Medical myths, old wives’ tales and home remedies! We hear it all in the pharmacy.
At Guild Training we want to debunk some of these common myths through our mythbusting series. Let us know what other myths we should expose in the comments!
Myth 1: Ringworm is a worm
Although the name is deceptive, ringworm is not a worm. It is a skin infection that is caused by a fungi called dermatophytes. Most commonly occurring on the arms or torso, ringworm can also appear on other parts of the skin or even the scalp. Ringworm is characterised by a red ring of dry scaly skin that grows outwards as the infection spreads. Ringworm is very contagious, so care such as not sharing towels should be taken.
Myth 2: Vicks on feet can cool you down
Vicks VapoRub contains menthol and camphor which cause a cooling sensation. While the sensation might be comforting and may make you feel better, Vicks won’t help to reduce body temperature or fevers. Another old wives’ tale use for Vicks is rubbing it on the soles of your feet to relieve a cough. Some swear by this method, but the evidence isn’t so sure…
Myth 3: Putting onions in your socks will cure a cold or flu
A slice of red or white onion on your foot is said to cure a cold or flu overnight. Dating back to the 1500’s, this myth originated as a bubonic plague cure. The sulphuric compounds in onions are said to kill bacteria and viruses when they infiltrate the body. However, no studies have been done to confirm this. We don’t think putting onions in your socks will hurt you, but we aren’t sure they will do much more than cause stinky feet.
Myth 4: Rubbing a gold ring on your eye gets rid of a sty
With limited treatment options, we wish this one was true! Unfortunately, there is no evidence to suggest that it is. A sty is a small but painful lump on the eyelid that develops when an eyelash follicle or gland becomes clogged with excess oil, bacteria or debris. Treatment used to be with a product called Golden eye ointment – perhaps this is where this myth originated? The mainstay of sty treatment is a warm compress and keeping the area clean. In severe cases, patients may need to see the doctor for antibiotics to clear up any infection.