Medical Misconception: Storing Medications

Each month we set the facts straight regarding a popular health and wellness myth.

This month’s misconception: The bathroom medicine cabinet is the best place to store medications.

It seems like a good idea – having your medications all in one place within easy reach. Many bathrooms feature a mirrored chest attached to the wall commonly known as a medicine cabinet, so this seems like the natural place to store your medications. But, while it’s convenient, this spot may be one of the worst places to store your prescriptions.

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Medical Misconception: Stomach Ulcers

Each month we set the facts straight regarding a popular health and wellness myth.

This month’s misconception: Stomach ulcers are caused by stress and spicy food.

There it is again – that burning feeling in your stomach. Sometimes it comes when you haven’t eaten, or it keeps you up late at night. It can last for a few minutes or a few hours, sometimes for days, sometimes for months.

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Medical Misconception: Poisonous Poinsettias

Each month we set the facts straight regarding a popular health and wellness myth.

This month’s misconception: Poinsettias are poisonous.

Holiday decorations play a big part in what makes this time of year so special, and poinsettias are often one of the staples of the season. For years, we’ve been told that poinsettias are poisonous to people and pets … but is that really the case?

In a word: No.

In an interview with the United States Department of Agriculture, Kansas State University Extension Horticulture Expert Ward Upham explained that the plant is not poisonous to children or pets. He said research has shown that a 50-pound child would have to eat 500 to 600 leaves to feel any discomfort.

In 1975, the Consumer Product Safety Commission denied the request to put warning labels on poinsettias and mistletoe sprigs identifying them as poisonous. According to the commission’s website, “The Commission’s review of the technical literature dealing with the toxicity of these plants did not disclose a degree of risk that would warrant its taking regulatory action.”

However, the commission explained that the denial of the petition should not be “…construed as endorsement of the complete safety of these plants,” and recommended keeping them away from small children.

So decorate with poinsettias to your heart’s content this season!

Medical Misconception: Poison Ivy

Each month we set the facts straight regarding a popular health and wellness myth.

This month’s misconception: How poison ivy is spread

For many of us, summer finds us enjoying the outdoors more. Maybe you went hiking in the woods or did some yard work, and a few hours or days later, you have an itchy rash and blisters. It looks like you’ve had a brush with poison ivy.

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Medical Misconception: Sun & Tanning Myths

Each month, we set the facts straight regarding common health and wellness myths.

This month’s misconception: Sun & Tanning Myths

To take advantage of the summer sunshine, many of us spend time outside whether on vacation or in our backyards. While “fun in the sun” is part of the season, two of the biggest summertime medical misconceptions have to do with sun exposure – skipping sun protection on a cloudy day and not wearing sunscreen depending on how well you tan.

On a cloudy or overcast day, many are tempted to skip the sunscreen — after all, the sun isn’t shining, so it can’t do any damage, right?

That’s not the case. Ultraviolet (UV) rays are the ones that can damage your skin; being overexposed to them can put you at a great risk of skin damage and cancer. Unfortunately, those rays are still present even when it’s a cloudy day, according to the American Cancer Society. Some clouds might block UV rays one day, but other clouds might reflect and increase the UV rays another. To make sure you are protected no matter what, it’s imperative that you protect your skin.

Some individuals’ don’t burn when exposed to the sun — do they have to wear sunscreen, too?

Yes. Anyone’s skin is vulnerable to UV ray damage, even if he or she doesn’t sunburn, according to the American Cancer Society. Bottom line: ultraviolet exposure can increase a person’s risk of skin cancer.

Protect Yourself

You can do a number of things to protect your skin from the sun:

  • First, don’t go out in the sun when its rays are strongest — between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The American Cancer Society recommends the shadow test as a quick way to determine the strength of the sun: if your shadow is shorter than you, the sun’s rays are the strongest.
  • Wear clothing to cover your skin from ultraviolet rays. Remember, though, if you’re able to see through the clothing UV rays can pass through it, too.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses that provide UV protection.
  • Wear sunscreen. Follow the label directions and reapply accordingly. About one ounce of sunscreen should be used to cover the arms, legs, neck and face of an adult. Learn about SPF in sunscreen

By taking some precautions, you can enjoy outdoor time in cloudy or sunny summer weather.

Do base tans prevent sunburn? Read more tanning myths.