Common misconceptions about medicine Part 2
This is a continuation of the article I wrote a couple of months ago. You can read the 1st part here.
6. Normal saline (0.9% sodium Chloride) is used to kill germs on our wounds.
Many of my customers like to believe that salt can kill germs. While it is true for the case of preserved foods, normal saline solutions have salt concentrations so low it will be "bathing" the bacteria instead of killing it.
So why use sodium chloride for wound dressing? Well firstly it's because Normal saline is STERILE. This means it is free from any bacteria, viruses or fungi, and would not cause an infection even when used on an open wound.
Secondly, it is ISOTONIC. Isotonic means the "concentration" of normal saline is the same as the fluid inside our cells. This means it won't cause water to go into the our cells, and won't cause our cells to swell.
If we use something like sterile water to wash our wounds, it will cause water to go into our cells and cause it to either swell or burst (lyse). This causes pain on our site of injury. Remember what it feels like to have water going into our noses when we swim? It is because water is hypotonic, and the pain is caused by cells swelling or lysing.
7. Once we start taking Blood Pressure or Cholesterol medication, we will become like drug addicts, because we cannot stop taking this medicine until the day WE DIE.
While it is true that many doctors DO in fact tell their customers that they have to take these medicine for life, the reason behind that statement is NOT because the drugs make you "addicted". High Blood Pressure and High cholesterol are classified under chronic diseases, and almost all the time, it never gets better as we age. Our medication available today can only "suppress" the disease, and not cure it totally. Therefore, the reason doctors say you'll have to take these meds for life is because they don't want their patients to falsely believe that their diseases have been cured after taking the medication. A lot of my customers ask me if they can stop theses medications after they got good results in their blood pressure monitoring and cholesterol results. The answer is you should not stop, but only because you disease will go back to the state before you started treatment, and it is not good for your health. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ADDICTION.
8. Cough syrups that are stronger make us heal faster. The same goes for Flu Medication.
Almost all the time, my customers come in telling me "I want the strongest/best medicine for my cough". The reason behind was that they have been coughing for a long time now, and they want to get better instantly.
What most people need to understand is, that almost ALL cough and flu preparations will be "suppressants" and they DO NOT MAKE YOU GET WELL FASTER. Cough medicine most often work by going up to your brain, and telling your brain to not cough so much. Flu medication, blocks the receptors of histamine, and in turn reduces the production of mucus in your nose. Do they kill any germs/viruses? CERTAINLY NOT.
The infection part of your flu/cough episode is most likely going to be beaten not by medication but your own immune system. If it fails, that's where antibiotics and antivirals come in.
Sometimes, customers are so pushy, or the doctors/pharmacist may be under pressure to make them well instantly, and that's where all the steroid prescriptions come in. Just refer to all the side effects list in the link here (under tablets).
So the next time you have flu, just try to get enough rest, plenty of water, and the right medication to help you get through the episode. Don't go looking for miracles.
9. Antibiotics can heal everything from the common cold to itchy skin.
Antibiotics were considered the revolution of the 80's. Doctors gave it to almost anything that they could think of that is related to infection. Indeed, Antibiotics saved countless lives during its heyday. But we must understand that the only thing antibiotics can do is kill bacteria. And the big problem is now called RESISTANCE.
Resistance to antibiotics means that the more we use antibiotics, the faster the bacteria will learn how to fight it. In fact, the rate of resistance is so much higher than the rate of new antibiotic discoveries. If things don't change, very soon we will be back in the dark ages where people can die from very minor wounds, or even colds.
Another VERY important point to remember is that not all Flu episodes are caused by bacteria. In fact, MOST of our flu episodes are caused by viruses. ANTIBIOTICS DO NOT WORK AGAINST VIRUSES. Therefore, if we take an antibiotic every time we have the flu, we have less than 50% chance of getting better. And at the same time we are accelerating the rate of resistance with each misuse.
As for itchy skin, unless you are infected by skin related bacteria, there is absolutely no reason to be on antibiotics.
10. Panadol soluble is for FLU. It can stop our runny nose once we drink it. I've seen the TV advertisement.
It's NOT. Panadol soluble is just panadol, in a solution form. It is better than normal panadol in terms of speed only. This means it takes away the headache, fever faster than normal Panadol does, but does nothing to stop your itchy and runny nose.