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5 Confusing Health Habits

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Should you feed a cold and starve a fever?

In both cases, the patient must continue to eat and drink, then drink some more. Make sure you have plenty of water to stay hydrated. This is because your body loses more fluid when combating illness. Special beverages containing electrolytes are important only if you are feeling dehydrated or losing an unnatural amount of fluid due to vomiting or diarrhoea.

Thumb rule; a fever isn’t just a sign that you’re sick, it is a billboard that you’re trying to heal.

An increase of just 1 to 2 degrees in your body temperature boosts the productivity of your immune cells and helps them fight off infection. This means that when you pop a pill to reduce your temperature, you are doing more harm than good.

When you have a fever, your body shivers. The natural response would be to move to a warmer spot like the comfort of your blanket. Do it. Your body isn’t declaring a war on you. Fighting what comes naturally is not going to help the situation.

If a fever persists beyond the regular three days, or if it exceeds 103 degree, it is time to visit the doctor.

What’s the best way to treat back pain?

Again, like with treating cuts, attacking a back pain is dealt with by popping a pain killer and praying for relief, ice and heat treatment, or resting.

Research has shown that popping a pain killer is about as helpful as treating yourself with a sugar pill. Heating your back may provide brief relief, but the evidence that icing works at all is lacking.

There’s only one way to escape the stranglehold on your spine: move. Often, people are scared of movement, but it’s the best recommended way to tackle it. But don’t overdo it. Begin by taking a simple walk around the block, and then gradually up the activity over the next couple of weeks.

Can you drink too much water?

The eight glasses of H2O a day dilemma is one that has grown through a long-winded debate.

Doctors say the eight glasses rule is arbitrary. Depending on your activity level, diet, age, and climate, you may need more or less than that exalted eight anyway. Instead of tracking your fluid consumption, count how many times you visit the urinal. Five is an international average. You can also judge the colour of your stream. If it looks like lemonade or lighter, you’re fine.

Should you brush your teeth after every meal?

Thirty per cent of people are too lazy to brush their teeth once in the morning and once at night and the other 70 per cent are doing it right, according to a study conducted by the American Dental Association in 2010.

Dentists suggest gargling after every meal so that stray pieces of food don’t remain lodged between your teeth. When you do brush, make sure you commit to the act for at least two minutes. Divide your mouth into four sections and spend 30 seconds on each. Some electric toothbrushes come built with a timer so you aren’t biased towards your grinders while ignoring your molars. But don’t get brush happy. If you brush after every meal, or for too long, you could end up eroding the enamel. This is especially relevant if your previous meal included acidic foods.

Not brushing well could leave you open to the risk of gum disease and decay. However, over brushing could also leave you prone to cavities, gum disease and decay.

To bandage or not to bandage?

There are three ways in which most of us handle an open wound; rinse it with water; then bandage, let it breathe until it scabs over and clean it with hydrogen peroxide.

Unfortunately, none of these methods are ideal.

For tough guys who think bandages are for babies, be warned. The battle wound may turn into an ugly scar. Letting a wound scab over instead of keeping it moist is likely to cause inflammation, which extends healing time and can result in unwanted scarring.

Also, while the sting of hydrogen peroxide makes you think it’s working, the stuff is ineffective at stifling bacteria.

Antibiotic ointments are known to cause skin reactions. The surest way is to wash your hands, then flush the cut with water. Next, add a dab of petroleum jelly to keep it moist and cover it with a bandage.

Note: as always, please note that this is all general information and may not apply to every situation. Do consult your doctor for medical advice, especially if you have any medical complications or long term symptoms.

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