Dr. Marc I. Leavey, Pikesville resident and primary-care physician at Lutherville Personal Physicians, shares his insight on several common health myths. “There are things in the newspaper that trigger these topics,” he says. Other health myths have older roots. “When you’ve done this for this long [35 years] you have heard just about everything.”
You should drink at least eight glasses of water per day.
MYTH: For an average 2000-calorie diet, that works out to two liters of water daily, or a bit more than eight glasses. The overwhelming advice at this time is to drink when you are thirsty. There is no basis, and, in some cases, it may be harmful to overload your system with an arbitrary amount of free water.
Reading from an iPad or Kindle is worse for your eyes than an actual book.
MYTH: Several studies have failed to demonstrate any significant difference in eye strain or discomfort among the various e-readers on the market. Taking a break from long reading, looking off into the distance, ensuring a comfortable posture with appropriate lighting, and optimizing the text-to-eye distance can all minimize eye strain.
If you burn yourself, run warm water on it.
MYTH: While warm water would almost certainly be relatively cooler than the burn, using cool water is the current recommendation by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention——not cold water, which could produce frostbite, but cool water on a first- or second-degree burn will limit the extent of the injury and help with pain at the site, as well.
Birth control doesn’t work when you are on antibiotics.
FACT: Although the effect may be minimal, antibiotics can interfere with the metabolism of the hormone chain necessary for effective contraception. It would certainly be prudent to add a second layer of contraception during the month that antibiotics were being taken, and during the following month, as well.
Drinking warm milk will help you go to sleep.
MAYBE: One theory is that milk is high in the amino acid tryptophan, a substance that induces sleep, but the absorption of tryptophan into the brain is inhibited by other amino acids in milk and its high protein content. The soothing effect of the beverage may well be the primary mode of its ability to relieve insomnia.
What You Need:
Use these tips to help with health concerns
Tick Tock: Setting an alarm to take your birth control at the same time every day helps to reduce missed pills.
Night Light: Using a reading light will help with eye strain while diving into your newest novel.
Skin Care: The skin of a first- or second-degree burn should be left dry and clean, and ointment free.
›› Do you have a question you want answered? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will select various questions to feature in an upcoming issue.