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Old wives tale still deep rooted in British society and often chosen over medical cures


A staggering 33 million Brits still believe in old wives’ tales a new survey has revealed.

Feed a cold, starve a fever, carrots improve eyesight and not swimming until an hour after eating are among the most popular myths.

Almost three quarters of the adult population still believe most body heat disappears through the head and that adults should consume at least eight glasses of water a day.

The study, carried out by the Brooke charity, revealed people often choose superstitions and cultural beliefs to relieve ailments, rather than a proven medical cure.

Sharon Schofield, Director of Fundraising for the working equine animal charity, said: ”The findings show Brits are still resorting to old practices and methods which are passed down through generations.

”Similarly, in the UK we are more likely to believe things our grandparents or parents once passed on, rather than something which has been proved as medically correct.

”People still trust deep-rooted traditions and beliefs.”

The study revealed four out of ten people are convinced urinating on a jelly fish sting is the best way to cure it, while 36 per cent believe venturing outside with wet hair will spark a cold.

People also believe cracking knuckles gives you arthritis, eating carrots improves eyesight and eating too much sugar brings on diabetes.

Other common old wives tales include tipping the head back to relieve a nose bleed and eating an apple between meals to keep teeth clean.

Fifteen per cent of parents believe if a pregnant woman is carrying low she is expecting a boy, and if she is carrying high it will be a girl.

And they also say she should be eating enough food to feed two people over the course of nine months.

Unbelievably, one in ten people will only eat shellfish if there is an ‘r’ in the month, and eight per cent honestly think sitting on a radiator will give them piles.

The study of 3,000 adults showed 69 per cent of adults believe in old wives tales and that 72 per cent pass on tales to their kids which came from parents or grandparents.

It also emerged 69 per cent continue to repeat myths they have heard, even if they are not sure they believe in them.

More than half of those swear old wives tales actually work.

Sharon Schofield added: ”Incredibly, despite many of these long-standing myths holding no weight at all, people still prefer to buy into more traditional practices to keep themselves and their animals well.

”While some treatments have benefits, some do more harm than good, as we often see in our projects for working horses and donkeys in developing countries.

”Our vets often come across working horses and donkeys which have been treated using traditional practices that have been handed down over generations, such as slitting an animal’s nostrils in the belief it will help it breathe easier.”


1. Wait an hour after swimming before eating
2. Most body heat is lost through the head
3. Drink at least eight glasses of water a day
4. Feed a cold, starve a fever
5. Urinate on a jelly fish sting
6. Going outside with wet hair gives you a cold
7. Cracking knuckles causes arthritis
8. Eating carrots improves eyesight
9. Copper bracelets sooth arthritis
10. Tipping your head back relieves nose bleeds
11. Brushing teeth straight after eating stops decay
12. Eating too much sugar triggers diabetes
13. Swallowed chewing gum stays in your stomach for seven years
14. An apple between meals keeps teeth clean
15. Sneeze with your eyes makes them pop out
16. If a pregnant woman is carrying low it’s a boy, high it’s a girl
17. Pregnant women should eat for two
18. Spicy food gives you ulcers
19. Only eat shellfish when there is an ‘r’ in the month
20. Sitting on a hot radiator gives you piles


1. Long, hot baths reduce sperm count
2. Fish is food for the brain
3. Gain a child, lose a tooth.
4. Wrap up and avoid a cold
5. An apple a day keeps the doctor away
6. Thumb sucking causes buck teeth
7. Cloves help relieve toothache
8. Chewing on bread can stop you crying when peeling onions
9. Toothpaste can send spots packing
10. Sleeping on your back encourages snoring



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