Weekly Checkup: Mythbusters

Whether it is overindulging on greasy feasts or waiting a little too long to change the top sheets on your residence hall bed, all college students seem to have their own set of gross habits. To help start the year off in a healthy direction, GW’s Associate Director of Student Health Services, Susan Haney sat down with The Hatchet to break some commonly held health myths.

MYTH: Greasy foods such as fries and pizza causes pimples.
False. Bingeing on greasy foods won’t leave any effects on your pores, Haney said, but gorging on a bag of chips can have an impression on other areas of your body, like your waist.

MYTH: Antiperspirant deodorant can cause the pores under your armpits to close.
False. Occasionally antiperspirants can irritate the armpits, but it can not cause your pores to close, Haney said. If irritation does occur, she recommends using the gentlest brands of deodorant.

MYTH: Cleaning ear wax with a Q-tip will rupture the eardrum.
False. When digging a Q-tip far down into the crevices of your ear, it is possible to cause unpleasant cuts and tears in the ear canal, Haney said. A Q-tip will rarely rupture the eardrum itself. Haney recommends keeping the Q-tip on the outer crevices of the ear instead of sticking it directly in the ear canal.

MYTH: Keeping the same set of sheets on your bed all year will give you scabies.
False. Scabies can only be passed on by from another person who has come in contact with the mites, Haney said, not from your own dirty sheets. This does mean that if someone with the virus sleeps in your bed you could be susceptible to scabies. Haney recommends changing your sheets regularly, especially after someone you don’t know has slept in your bed.

MYTH: Cracking your knuckles will give you arthritis.
False. There are no long-term effects to cracking your knuckles, Haney said. Only the possibility is that excessive knuckle-cracking will cause air build-up between the joints.

MYTH: Birth control causes weight gain.
False. Although weight gain was a common side effect of birth control in the past, Haney said that more recent pills with lower doses of hormones have virtually removed the threat of extra pounds.

“Weekly check up” is a regular feature in the Life section. If you have a health topic you want to know more about, e-mail features@gwhatchet.com.

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