There is a lot of well-regarded research and science out there when it comes to infections. However, many of us seemingly ignore the facts in favor of old wives’ tales and urban legends we hear from people who don’t exactly have scientific backgrounds. Here are some of the myths you may have heard or believe about getting sick.
#1. Myth: When you have a common cold, you need antibiotics.
Fact: viruses cause colds. Antibiotics treat bacterial infections, hence why you put antibiotic cream on your cuts and scrapes—so bacteria doesn’t get in. Antibiotics won’t have any effect on your cold and in fact, can make illnesses worse, by making bacteria resistant to antibiotics.
#2. Myth: I need antibacterial EVERYTHING.
Fact: Stop spraying everything with hand sanitizer. Like antibiotics, antibacterial products can lead to super-resistant bacteria. Why am I mentioning this twice? It’s because when bacteria become resistant to antibiotics and other treatments, we lose the only treatments we have.
#3. Myth: I feel better, so I’m through with these antibiotics.
Fact: If you’ve been prescribed antibiotics by your doctor, follow their guidelines and take them until you finish the course or until your doctor advises you to stop. You have to take the full course to make sure that you’re cured. There should never be a situation in which you have leftover antibiotics. In addition, it should go without saying that you should never take anyone else’s leftover antibiotics.
#4. Myth: Vaccines make you sick.
Fact: It’s true that some vaccines contain weakened forms of the illnesses they’re to prevent and so, you can get a little sick after vaccination. However, vaccinations overall are completely safe. They have saved countless lives and prevented an uncountable number of infections. For example, the World Health Organization (WHO), estimates that the measles vaccines saved 17.1 million lives since 2000.
#5. Myth: I need to take this cold medicine to cure my cold.
Fact: There is no cure for the common cold, sadly. Over-the-counter cold medications treat symptoms so that they can give you relief. You still need to take care of yourself and remember that you’re contagious.