Poisonous poinsettias and other holiday myths - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Poisonous poinsettias and other holiday myths

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — Along with the Christmas tree, and holiday lights, there are the traditional holiday myths.  

Are poinsettias really poisonous?  

Does cold weather make you sick?  

A doctor from Indiana University, who has studied holiday health myths, is setting the record straight. 

Though we don't have snow in San Diego, it can get quite chilly, but listen up parents, doctors say you can stop nagging your kids to bundle up.   

"The truth is, it's not walking around in cold weather making you sick, it's viruses making you sick," said Dr. Rachel Vreeman. "Even if you go out without a hat on, or not wearing quite enough clothes, or your hair is wet. You're still not any more likely to get sick."  

If you thought, those pretty poinsettias are poisonous for people and pets that might accidentally ingest a petal, Vreeman says, don't worry.  

"Interestingly enough, and I say this both as a pediatrician and someone who's looked at all of the research, poinsettias are not really much of a risk," said Vreeman.  

You may have heard the holiday season leads to a spike in suicide rates but that too, isn't true.  

"As it turns out, suicides are not any more common around the holidays than at other times," said Vreeman. "In fact, in studies from around the world, and including the U.S., they're actually somewhat less common right around the holidays."  

For your hangover cure: forget the hair of the dog - an old folk remedy of drinking more, to make you feel better.  

"Unfortunately, that's not really curing your hangover at all," said Vreeman. "It might help you feel better because, in fact, it's intoxicating you again." 

And if you're worried about gaining weight during the holidays: studies show the average gain is only two pounds. So go ahead and indulge, as long as you balance it out with good control the rest of the year. 

"How much you're eating over the course of the entire year is what's going to determine whether you're really gaining weight or not," said Vreeman.  

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