During my week off I read Aaron’s new book, coauthored by Rachel Vreeman and titled Don’t Cross Your Eyes … They’ll Get Stuck That Way (and 75 Other Health Myths Debunked). Here are a few things I learned:
- Aloe vera will heal a burn. True. I knew this is what people thought. I did not know it had been demonstrated in clinical trials.
- The door handle is the dirtiest fixture in the bathroom. False. The floor is. Duh!
- Air dryers keep your hands cleaner than paper towels. False. They blow bacteria all over the place. I really hate knowing this. My kids love (love!) to dance under those bathroom dryers with their little faces up close to the gushing air.
- Celery has negative calories. Kind of true, if you include the energy needed to pass the cellulose it contains.
- Raw eggs will give you salmonella. False. It’s the shells and only 1 in 30,000 eggs is contaminated. I’ve known for some time that I foolishly decline the raw cookie dough when my family passes the bowl. It’s hard to reprogram myself not to think of raw eggs as severe gastrointestinal distress waiting to happen.
- Tilt your head back to stop a nose bleed. False. Bad idea. Not only does it not help but it causes you to swallow blood. Yuck. My trick, which is not in the book is in the footnote.*
- Vomit after swallowing something poisonous. False. Bad idea. It is not helpful.
- You should stretch before you exercise. False. Not helpful. However, and this is not in the book, anyone over 35 knows you should stretch a little when you get out of bed in the morning. It’s not for safety. It just makes it possible to actually walk to the bathroom without groaning.
- Don’t get vaccinated when you are sick. Some degree of truthiness. However, for mild illness (I infer a little cold counts), it’s fine to get vaccinated.
- You should uncover a wound at night to let it air out. False. It’ll heal faster if it is covered, even all night.
* I learned the following stop-a-nose-bleed trick from somebody’s dad at soccer practice as a kid. Since then I’ve used it countless times but never, ever heard anyone else repeat it: stick a wad of tissue or gauze inside your upper lip. Really pack it in. Make yourself look like a monkey. It stops the bleed very quickly. I guess it puts pressure just where it is needed. The best part about it is that it works great at night, when you’re trying to sleep, which is when I used to get most of my nosebleeds as a kid. Just jam in the tissue and go back to sleep. Later you’ll wake up, sans nose bleed, and you can pluck out the tissue. I suppose some doctor will worry you’ll choke on the tissue in your sleep. If you pack it in, it is very hard to see how it dislodges. Nevertheless, use at your own risk.