5 Common Myths Debunked

05 March 2011

Here are 5 common myths which I come across quite often.

Some people believe in these myths seriously, but I think it is best that these silly beliefs be cleared up because it may just cause inconveniences to yourself or the people around you.

Myth #1
If your laptop's battery is full, and you want to use it with a power source, you must take off the battery. Otherwise, it will shorten the battery's life.

This is a funny myth that I come across very often in my country among my friends. This is not true, that's just not how Li-Ion battery works. When it is full, the battery stops charging automatically because there is nothing more to charge, and new technology allows better power management. You cannot "overcharge" your Li-Ion battery, and it will not overheat by charging.

On the other hand, taking your battery out is worse and may shorten your battery life instead. The battery ages even if not used. If you really need to take out your battery or have a spare battery to store, most people store batteries at around 40% charge in a cool, dry place for best results.

This is designed in a way that it should remain in your laptop forever...

Myth #2
You MUST take antibiotics to treat your flu/fever/sorethroat.

For sore throats, there are two kinds of infection.
- Bacterial Infection (most commonly strep bacteria)
- Viral Infection (happens about 90% of the damn time)

A viral infection is common and you get it mostly together with the flu. These sore throats are also highly contagious, and is basically how most people have it. Antibiotics work only on bacteria, because it kills bacteria. For viruses, no, it doesn't work at all, and it may even make it worse (your body should be able to tolerate a bit, as long as you don't overdose). For sore throat, antibiotics only work for bacterial infections, which is not too common.

Flu is a virus. Antibiotics don't do anything to flu.

Fever may be caused by bacteria, but most fever is also due to virus. Again, if it is due to virus, antibiotics don't do anything.

Why do doctors keep prescribing antibiotics then? The doctor may think you have a bacterial infection, or the doctor may just prescribe you antibiotics to be on the safe side. I've had a bacterial infection sore throat before, but only once.

Strepsils is named after the strep bacteria which is common in causing sore throats.

Myth #3
Eating lots of fried food or "heaty" food makes you sick.

In Malaysia or asian countries, we adapt the concept of Yin and Yang especially in food where dry, hot, spicy food are called "heaty" food and wet, cool, juicy food are called "cooling" food.

Of course, in Western medicine, it makes no sense at all. The Yin and Yang may serve as an easier explanation for many things, (imagine Newton's 3rd Law being simplified just like that) but it is not necessarily true.

For those who are not familiar, it basically means if you eat too much "heaty" food, you need to balance it up with "cooling" food or you'll get sick, since your body cannot handle the energy (associated with 'chi') ...

To make long story short, basically you need a balanced diet. Some people also have food intolerance, such as not being able eat too much spicy food or they'll have a reaction, such as acne or getting sick. Besides, people in the Western countries eat these grilled, fried, cooked to perfection "heaty" food almost every day.

You can eat rice when you're having a fever. You can eat watermelons if you have cough. I did it, it has made no difference. Just because I didn't recover doesn't mean my sick has gone worse due to the food. At one time, I also drank big bowls of Tom Yam soup for 3 days in a row, every day, and eat burgers, fastfood, the "heaty" stuff, and I was alright.

Mmm...moar! Moar!

Myth #4
You must drink 8-10 glasses of water a day.

Depends on your body. One thing to note though, that 8 glasses of water per day includes the water you get from food, not just plain water. Coffee and tea is also water, they just go through the coffee beans or tea leaves, that's all. All these things that we drink are also water, and you'd be surprised that we actually get a lot of water from what we eat.

And that is why, some people drink like 1-2 cups of liquids, not necessarily water but maybe coffee, beer, or anything else but they're hydrated and healthy as ever, no different from you who drinks a lot. It is not a necessity to drink 8 glasses of water a day to be healthy. In some situations like in Malaysia, the weather is extremely hot almost all the time, so it may be good to drink more water though.

The more important rule is, if you feel thristy, drink.

Myth #5
The human penis has a bone.

It's just tissue and blood, no bones, no muscles. It is found in other mammals though, and other primates such as chimpanzees, but not humans. It's called a baculum.