Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tea Time

The NY Times has a regular section that aims to debunk common health-related myths. This week, they take on the claim: Can Hot Liquids Can Ease Symptoms of a Cold or Flu? Unfortunately, there isn't a lot of research examining these effects. However, the research that is out there supports hot liquids over room temperature or cold ones. (See the study referenced here and I searched for any meta-analysis studies and could only find this one study.)

Of course, there are still lots of questions out there regarding how much liquid you should drink, does caffeine affect these results, is there an ideal beverage to drink over others, etc?

So the next time you have a cold or the flu, consider consuming hot liquids over cold ones. Your nasal passages and respiratory tract will thank you for it. Also should you need to visit your health care provider, be sure to tell them all of the self-care steps you are taking to ease the symptoms. They will thank you for it too!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Free Antibiotics...Uh Oh.

There are a few pharmacy chains currently running free antibiotic promotions. I really question if that is the right message to health consumers. I have blogged about the dangers of over prescribing antibiotics and resistance here and here. Most of the free antibiotics include penicillins and the like. It is worthy to note that these prescriptions normally cost no more than $10 for a standard course.

I can imagine that this will make it harder for the prescribing clinician. While it is wonderful to practice in a cost-efficient way while being cognizant of the costs placed on patients, I wonder if this sends a message that it's OK to take antibiotics (because they are free) for conditions that clearly don't warrant them.

What do you think? Do you have patients asking for antibiotics now because of these promotions?