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Five-second rule?

Is the 5 second rule really safe? Can you get piles from sitting on a cold surface? Guess which of these common health beliefs is true or false…

1
toast
If you drop food on the floor and pick it up within five seconds, it’s OK to eat
Answer : FALSE

Bacteria acts fast! Moist food (such as pasta) attracts more bacteria than dry food. The type of surface it lands on and what’s lurking there are also factors – bacteria are less likely to transfer from carpet than laminated floor. But there’s really no ‘safe’ time frame. That cake you dropped? Best to bin it (sorry).

2
telly
Sitting too close to the TV will ruin your sight
Answer : FALSE

This is a myth! You don’t even get ‘square eyes’ (like your Mum might have told you!). It could lead to tired peepers or perhaps a mild headache, but no permanent damage. Take regular breaks and use the ‘20-20-20’ rule – every 20 minutes, adjust your vision to look at an object at least 20ft away, for at least 20 seconds.

3
toothbrush
If you keep your toothbrush in the bathroom, it may get, err, poo on it…
Answer : TRUE

It’s True! (*gags*). One US study found 60% of toothbrushes collected from shared student bathrooms had faecal matter on them (flushing the toilet without shutting the lid could be to blame). So, store your brush away from the loo, wash it before and after use, and store it upright (so it can dry out). And try the Steripod Clip-On Toothbrush Protector, £5/500 points (2-pack).

4
bench
Sitting on cold surfaces causes piles (aka aka haemorrhoids – swellings containing enlarged blood vessels in or around the bottom)
Answer : TRUE

Main causes include straining on the toilet – which puts pressure on the blood vessels – and sitting on the loo for longer than necessary (it relaxes the anus and veins fill with blood, which also causes pressure). Got piles? Consider Preparation H Ointment, £3.95/ 395 points (25g; for 12+ years; always read the label), which helps reduce swelling and relieve itching, or speak to your pharmacist.

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