The past year and counting was marked by the biggest public health crisis in modern history, and it’s fair to say that healthiness and wellbeing have been at the top of our minds. But in times of anti-vaxxers, covid deniers, and fake news sweeping across the web like a parallel viral storm, we must get our health facts straight.
So when someone asked doctors and medical practitioners “What one medical fact do you wish everybody knew?” on r/AskReddit, the thread blew up and it now serves as a perfect source for things we should all know without exceptions.
From trusting our immune system to following antibiotic treatment, and exercising like it was the most prescribed pill in the world, these are some of the most eye-opening responses from people devoting their lives to treating others.
#1Vaccines are safe and save lives.
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#2if exercise were a pill, it'd be the most prescribed drug in existence
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#3Mental illness can be as serious as a physical one. Get treated. You wouldn't let a broken leg go.
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#4You should not stop an antibiotic treatment because you feel better already.
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#5Keep an eye on your weight. Rapid unintentional weight loss is often a sign something serious is up.
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#6The pregnancy test you get in the ER is no different from the one at the store and equally accurate.
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#7Smoking will kill you.
"Nah... cancer won't get to me" you might say, and you'd be statistically right.
It'll be your heart.
In the simplest of terms, smoking makes your arteries rigid, so as they progressively get filled with fat, instead of increasing their diameter they'll just get stuffed until no more blood can get through and you'll be done.
If you're lucky you'll get some chest pains beforehand but that's not always the case.
"Joke's on you sucka! I got a heart attack and survived, death ain't got shit on me!"
Welcome to the world of chronic heart failure where from now on every day that goes by your heart will be less a pump and more a container, until you get out of breath from just speaking and eventually die. There's no going back.
Please stop smoking.
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#8Viral infections cannot be treated with antibiotics.
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#9Doctors are there to help you, stop lying to them. They have to protect your privacy, so if you're doing drugs - tell them, they have to keep it secret, and it could kill you if you don't.
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#10If your kid has a fever, and you give them Tylenol or Ibuprofen to bring it down, they are STILL. SICK. You're only treating symptoms temporarily, not curing anything.
For the love of everything holy, do not give them Tylenol and send them to school/daycare/sports/birthday parties/etc. to become patient zero and infect everyone else.
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#11STAY AT HOME WITH NOROVIRUS.
Call and ask for advice don't come in and infect a bunch of possibly already ill people
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Most important rule: Know your own history and drugs. Our EMRs are too inefficient to depend on, especially if you've been to many different institutions.
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#13Nurse here. If you're an alcoholic that's admitted to the hospital, don't lie about how much you drink. There are drugs we can give you to take the edge off of withdrawals. It's safer for you and safer for us. We're not judging you, we have safety in mind.
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#14It's significantly more effective to prevent cancer than it is to treat it, but the world isn't interested because most people just want a pill to fix their problems.
Don't smoke. Wear sunscreen. Don't drink excessively. Get a bit of exercise and eat some goddamn vegetables. Do those and bam!, huge drop in cancer risk, but nobody wants to hear it.
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#15Know the signs of a heart attack and stroke and don't "tough it out". These are time sensitive and potentially deadly events.
Paramedic here: super frustrating when I get a patient who didn't call early enough and because of that they can't get life-saving treatment or the damage is already done
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#16RPh here. Do not keep your medicine in your "medicine cabinet" in your bathroom. The steam from a shower and the temperature fluctuations will degrade your medication. Keep them in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight.
Also look through your OTC items in your house and clean out the expired drugs and restock your basics ( ibuprofen, acetaminophen, pepto, eyedrops, etc).
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#17I work in a burn unit.
Don't put accelerants on a camp/bonfire.
Don't go back into a burning house/vehicle/airplane
Don't put accelerants on bonfires. This includes aerosol cans of stuff. Those blow up.
Don't make meth unless you have an advanced degree in the field.
Don't put accelerants on bonfires. Even if it "Just won't light."
Don't let your pot handles hang over the edge of the stove where your kid can reach.
Don't put accelerants on bonfires, even if you've "been doing it for years."
Don't pick up containers of flaming grease and oil.
Don't put accelerants on bonfires. Diesel is an accelerant.
Don't keep electric cigarettes in your pocket.
If you wear oxygen, don't smoke with it on/in your lap.
Don't burn trash. You don't know what the fuck's in there. Probably accelerants.
Stop opening your radiator cap unless the car is cold.
Carburetor injuries are common. I don't know how it happens. Help me out car people.
DON'T. PUT. ACCELERANTS. ON. YOUR. GADDAM. FIRE
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#18Nurse & Midwife here.
I wish people understood that if they are receiving treatment for a condition, they still have that condition.
Case in point: If you're taking medication for something you aren't suddenly free of that disease.
Your blood pressure meds are maintaining a normal blood pressure BECAUSE you have the condition of high blood pressure. Your insulin is maintaining your blood sugars BECAUSE you have diabetes.
Sounds simple but amazing how much people tell us they have no conditions but are on 1000 medications that tell a different story
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#19Your immune system is one of the greatest assets you have and you never thank it. In your life, your body will autonomously eradicate between 6-10 cancers without your realising. It will fight your infections, repair micro traumas and police the entire population of billions of cells in your body without your asking.
All it requests in return is a little bit of health to preserve it. Stop smoking, lose weight. Maybe exercise a little. Don't drink so much. Your diet is so much more important that you realise.
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#20Vaccines are the greatest advancement in modern medicine. They save lives and prevent weeks of lost work each year (flu season). If people started seeing more pertussis (whooping cough) or epiglottitis (part of the throat swells up and can kill children) they'd get their shots, but vaccines have become victims of their own success. Get your shots to protect immunodeficient people that can't get their shots.
tl;dr If you don't get vaccinated and you don't vaccinate your kids then you are an a-hole.
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#21Well, endocrinologist here and I have to let off steam. Last month I lost a 24 year old patient to diabetes. Seriously, people. Visceral fat is f**king serious. Sometimes I see people mocking their "potbelly" as if it's not a big deal, but it is. You have no idea how many silent illnesses you may be developing in your body by not monitoring your weight.
#22I may be alone in this, but I want my patients to know that there is no possible way I can keep up with all the medical advances and new studies that are out there. And I also want them to know that there are thousands of conditions that I learned about in medical school that I've forgotten because I've never seen or recognized them in practice.
This is important, because my patients frequently apologize for looking up things on the internet. No, don't apologize. I want you to research your condition. I want you to look things up. I want you to know about new treatments, new research, and alternative medications. Because often I don't. I may not agree with the things you've read, and that's fine too. Ask me about thinks you've read and the picture you found that looks like your rash. I can't tell you how many times a patient has come to me with a suggestion about a possible explanation for symptoms because they read about it on the internet that turned out to be a correct or at least reasonable guess. Please educate yourselves about yourselves.
Some good websites are the CDC website and AAFP.org (the American Academy of Family Practice). And if your doctor is offended that you're trying to be educated, get a different doctor.
Source: I'm a doctor
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#23Smoking not only causes cancer, but also ateriosclerosis, COPD and multiple other problems you're much more likely to encounter when smoking.
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#24Resident here: There is no singular "cure for cancer". There is not a "big pharma" conspiracy that hinges on keeping said cure a secret.
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#25Clinical Psychologist here... if you need mental health treatment, try your local college campuses. Oftentimes there are training clinics, supervised by some of the best clinicians around. Most will provide a generous sliding fee scale. Treatment works, especially for sleep problems, depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc.
Also- do NOT ignore mental health problems in your children or adolescents- including when you are concerned about substance use. Early intervention works best and if you wait until they are 18, they may not get treatment for another decade because they refuse to go in (until they mature in their late 20's). So if your child or adolescent is showing signs of a mood or anxiety disorder, cutting, struggling with ADHD, and is using drugs regularly (weekly or more) and you are concerned- consider an intake assessment with a licensed psychologist.
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#26Vaccines don't cause autism, nor do they contain elemental aluminum or mercury.
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#27Just because you're not suffering from a mental health disorder, it doesn't mean it's not a real thing.
#28The 10% of your brain thing is a myth. So is most left/right-brained stuff you hear. Stop asking me about it.
#29Australian paramedic intern here. we are not the police and we really honestly don't care about any of the shit, illegal or not, you have done or taken. we just need the full story to make sure that you can get the best targeted treatment. also, we don't mind getting called to old people falling and not being able to get up, especially if they have no family or no way to contact them. for me, that's a medical emergency, because if you stay there you will die and paramedic school taught me that that is bad for you.
#30If you're impaled by something don't pull it out.
#31Physical Therapist here:
Take time to build up your strength and endurance. You didn't get weak overnight and you won't get strong overnight either.
Also with the exception of pregnant women, bed rest doesn't make you stronger or healthier. Quite the opposite. For every day you lay in bed and rest you have to work for three days to recover from the muscle wasting.
#32Don't lie to us. It never works out.
And if your pee is a different colour, don't ignore it, seek help.
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#33Alcohol withdrawal is deadly. Many of my patients don't know this. It's a gamble - I've seen fifth of vodka/day drinkers not withdrawal, and 2-3 beers/day withdrawal. It onsets quickly, and it's deadly. Anyone who drinks almost daily and is deciding to quit cold turkey needs to understand this, and notify family at the bare minimum.
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#34We're never going to find a "cure for cancer." Cancer is not one singular thing. All cancer cells behave differently.
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#35Volunteer SAR-ship crewmember here; when you suspect whoever is lying down is not breathing by themselves, begin CPR immiditially AND DO NOT STOP until medical professional arrives, even if this means that you have to go on for several hours. We do not perform CPR to have the patient miraculously wake up and make out with us, we do this to sustain the most vital bodily function - the circulation of oxygen to the brain - until we can get that person to a hospital.
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#36Doctor here. Don't stop your medications by yourself. Just don't, no matter how good you feel. Patients stop antibiotics and relapse. So many resistant TB cases here. Stop taking insulin and come with DKA. Stop taking anti-hypertensives and get a stroke. Don't stop any drug unless cleared prior with your doctor. Most of the diseases can only be managed, they can't really be cured. If you have diabetes, get sugar levels tested at least once a month. Don't ignore it. Don't mix alcohol and anti-depressants. Also, no matter how bad it is, we have seen worse. Don't be ashamed. Pull out doesn't mean she won't get pregnant. Precum has sperm too. Last, if you see anyone vomiting and loss conscious, turn them to their side. Less chances of it entering lungs.
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#37Not a medical fact, as much as it's just something I wish all patients would do: I'd love it if patients could bring a sheet of paper with all the meds they're on, past medical history, past surgical history, allergies, and family doctor contact info. It's a small thing, but can be so helpful.
#38If you're prescribed a pill for a chronic condition, you'll probably be on that pill for the rest of your life. That's not a bad thing, it's keeping you healthy.
I've seen too many people stop taking their blood pressure or seizure medications because "I was feeling better so I thought I didn't need them any more". No, you were feeling better because you were taking them. Don't stop taking any long term medication without consulting your doctor first.
#39ER nurse here. Got a few of these, but this is my biggest pet peeve.
You can't "cure" your diabetes by ignoring it. And stop eating five extra pieces of cake and just injecting more insulin. That's not how this works.
Also, it doesn't matter if you only drink diet pop. Diet pop is still terrible for you, especially if you're diabetic. Drink some fucking water. Jesus.
#40Not a doctor but something a doctor told me when the incident occurred.
Girls if you get excruciating cramps at the time of your period and it feels much worse then it actually is, go to a doctor.
When I was 13 I had already been confirmed to having a ovarian cyst, and it made it very painful for me during my periods to the point where I had passed out from the pain of it once. However at one point it felt much worse then it typically did and I blew it off as being because of my period.
It turned out my appendix was bursting.
The doctor told me a lot of woman blow off period cramps because doctors tend to do the same. Don't, it almost meant life or death for me.
#41If there was the slightest bit of benefit from that alternative health treatment, mainstream health would be all over it. No-one passes up a profit or the chance to empty out this mega-overcrowded hospital for some kind of philosophical hangup. (Which overcrowded hospital? Every single one in the world bar the private US ones that permanently have beds. Everyone else is struggling, so that's 99% of the world's hospitals).
#42If you want to keep hands/fingers/upper limbs intact:
Do not punch a wall/car door/guy in the face/brick, etc. You will end up with a "boxer's fracture," or a break of your fifth metacarpal bone. Most of the time everyone will know you were drunk when it happened and it's not comfortable or fun.
Do not reach into the chute of a running snow-blower, even if it's stopped because something is stuck in there.
Do not attempt to fix your chain-driven garage door opener by putting your fingers in the track and asking your wife to "hit the button."
Do not reach into an auger at work trying to retrieve your safety glove that just fell in there.
Do not hold onto something at work that winches rope.
If you have a wound on your hand/fingers/arm, and it is oozing something that looks green, yellow, white, or pink, go to the doctor and have it looked at. You may save yourself from an amputation.
Source: I'm an RN at an orthopedic surgery center. All of these things have happened NUMEROUS times. And yes, archaic as it seems, sometimes people have to get fingers or even hands amputated (in this day and age!) because they ignored an infection.
#43Drug allergies and side effects are not the same thing. It makes you look like a crazy person when you have 20 allergies and 19 of the reactions are nausea.
#44ER doc here: medical fact...Emergency means potential loss of life, limb, or eyesight. It does NOT mean inconvenience, irritation, or chronic condition. Your sore throat evaluation in the ED is gonna cost you $1000; go to an urgent care.
#45Doctor here. Keep things out of your ears. Seriously.
And people- don't come to the ER asking for a 'pregnancy blood test' to confirm your three positive urine pregnancy tests
#47TAKE YOUR GODDAMN BLOOD PRESSURE MEDICINE!
Please... I'm so tired of seeing young adults come in with kidney failure because they didn't want to take their meds. Most of it is cheap as dirt. You can get $4 generics at Wal-Mart.
#48Not a doctor and this is a minor thing, but: If you don't have celiac disease, gluten is not bad for you.
More important: Vaccines do not cause autism. They save lives.
#49Influenza is a respiratory illness. Please stop saying you have the flu when you have vomiting/diarrhea. You don't have the flu.
#50If you're sexually active, go for STI testing once or twice a year. HIV can take up to six months to show and it's possible to have an STI with no symptoms
#51Not necessarily a medical fact, but, please carry an up to date list of medications in your wallet, or take a picture of your various pill bottles at home and keep it on your phone. Despite what everyone thinks, everything about you isn't "in the system."
#52Bleeding from the rectum should be taken seriously. Can be fatal if left unattended. Seek medical help ASAP.
#53If you get in an accident as a biker, don't take your helmet off your head under any circumstances. You can unhook the strap if you really need to to not suffocate, but that's it.
(Stop reading here if you're a faint of heart): Many times, your head will break like an egg and the helmet is basically the only thing preventing your skull from being skewered by your cranium shards or spilling out.
#54Pee after sex. Any sex, just do it. All kinds of bacteria get pushed up your ureatha. UTIs suck.
#55NP here. Not every illness is cured by antibiotics. Antibiotics can have nasty side effects, so don't get mad if we tell you that they are not required for your current illness.
#56You don't need some kind of prescription every time you go to the doctor. You don't need antibiotics every time you have a sore throat or cold or cough and you don't need narcotics every time you have pain somewhere. The "I need to get something or I've wasted my time coming here" mentality is one of the main reasons antibiotic resistance and opiate addiction have surged in the last 20 years.
#57In a situation where first aid is required it is better to do something than to be scared and not do anything. You might save someones life.
#58Keep an up-to-date list of all the medication you take, including doses, and bring it with you whenever you are seeking healthcare. If you say that you take two white pills and an orange one, that's so vague as to be useless. Being involved in your own care by making sure to have specific and accurate information is very helpful.
#59Prostrate is to throw yourself onto the ground.
Prostate is the gland that can make it hard to pee. (or give you cancer).
#60Not a doctor, but one year off of the mark. As a training psychologist on an interdisciplinary team, I wish patients knew that community resources often work on income-based, sliding fee scales to meet the client, financially.
Let's be real: mental health coverage is trash right now, but there is an abundance of professionals who acknowledge this and advocate in-house. It is always worth asking around!
#61Avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice if you are taking some kind of medication! About 50% of pharmaceuticals on the market are metabolized at least in part by CYP3A4, which is inhibited by compounds found in grapefruit.
#62Former EMS here.
Don't get angry when that quiet person gets taken out of the ER waiting room before you. You have a headache and are raging and I can't help you, but that person who just got taken back is quiet for a reason.
You're not dying. Death is quiet. I can't tell you how many times I took someone to the ER yelling and kicking and screaming and when we roll up and they get looked at it's often minor.
I've seen people who I had a feeling would not make it. They don't rave like idiots, they lay still and quiet and it's almost eerie.