10 Pinoy health myths debunked
(Part 1)

Shifting from reactive to proactive health care

Over the years, the Internet and other modern advancements have revolutionized our day-to-day lives. Yet despite numerous scientific and technological breakthroughs, many Filipinos still cling to health superstitions that have been passed on from generation to generation. Admit it, many popular Pinoy health beliefs defy modern medicine but a lot of Pinoys still follow folkloric practices that strangely stood the test of time.

Why do Pinoys still believe and follow superstitious practices?

Wala naman kasing mawawala kung maniwala o sumunod tayo.” You probably heard this answer countless times and chances are, you’ve said it too.

These old beliefs and practices seem hard to break because they are part of our culture and history. However, it’s important to debunk these health myths in favor of wellness and safety. Here are common Pinoy health myths and beliefs debunked.

Myth 1: Sleeping with wet hair can lead to blindness.

Did your lola or mom ever warn you not to sleep with wet hair because you can go blind? It doesn’t seem to make sense but many Pinoys would rather let their hair dry first before sleeping than risk their sense of sight. There is no medical reference that mentions going blind if you sleep with wet hair. However, according to studies, there is a possibility of developing a fungal infection of the scalp when you make a habit of sleeping with wet hair. Wet pillows can become a breeding ground for fungus which can cause scalp infection. Another consequence is hair breakage. Since hair is at its weakest when it’s wet, it is prone to breakage when we toss and turn while sleeping. Last but not the least, sleeping with wet hair can cause a major bad hair day the following day.

Myth 2: Taking a bath during your monthly period can cause mental disorders.

This might sound absurd but there are still some people who believe this. There are some modifications to this myth. Some say that taking a bath or shower during menstruation can make you sick, go blind, or lose your hair. There is no truth to these varying myths. Doctors stress the importance of personal hygiene, especially during menstruation. Taking a warm bath can also help ease cramps.

Myth 3: You can get warts from frog’s urine.

This myth probably stemmed from frogs and toads’ bumpy skins that resemble warts. Despite their physical appearance, there is no scientific evidence that links the urine of frogs or toads to the growth of warts. So how do you get warts? These grainy and small skin growths develop when the HPV (Human Papillomavirus) comes in contact with the skin.

Myth #4: “Usog” can cause stomach pain and other physical discomforts.

What is “usog”? There is no English counterpart for this word but it’s like unknowingly jinxing or hexing someone (usually infants or toddlers) by a simple greeting (hence the word, “nabati”). According to elders, usog causes stomach pain, headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, or even convulsions. They claim that to cure a victim of “usog”, the one who caused it must apply his/her saliva while tracing a cross on the person’s forehead, tummy, or sometimes feet (in the case of infants) while chanting “pwera usog”. This practice is said to put an end to the pain or discomfort. To prevent “usog”, parents usually use “kontra-usog” materials such as pinning a small red cloth to the child’s clothing or wearing a red and black beaded bracelet. Although many Filipinos grew up to this belief, there is no scientific study that explains this phenomenon.

Myth #5: Exposing a baby to nighttime air, a.k.a.“hamog” can lead to sickness.

“Hamog” which means dew is behind the famous kasabihan “baka mahamugan’ which leads to colds or coughs. This is why elderly folks always insist on covering a baby’s head when going out of the house at night. According to medical experts, exposure to nighttime air or “hamog” does not directly cause a child to get sick. Children, especially younger ones, can catch a virus when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can also spread via physical contact by touching one’s mouth after making contact with a contaminated surface. Since babies are still developing their immune systems, they are more susceptible to viruses.

Facts over myths

Embrace wellness by favoring scientific facts over superstitious health beliefs. Always put your family’s health first and reach out to medical experts when you have medical concerns. For affordable healthcare plans, get in touch with our Health Benefit Advisor.

Here’s the continuation of 10 Pinoy health myths debunked (Part 2).

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