Boy, there a lot of medical myths. Here a couple more from the “Myth Buster:”
Don’t drink the tap water; it is full of fluoride that will poison you.
In fact, today, in this country, if you drink tap water in almost every city it will contain fluoride, which is added to the water supply to help save your teeth. It does help. And it will not poison you.
A community’s water supply is tested and approved (unless there is a problem) for human use. If moving to a new area, there is nothing wrong with asking about approval of the water. If it is not, then you have a problem and should use the information accordingly.
Interestingly, water available in various communities may taste differently. Some cities are so proud of how their water tastes they make a big deal about how delicious it is.
In New York City, they claim their bagels taste so much better than any other bagels in the world because of the water used in the recipe. They do make the best bagels (my opinion), so they may be right.
Here is another one. If you take a flu shot, you will get the flu.
Wrong again. The flu disease is transmitted from one person to another. The flu virus is part of coughing, sneezing and maybe kissing. In these cases, it is the live flu organism that does the dirty deed.
Now, the flu vaccine does not contain live flu virus. So, while the needle may be a tiny bit uncomfortable, if it is administered by someone who knows how to do it, it will not harm you in any way.
Flu vaccine also comes in the form of a nasal spray. This is not suitable for everyone, but if you are one of the people who can take it this way, you can avoid the dreaded needle.
Either way, if you do get the flu after a flu immunization, it is not from the immunization. Since it takes some time for the immunization to work, and if you are infected with flu from someone else before that, you could get sick. If the particular flu virus is a variety that is not protected by the immunization, you may get the flu even after the shot.
It turns out that flu viruses are quite innovative in their ability to mutate to a different variety when they realize that we have developed a vaccine that will kill them.
Each year, our flu experts try to predict what strains of flu virus will attack us. The manufactures of the flu vaccines then develop the particular vaccine for those strains. Since it takes time to make the right vaccine, accurate prediction must occur early.
Come to think about it, it is a little like prediction of the weather — and you know about that. But, in both cases, they usually get it right and until a universal vaccine for all possible flu viruses is developed, we will be at risk if they get it wrong.
I will bet on them getting it right more often than getting it wrong. You should also.
Finally, last week we talked about burns. A reader mentioned to me that I might not have made it clear about visiting your health care provider if blisters appear.
The answer to that concern is “yes.” If and when blisters appear on the burn site, you need to see your provider.