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Fact or fiction? These common wives’ tales may not be as valid as you think

HOUSTON – Your parents always told you doing things like cracking you knuckled or going swimming immediately after eating were bad, but are they really?

KPRC 2 health reporter Haley Hernandez spoke to an expert to see how well some common “old wive’s tales” hold up.

1) Don’t cross your eyes or scowl your face - it’ll freeze that way

Verdict: False

Physician Assistant Isabel Valdez said that claim is false.

“They’re both not true,” Valdez said. “Cross eyes can happen ... or a lazy eye is a medical condition where the muscles of the eye are, as the word says, lazy.”

2) Wait 30 minutes after you eat to go swimming

Verdict: False

You’ll get sick if you eat and swim... or so the myth goes. However, Valdez said that might not be the case.

“You do want the food to settle, (but) it’s not necessarily a truth that it’s always going to happen, no,” Valdez said.

3) Cracking your knuckles gives you arthritis

Verdict: False

Valdez said cracking your knuckles won’t do anything but make a cringe-worthy noise. She did, however, say that using your knuckles overtime can cause arthritis or sometimes your genetics play a role.

4) Wearing a hat makes you bald

Verdict: False

Balding is out of your control, even if you've heard wearing a hat will make you that way.

“Baldness can happen, it is a genetic trait," Valdez said. “It’s something that can happen to a lot of us, but women wear hats just as much and they don’t lose their hair. I don’t think it has to do with that. So, guys can wear a cap to hide it but they’re not going to do it to lose it.”

5) Don’t go outside when it’s cold or you’ll catch a cold

Verdict: False

Valdez said she hears these myths all the time.

“You will not get a cold from that," Valdez said. "Usually what happens is that because people are cold, they step indoors. They stay with a lot more people and there’s always that one person who might be sick and have the sniffles, and that person is highly contagious and gets other people sick.”

Therefore, it’s not because you’re outside in the cold. It is because you’re all indoors protecting yourself from the environment.

6) Heat escapes from your head so wear a hat

Verdict: False

“Not true. It’s not true,” Valdez said. “But I do recommend wearing caps and hats because they look nice, and because if you’re running and exercising outdoors, protecting yourself is not a bad idea."

7) If I am having a heart attack, my left arm will hurt

Verdict: Somewhat true

In men, that can happen. However, in women, that’s not always the case.

Valdez said heart disease in women can be as simple as nausea and discomfort. It’s not always obvious and intense.