Service of Old Wives Wisdom

June 8th, 2020

Categories: Fear, Health, Old Wives Tales

Most cultures pass on old wives’ wisdom for generations.

I asked Google about the lore surrounding the curative powers of chicken soup: “Chicken soup appears to help fight colds, according to several studies. It helps clear nasal congestion as well as thin mucus so you can better cough it up. In addition, research shows it may have a mild anti-inflammatory effect than can help ease symptoms.”

So what I read on didn’t surprise given the source of the legend: “CDC: Americans desperate to kill coronavirus are dangerously mixing cleaners, bleaching food.”

Adrianna Rodriguez wrote: “Don’t wash your food with bleach. Don’t eat or drink cleaning products. These lifesaving warnings may seem like common sense, but a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests Americans are throwing common sense out the window as they attempt to keep the coronavirus out of their homes.

“In a survey published Friday, 39% of 502 respondents reported engaging in ‘non-recommend, [sic] high-risk practices,’ including using bleach on food, applying household cleaning or disinfectant products to their skin and inhaling or ingesting such products.”

Rodriguez continued: “One caller even asked how she was supposed to drink a cleaning product after President Donald Trump made a comment about drinking disinfectant, which triggered several states to issue a warning against dangerous disinfectant use.”

The president made the suggestion on April 23.

Rodriguez added: “The National Poison Data System noted the following increases in call volumes between March 2019 and March 2020, and between April 2019 and April 2020:

  • A nearly 60% increase in calls about bleach products in March and a 77% increase in April.
  • A 94% increase in calls about disinfectants in March and a 122% increase in April.”

According to Rodriquez, Michele Caliva, administrative director of the Upstate New York Poison Center shared simple tips: “Follow directions; don’t mix chemicals; don’t use cleaners or disinfectants on the body; don’t ingest them; be vigilant in keeping such products and hand sanitizers away from children; and don’t spray bags or packages containing food.”

How has a daily apple panned out for you? Raw steak on a black eye? Did cleaning windows with newspaper ever  work? [Not for me.] Does anyone still wait an hour before swimming after eating? Do you know anyone tempted to ingest disinfectant based on the suggestion of the leader of the free world?

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13 Responses to “Service of Old Wives Wisdom”

  1. Hank Goldman Said:

    Newspaper and Windex for glass cleaning Can’t be beat. NOT fake!!

    Internal cleaning products? A Huge No-No!!!!! Obviously !!!

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I swear I tried newspaper and Windex and it never worked for me! I tried it over and over at different times and places. I ended up with a smeary mess.

    When I lived in Turkey–the US Air Force was stationed on a Turkish air base–we were advised to soak vegetables and fruit such as salad or berries in a kitchen sink filled with water and a cap full of Clorox as a precaution because in the day some local farms used night soil as fertilizer. I think of that these days.

  3. Martha Takayama Said:

    The statements of a pathological lying sociopath seem to have caused many Americans to engage in high risk or suicidal behavior. I don’t think any of his recommendations are worthy of even being considered on a par with old wives tales. They do unfortunately do seem to have caused very dangerous and self-destructive behavior by many desperate, naive or ill-informed Americans. We are in the midst of an era of unrelieved anxiety due to the Covids-19 pandemic and in a country which simultaneously has lost its social and political compass and guidance.

    I still believe that chicken soup is soothing and probably helpful to ordinary ailments. I have no special experience with anything else except inhaling hot water preferably laced with Vick’s Vapo-rub in a large bowl or pan with a towel over my head for colds, sore throats, and other everyday respiratory ailments.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I suspect that some of those who drank the disinfectant Kool-Aid are the same ones who won’t wear a mask or maintain social distance–a double whammy. There’s something about a man who maintains loyal followers no matter what. There are countless people whose transgressions propel them to a history trash heap. Whatever his secret you have to give him that. Unfortunately those who don’t get his charm feel that they are in potential danger as he’s never had his eye on the ball of his job which is to represent and protect us all.

  5. Helen Rabinovitz Said:

    Do you remember “ step on a crack you’ll break your mother’s back?” Or “Find a penny pick it up and all the day you’ll have good luck?” I was very careful as a child not to step on cracks in the sidewalk because I adored my mom. Happy to report she was always fine when I got home! The only good luck I had after picking up a penny in the market parking lot was that no ran me over because they didn’t see me bending over the penny. I also heard that if a bird pooped on you it was good luck. Everyone is welcome to visit and Georgie my parrot will happily poop on you! We all wish these things were true. Humans by nature are easily influenced. We like to think if we knock on wood good things will happen. Anyone who actually believed what president Dump said deserves the consequences. If you’ll excuse me now I’m going to go knock on some wood hoping that are no bills in the mailbox. STAY SAFE….

  6. Lucrezia Said:

    Swallowing known poisons bears no relation to old wives tales, folk wisdom or any other activity rumored to have a beneficial outcome. Sure I buy the idea that Clorox will steal from the virus. Take enough of it, and die. Voila! No more virus!

    Most politicians are charming, bright and fun to be with, regardless of specific views. They may even be crooks — but lovable ones. That one of them should go so far as to recommend a procedure that threatens serious harm, and possibly death to constituents, is a cause for concern, not laughter. It may also be presented as a reason for removal from office.

  7. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I do remember about cracks and not breaking my mother’s back though I didn’t take that one literally. I still pick up pennies!*** The other day, I found a $20 bill and once I found $50 on the floor of Grand Central Station! Any money is lucky I think. ***I wear gloves now that are clumsy so I don’t try to pick up coins lately truth be told.

    I knock on wood not so much for good luck but as an anti-jinx! So for example if someone asked “How’s the work coming on the house?” you might answer “ahead of schedule,” and run to find some wood to knock while saying it.

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Swallowing disinfectant to keep the virus at bay has taken on the aura of an old wives tale for the 38 percent who worship the president.

    Nobody laughs at the fallout from any old thing that pops out of the mouth of a person who holds a job that was previously and traditionally respected. Tragic is what it is along with dangerous as you point out.

  9. Debbie Kunen Said:

    Debbie on Facebook: no stories to relate tho I remember the waiting to swim after eating and putting steak on a black eye LOL!

  10. Jeanne Byington Said:


    A summer visit to Jones Beach was a favorite treat of mine and I remember my mother making me wait after lunch before playing in the water. Overnight summer camp schedule kept kids out of the water after lunch. We’d swim in the morning and after lunch there was a rest period at which we’d write letters or read and then an afternoon swim option among other activities–dance or sailing or silver craft.

  11. Erica Martell Said:

    Erica wrote on Facebook: After “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, sales of Windex (used as panacea) skyrocketed. My Mother always tells me lots of Vit. C to ward off a cold.

  12. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I loved that movie and the aunt who squirted everything with Windex. And Vitamin C is legendary–can’t hurt!

  13. Amanda Ripanykhazova Said:

    As I have commented elsewhere, it’s all in Darwinian Selection. Anyone dumb enough to listen to that imbecile telling people to inject themselves with detergent deserves to have their genes removed from the pool. Preferably before the next election.

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