13 Habits We Mistakenly Considered Harmless
Everyone knows that going to bed late and eating too much is unhealthy. But sometimes even the most harmless habits can present danger to our health. Did you know you could end up in the hospital if you stifle your sneeze? Or that chewing gum can make you feel less focused?
Bright Side has compiled a list of habits that seem harmless but actually pose great danger to our health.
1. Stifling a sneeze
What suffers: the respiratory system, blood vessels, and brain, and in the worst-case scenario, the esophagus.
The main function of sneezing is to get rid of bacteria, viruses, and dust particles. When you stifle your sneeze, you don’t let the body remove these things. But that’s not all. Imagine what can happen if you try to shoot and close the barrel. The same happens inside your nose — the entire power of the sneeze goes back and can hurt your hearing, increase blood pressure, and even damage your esophagus.
2. Using toothpicks
What suffers: the gums.
Dentists don’t like toothpicks. They are quite harmless to the enamel but the gums are in danger. And it is almost impossible to clean your mouth with a toothpick. In order to keep your mouth clean, use dental floss (but you should learn how to do it correctly first).
3. Sleeping on the pillow face down
What suffers: your breathing, blood circulation, spinal cord, and facial skin.
It’s comfortable but harmful to sleep on your pillow face down. In this position, breathing is hard, the neck is in an unnatural position, blood circulation becomes worse, and the neck vertebrae are in danger. Besides, doctors warn that the wrinkles you might have after sleeping in this position will soon become constant — they won’t ever disappear!
4. Shelling seeds with your teeth
What suffers: the teeth and gallbladder.
Sunflower seeds are tasty and useful. But they should be shelled with the hands and never with your teeth. Dentists always recognize experienced seed eaters by very specific tooth damage. People who have gallbladder problems shouldn’t eat them at all, and their caloric value is more than 500 kcal in 100 grams.
5. Chewing on something solid
What suffers: the teeth, gums, and mouth.
People who love chewing on pens, pencils, paperclips, and other solid objects usually have huge enamel problems. This is also why you shouldn’t try to open bottles, chew nuts, ice cubes, and lollipops. More than that, you can get an infection if you do this.
6. Postponing going to the bathroom
What suffers: the kidneys, urinary system, and intestine.
In June 2018, a young gamer from Great Britain was hospitalized after he spent 8 hours playing a game without taking any pauses. His intestines and bladder were so bloated that doctors thought he had a cancer tumor. All doctors agree: you shouldn’t keep it in because if you do, you might injure your muscles which can lead to having a urinary tract infection and constipation.
7. Washing your hair with hot water
What suffers: the brain vessels and scalp.
If you love taking a shower in very hot water, it’s high time you stopped doing so. Firstly, it can cause a really bad headache and dizziness. And secondly, hot water stimulates the function of the sebaceous glands on the scalp which make the hair really dirty.
8. Touching your face and rubbing your eyes
What suffers: the skin and eyes.
If you touch your face with your hands often, you can get a whole catalog of different infections like acne, herpes and many more. If you rub your eyes, you can get conjunctivitis which is a really unpleasant infectious disease that involves inflammation, tearing, burning, and light sensitivity.
9. Chewing bubble gum often
What suffers: the stomach, teeth, and short-term memory.
There are several consequences of chewing bubble gum too often.
- The chewing process stimulates the production of gastric juice. So, don’t chew gum before eating. This can lead to gastritis and even an ulcer.
- Chewing gum is also harmful to your teeth. As the saliva production increases, it can eat right through the teeth and dental fillings.
- Chewing gum also impacts the memory. It improves memorization and it helps to concentrate on tasks that require long observation. But it impairs the short-term memory, making you less focused.
10. Reading while lying in bed
What suffers: the eyes, spinal cord, and neck skin.
When reading in bed, follow these rules:
- Don’t keep the book too close to your eyes.
- Don’t curve your back and don’t strain your neck.
- Don’t read lying on your side — the distance to the book will constantly change and your eyes will have to do more work.
- Don’t read lying on your belly — you can damage your spinal cord this way.
As you can see, it can be quite hard to follow all these rules. But remember, most of these kinds of positions can lead to the development of deep horizontal wrinkles on the neck.
11. Licking small wounds and blowing on them
What suffers: the healing process.
What is the first thing you want to do when you cut your finger? Blow on it or lick it? Scientists from Harvard University calculated more than 600 species of microorganisms that live in people’s mouths. Among all these organisms, there are always staphylococci and streptococci. Coagulated blood on the wound is a perfect place for them to live. You should apply special medicine to the wound, otherwise, it will take much longer for it to heal.
What suffers: the vocal cords and larynx.
The research conducted by scientist and ex-vocalist Robert Sataloff showed that most people strain their vocal cords when whispering. This increases the chances of having micro injuries of the larynx. This is especially dangerous for people who have to talk a lot.
13. Using a phone while in the bathroom
What suffers: the anus and overall hygiene.
It’s not only about phones — the same rule goes for newspapers and books. This is because sitting on the toilet for more than 5 minutes increases the pressure in your veins. And the reason why cell phones are especially bad is because we don’t leave them in the bathroom when we’re done. Instead, we take them with us which helps to spread bacteria.
Bonus: Using a cotton swab for nose hygiene
Even though many experts don’t recommend sticking anything into your nose, there are some cases when using a cotton swab is better than using a finger or a solution.
- If you’ve had a rhinoplasty, clearing the mucus out of your nose is only possible with a cotton swab because if you blow your nose, you might cause bleeding, or worse, some damage that will require your surgeon to do all the work again.
- When you need to wash your nose with a solution, you don’t want it to go too deep. In this case, just soak a cotton swab in the solution and cover the inside of your nostrils with it.
Be careful: sticking a cotton swab too far up your nose can result in an injury, so whenever you can, leave this work to a professional.
What harmful habits are you trying to fight? Tell us in the comment section below.
Illustrated by Leisan Gabidullina for BrightSide.me