any evidence to say why everybody should be drinking eight glasses a day specifically,’ she said.  

Dr Sara added that other factors will affect how much water you need, including how hot your environment is.   

6. Watching the TV in the dark is not bad for your eyes

Despite many people thinking that watching TV in the dark is bad for their eyes, Dr Sara said this is not the case. 

She explained: ‘You can get temporary changes to your eyes…you can get eye strain, but all of these things are temporary changes and so it’s not going to cause any permanent damage.’   

Alcohol does not actually interact with all antibiotics, according to Dr Sara, although she said it is generally better for you not to drink while you’re taking antibiotics, as alcohol can inhibit your immune system

7. You can drink alcohol on certain antibiotics

Dr Sara said it is generally better for you not to drink while you’re taking antibiotics, as alcohol can inhibit your immune system.

However, she said that most of the common antibiotics we take don’t interact with alcohol.  

‘People worry that [the medication] will become less effective if they drink. It’s not the case,’ she said, noting that people should raise any queries with their GP.

To get a cold, there needs to be a virus, said the doctor. So just being in a cold environment alone will not give you one

8. Being cold won’t give you a cold

Although many people believe that going outside in cold weather can give you a cold, this is untrue, according to the doctor.

She said: ‘Going outside in the cold weather is not going to be why you get a cold.

‘You need there to be a virus there to actually get a cold. So just being in a cold environment isn’t the reason you catch the cold.’

9. Cracking joints doesn’t cause arthritis

Despite the enduring myth that cracking joints doesn’t cause arthritis, this is not the case, according to the doctor.

She said: ‘People think…it’s the joints and bones rubbing against each other that’s causing that noise, but it’s actually just a little bit of gas, a bubble of gas in between the joints.

‘When [you crack your knuckles], it kind of pops out and it’s not damaging your joints. Obviously if you getting any pain, swelling or anything at the same time, then it can be something serious.’ 

10. The five-second rule isn’t real

According to the ‘five-second’ rule, food dropped on the floor is ok to consume – as long as you pick it up within that timeframe.

But as Dr Sara explained, this is not quite true.  

‘Yes, the longer [the food is on the floor], the more likely it’s going get in contact with bacteria,’ she said. 

‘But it’s there for [even just] a second, it’s still likely to get some germs, and your kids have survived.’

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