There’s an old wives’ tale that, should you be suffering from a cold, you should cut an onion in half and put one piece in each sock. Fortunately, thanks to science and medicine, we know that this is categorically daft. You will have incredibly smelly feet if you do this, and you’ll still have phlegm leaking from your nose, as if Shrek met Fargo and was thrown into a woodcutter.
It’s incredibly unlikely that doing this will cause you any significant physical pain or endanger your health. There are, however, a handful of medical myths like this that can prove to be quite dangerous, and potentially very painful – and because we’re lovely, we took a look and found some for you.
Live long and prosper, dear readers. Don’t do any of these.
1 – Don’t Pee On A Jellyfish Sting
So you’re swimming out there in the beautiful blue ocean, dipping in and out of the azure waves. Then, out of nowhere, pain shoots up your leg. A pesky jellyfish has wrapped its tentacles around you, or just accidentally brushed up against you, and its bard-shaped stingers – its nematocysts – have penetrated your skin on a microscopic scale.
Alkaline venom rushes into your body. It burns, and assuming it’s not a wibbly wobbly deathbringer and you aren’t going to die, you paddle awkwardly to the shore and beg someone to urinate on your brand-new, boil-covered linear striations. The idea is that your urine is mildly acidic, and its liberal spraying on said wounds will help to neutralize the alkaline sting, and you’ll be right as rain.
Stop. Hold back this golden shower, for it is not medicinal. Pop culture may have convinced you that it is, but there’s no compelling evidence out there that this will do anything other than embarrass all involved.
A study, published in the journal Toxins, explains that warm vinegar – which is far more acidic than your piss – will help, but only in the sense that it’ll stop any nematocysts from unleashing any fresh venom. You’ll need to see a medical professional soon afterwards. Urination won’t do much, but the more sodium-rich it is, the more likely it’ll trigger those barbs to fire more venom. So hold it in, have-a-go heroes.
2 – Don’t Suck Venom From A Wound Using Your Mouth
Thanks to the prevalence and accessibility of anti-venom, you’d have to be incredibly unlucky to die of a venomous bite from any sort of critter. While waiting for medical help though, you may be tempted to ask a nearby human to suck the venom out of the wound and spit it elsewhere. Again, don’t do this.
Opening up the wound in any way will induce pain, causing the victim’s heart rate to rise, which may increase their absorption of venom into their bloodstream. This action of cutting or sucking will likely damage nerves and blood vessels, as will applying a tourniquet that’s too tight and that’ll cut off blood supply.
Just get yourself to a hospital. The venom’s already in your body.