Myth? Busted.

The truth behind popular old wives tales


Savannah Downs, 10, looks closely at the computer screen. She is supposedly damaging her eyes, which is a popular myth.

Story by Savannah Downs, staff writer

Does counting sheep help you fall asleep faster? Can you get a cold just by walking on the ground barefoot? Old wives tales have been passed down from generation to generation and influence how we live our daily lives. Here are six old wives tales that have been debunked.

Going outside with wet hair gives you a cold

Being one of the most common old wives tales, many people have heard that walking outside with wet hair will make you sick. However, this has been disproven because the bad bacteria that is outside is not entering your body.

Swimming after eating gives you cramps

This false tale stems from the fact that there will not be enough blood flowing to your limbs, which causes cramping. Although cramping while swimming is common, it occurs with the same frequency before and after eating. So next time, don’t worry about enjoying a meal or snack before heading to the pool.

Chicken soup helps cure colds

At some point in our lives, chicken soup has been offered as a remedy to the common cold, and research has suggested that it can reduce inflammation by slowing down the white blood cell activity responsible for causing inflammation. However, though chicken soup can help relieve the symptoms related to a cold, it cannot completely get rid of them.

Sitting close to a television harms your eyesight 

If you thought that watching TV from a short distance permanently damaged your eyesight, you would be mistaken. Although sitting too close can cause headaches and eye strains, there is no scientific information that proves this could do any permanent damage.

Counting sheep helps you fall asleep faster 

Although counting sheep specifically hasn’t been linked to falling asleep faster, counting anything will help you focus on something else other than the thoughts of stress or anxiety, which is a major cause of taking a long time to fall asleep.

Getting a cold by walking on cold ground 

Have you ever been told to put shoes on when walking around the house or outside whenever it is cold? If so, tell whoever told you that, the lie of that statement. Yes, being cold can worsen symptoms, but just being in contact with the cold cannot make you sick. You would have to have a way for the bacteria or virus to get into your system in order to become sick.