common health myths

Five Common Health Myths Debunked

Health myths can be particularly difficult to stamp out. When you’re raised with a false bit of wisdom that came from a well-meaning authority figure, it can seem like gospel. 
You may have held that belief for many years, carefully followed the advice, and shared it with other people along the way. After all that, it can be hard to let go.
So try to keep an open mind as you read through this list of five common health myths.

Eating Carrots Will Improve Your Eyesight

This health myth has a grain of truth to it, as carrots are rich in beta carotene. That’s an antioxidant that your body converts into vitamin A—which is essential in maintaining your vision.

However, the chances are very high that you already get enough vitamin A in your diet. So eating more carrots won’t improve your vision.

It’s true that research has shown that beta carotene can help people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). But that research involved high-dose beta carotene formulas, not the lower amounts you’ll get from eating carrots.

Interestingly, this myth was popularized by the British Royal Air Force during World War II. In an effort to conceal their new radar technology, the RAF started a rumour to explain how its pilots were so successful at spotting enemy planes at night. The rumour was that British pilots ate lots of carrots.

Cracking Your Knuckles Causes Arthritis

When you crack a joint, what you’re really doing is slightly pulling the joint apart, which decreases the pressure in the fluid that lubricates the joint.

This pressure change allows bubbles to form and causes them to rapidly fluctuate. It’s this fluctuation that’s responsible for that satisfying cracking sound.

So, can these bubbles cause arthritis? There’s no reason to think so. A study from 2011 tried to find if there was any link between knuckle cracking and osteoarthritis and showed there was no connection.

You Can Catch a Cold From Being Cold

At some point, someone has probably told you to dress warmly or “bundle up” before heading out in cold weather, or else you’ll catch a cold. This piece of advice has been drilled into many of us so often that it could be easy to forget that the cause for the common cold is viruses, not chilly temperatures.

It’s true that some viruses spread more easily during the winter months, but the reasons for that might not be what you expect.

A common theory is that exposure to cold temperatures may temporarily weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to cold viruses. There is some research that supports this theory, but it is not yet conclusive.

But one way you’re more likely to catch a cold during the winter is spending more time indoors. By spending more time in close quarters with other people, you make it easier for viruses to spread.

In addition, your immune system can be weakened by lack of vitamin D due to reduced sun exposure. So getting outside in the cold might not be such a bad idea!

You Should Drink Eight Glasses of Water a Day

You’ve probably heard that you should be drinking eight glasses of water a day to stay healthy. This often-repeated tip has been the popular opinion for decades. Eight glasses of water equals about 2 litres, which matches up with the most current recommendations from health researchers.

However, this recommendation doesn’t take into account the water you already get from other sources. For instance, other drinks will help you reach your recommended water intake. And besides the water you get from drinks, about 20 percent of the average person’s water intake comes from foods.

So don’t fret if you’re not drinking eight glasses of water a day. Just drink when you’re feeling thirsty and make sure you properly hydrate if you are very active or in a hot environment.

Microwave Ovens Can Cause Cancer

Part of this myth stems from people’s misunderstanding of radiation. You may know that certain types of radiation (such as x-rays from an x-ray machine, gamma rays from a nuclear explosion, or UV radiation from the sun) can harm your DNA and increase your cancer risks.

However, the radiation used in a microwave oven is very different. Similar to radio waves, microwave radiation is so low energy that it can’t harm your DNA. Besides that, microwave ovens are designed so that the radiation can’t escape. 

Some people also mistakenly believe that microwave cooking can adversely affect the food, or even make it radioactive. But once you understand how microwave ovens work you’ll see that there’s nothing to worry about. 

Microwave ovens produce microwaves that cause the water molecules in food to vibrate. This vibration produces heat, which is what cooks the food. So microwave ovens do not make any changes to the food that isn’t made by any other cooking method that involves heat.

boost your immune system

Boost your immune system with these superfoods

There’s some wisdom in the old cliche that says “you are what you eat”. The foods you put into your body are what supplies it with the energy and vitamins it needs to work properly.

There are some foods that are so beneficial to your health that they become known as “superfoods”. If you’re not including them in your diet, you’re really missing out. 

These foods are packed with so many nutrients they can help you improve the way your body works, such as by boosting your immune system. 

Here is a list of great superfoods that do just that. And best of all, they are all foods that taste so good it will never feel like a chore to fit them into your diet!

Red bell peppers

When you think of sources for vitamin C, citrus fruits probably come to mind. But believe it or not, red bell peppers contain about twice as much vitamin C as citrus fruits.


Papaya offers a number of benefits including B vitamins, folate, potassium, and a digestive enzyme that has anti-inflammatory effects. And as if that weren’t enough, a single papaya contains more than double the daily recommended amount of vitamin C.


Garlic has a long history of being used for health purposes. Early civilizations including the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all understood that garlic has some special healing properties. Today, it is used in supplements for a variety of purposes including treating high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Some research suggests that the sulphur compounds found in garlic can boost the immune system.


Blueberries have a type of flavonoid called anthocyanin, which has antioxidant properties that can boost your immune system. 

Research has shown that flavonoids play a key role in the immune defence system of the respiratory tract, and that people who eat foods rich in flavonoids are less likely to catch a cold.

Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate contains an antioxidant called theobromine that can help boost the immune system. Theobromine’s benefits come from its ability to protect your cells from free radicals.

Free radicals are molecules that your body produces when it breaks down food or comes into contact with pollutants. These molecules can damage the body’s cells and may contribute to disease.


Ginger has antibacterial properties and can help support your immune system, but its benefits don’t stop there. You may know that it’s an effective remedy for an upset stomach. It is also a natural blood thinner and contains an anti-inflammatory compound called gingerol that can help relax blood vessels.


Almonds contain vitamin E which is essential to a healthy immune system. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means in order for it to be properly absorbed into your body, it needs the presence of fat. Luckily, almonds also contain healthy fats!


Yogurt can benefit your immune system in several ways. Firstly, it contains vitamin D, which helps support and regulate the immune system. But it can also offer beneficial bacterial cultures that stimulate the immune system. When choosing your yogurt, look for ones that say “live and active cultures” on the label.

Get Some Help

If you’re looking for more guidance on healthy eating habits, consider getting help from a nutritionist or your local PharmacyGO pharmacist. They can help you create a diet plan that suits you. That includes finding choices that fit your lifestyle and preferences, as well as focusing on the diet changes that will provide you with the greatest benefits.

guy remembering to take medication

Remember to take your medication with these tricks

Do you have trouble remembering to take your medication? If so, you’re not the only one. Some research shows that 80 percent of patients occasionally forget to take their meds.

If you have several medications, keeping track of them all can get complicated. And if you miss a dose or can’t remember whether you took it or not, you might be left wondering what to do. Should you take the missed dose once you remember it, or wait for the next one?

Well, these tips will help. Here are some simple tricks that will help you remember to take your medications—and know what to do if you ever miss a dose. 

Weekly Pill Boxes

Weekly pill boxes that have a separate compartment for each day can be a big help when it comes to keeping track of your meds. There are also pill organizers with enough compartments to store all your meds for the month or organize your doses by the time of day.

So if you ever find yourself second-guessing whether you’ve remembered to take a pill, this simple solution can help.

Leave it Out

An easy way for remembering to take your medication is to leave your pill container somewhere you will see it. That could be the bathroom counter, on a nightstand next to your bed, or anywhere else you’ll look every day without fail. 

Reminder Apps

If you are one of the many people who treat your phone as an extension of your body, a medication tracking app may be the best solution for you. There are a variety of free apps available, and they make it easy to set up your medication schedule and get pill reminders when it’s time to take a dose.

These apps also let you set an alarm to let you know when a prescription is running low and it’s time to get a refill.

Make it Routine

Making medications part of your daily routine can take the effort out of remembering. So try to take your pills at the same time as a routine activity like brushing your teeth, or clearing the table after dinner.

By associating your medications with those things you know you do every day, taking your medications will become second nature.

Get Help

If you find yourself struggling with a complicated medication schedule, you should bring it up with your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to help simplify your medication regimen. 

That may include prescribing different forms of your medications that don’t require as frequent a dose, or reducing the number of different medications you take.

What to Do if You Forget to Take a Medication

The recommendations for what to do after you forget a dose depends on several factors. That includes the type of medication and the severity of your condition. 

For example, some drugs have a longer half-life than others (meaning they stay in the body longer), so the odd missed dose is not a problem and you can just return to your normal schedule once you remember. The longer half-life also means that trying to make up for a missed dose is not a good idea, as it may cause an increase in side effects or other issues.

On the other hand, some health conditions require consistent doses of medications, and so it’s recommended to take the missed dose as soon as its remembered, unless your next dose is less than two hours away.

So speak to your pharmacist or doctor about the specific recommendations for your medications.

PharmacyGo Can Help

At PharmacyGo, our convenient services can keep you stay on top of all your medications. For example, our online prescription refills and free delivery service make it easy to avoid running out of a prescription.

And if you need advice on what to do if you miss a dose, try our Virtual Health Service to get help at the push of a button.


Is Your Diet Making Your Medications Dangerous?

You’ve probably heard warnings about drug-food interactions such as how grapefruit can interact with prescription drugs. You may have seen it written on a pill bottle, or been told by a well-meaning friend as you were about to dig into a nice juicy grapefruit.

For many people, that’s where the awareness ends. They just have a vague idea that grapefruit and prescriptions don’t mix. But that leaves a lot of questions unanswered.

  • How does grapefruit affect drugs?
  • Does it intensify their effects or reduce them? 
  • Is it dangerous? 
  • Are there other drug-food interactions you should know about?

We’re going to answer these questions. Once you know more about how foods can affect the prescription drugs you take, you can be confident that your medications are doing their job properly.

Before we start, here’s an important reminder: whenever you’re in doubt, talk to your doctor or pharmacist!

How Grapefruit Affects Drugs

Believe it or not, one glass of grapefruit juice or a single grapefruit is enough to change the way your body breaks down drugs, and the effects can last up to three days! This is also true for some other closely-related fruits: Seville oranges, tangelos, pomelos and Minneolas. 

That’s because these fruits have a class of chemicals that disrupt proteins in your liver and small intestine. And those proteins are responsible for breaking down certain drugs.

By disrupting those proteins, the fruit can slow down the way your body processes medications. The result is increased levels of the drug in your blood and intensified side effects—which can be dangerous.

Here’s a list of common types of medications that can interact with grapefruit, and what types of effects it causes:

  • Cholesterol medications: increased chances of muscle weakness, pain, and kidney damage.
  • Blood pressure medications: increased chance of a rapid drop in blood pressure which can be dangerous.
  • Heart rhythm medications: can cause dangerous heart rhythm changes.
  • Depression and anxiety medications: can cause dizziness and excessive sleepiness.
  • Erectile dysfunction medications: increased dizziness and low blood pressure.

Should I Stop Eating Grapefruit?

Grapefruit can offer many health benefits. To name just a few, it’s high in fibre, vitamins, and antioxidants—yet low in calories.

So if you can include it in your diet, you should. And the chances are that you can. Grapefruit only affects a relatively small number of drugs. The best idea is to speak to your doctor or pharmacist and take advantage of their expertise.

Other Drug-Food Interactions

There are many other possible drug-food interactions that you may not know about. Here are some you should be aware of in case you’re taking any of the following drugs.

  • Potassium-rich foods (bananas, avocados, beets, potatoes, etc) can interact with ACE inhibitor medications, leading to arrhythmia and heart palpitations.
  • Milk and other dairy products can stop antibiotics from working. You should leave a two-hour window between eating dairy and taking the antibiotic (both before and after).
  • Spinach, kale, cabbage, and broccoli have high levels of vitamin K, which promotes blood clotting. This can counteract the effects of blood-thinning medications. 
  • A high-fibre diet slows the rate that your stomach empties, which can slow the rate that some medications are absorbed.
  • Black licorice or licorice root supplements contain a compound that can counteract heart rhythm medications 

Final Words

Now you know a little more about how grapefruit can interact with your prescription drugs, and some other common drug-food interactions. Remember that there are many forms of each type of drug listed in this post. So just because you’re on blood pressure meds doesn’t mean you need to swear off grapefruit.

It all depends on the exact drug, your diet, and a range of other factors. As you can see, it gets a little complicated. So whenever you’re being prescribed a new medication or notice an increase in a drug’s side effects, don’t hesitate to bring it up with your doctor or pharmacist. Bon appetite!

happy person managing diabetes

How to Manage Your Diabetes

Simple Ways to Manage Your Diabetes

One factor that differentiates diabetes from many other diseases is how extensively it can be controlled through lifestyle adjustments. When you’re living with diabetes, you have the real power to minimize its impact. Even small changes can make serious improvements to your quality of life.

Since the disease is affected by many different aspects of your lifestyle, there are a lot of options when it comes to managing diabetes. It’s always a good idea to learn what those options are so you can find the ones that work best for you.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus, better known as simply “diabetes”, is a metabolic disease that causes high blood sugar. The disease comes in several forms but the two most common are diabetes type 1 and diabetes type 2. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease where your immune system attacks your pancreas. Type 2 occurs when your body becomes more resistant to insulin, causing sugar to build up in your blood.

Improve Your Eating Habits

It should go without saying that an important part of diabetes management is your diet. If you haven’t already started, you should create a healthy eating plan with the help of a nutritionist or other health care provider, and then try your best to stick to it. The plan should include recommendations on portion sizes as well as what types of food to eat.

Here are some quick tips to remember:

  • Use meal planning to ensure all your meals have a good balance of starches, proteins and fats. 
  • Go for fruits, vegetables and whole grains as much as possible, as these low-carb foods provide fibre to help stabilize your blood sugar levels.
  • Drink less sugar-sweetened beverages. Soda and juices have a lot of empty calories, and can rapidly increase your blood sugar levels. Making a habit of drinking more water can help you avoid them.

Get More Exercise

Exercise helps control diabetes in a number of ways. It lowers your blood sugar, decreases your body’s resistance to insulin, and improves heart health. It can also help you lose weight, improve your circulation, lower the risk of many diabetes-related issues.

Whether it’s aerobics or strength training, any physical activity can help. The most important part is discussing your exercise plan with a health care provider and making it part of your regular schedule. 

Important tips to keep in mind:

  • Dehydration can impact your blood sugar levels, so make sure you drink lots of water while exercising.
  • Keep a close eye on your blood sugar when starting a new exercise plan. If the activity or intensity level is new to you, it can sometimes lower your blood sugar the following day.
  • Take care of your feet. If you’ve been dealing with circulation issues, you may be at risk of foot injuries like ulcers. Proper footwear like custom orthotics can help you protect your feet while exercising.
  • Quitting smoking makes exercising easier, and is one of the best ways to improve your cardiovascular health.

Monitor Your Blood Sugar Level

Blood sugar testing is an essential part of managing diabetes. Not only will it help guide your treatment, but it also helps ensure you stay within safe limits. Some of the benefits it offers include:

  • Helps you judge how well you’re meeting your goals
  • Helps you see how exercise and eating habits affect your blood glucose levels
  • Lets you know when your levels are too high or too low

Use Stress Management Techniques

Stress affects blood sugar in several ways. For one, it triggers a hormone response in your body that can raise blood sugar levels. On top of that, when you’re feeling overwhelmed by stress, you might find it hard to stick to your diabetes management plan.

Here are some quick tips to help you cope with stress:

  • Start monitoring and recording your mood when you check your blood sugar levels. This can help you see the impact stress is having on you. If you notice a pattern, it can help you identify the triggers for your stress, so you can manage it in the future.
  • Get some help learning relaxation techniques. Health care providers can teach you about the different methods and help you find the ones that work best for you.

Get Educated

Diabetes treatment and management can be complicated. It involves a lot of planning around many different aspects of your life. This is why diabetes education programs can be very useful. They can help you understand exactly how the disease impacts you, and the best ways for you to minimize those impacts.

Remember: You Have The Power

Making changes to your lifestyle can take some real effort. When you have a long-standing bad habit, it can be hard to break the cycle. If you take the steps to manage your diabetes early on, eventually you will begin seeing improvements to your health, which can be a great motivator.

Remember that you have the power to control your diabetes. By sticking with your diabetes management plan, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can start enjoying better health and quality of life.

As a final note, be sure to speak to your doctor for advice if you need help with diabetes in pregnancy, diabetes in children, or if you develop any diabetes complications.


What’s the difference between COVID-19 and Influenza (Flu)

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a newly discovered coronavirus that is currently resulting in millions of people around the world becoming ill. It is a contagious respiratory disease, primarily affecting the lungs and the throat and is responsible for at least 820k deaths globally to date – with new cases rising daily.

If a person becomes infected with COVID-19 their symptoms can range from mild to severe or they might not experience the necessary symptoms at all (asymptomatic).

COVID-19 might be mistaken for Influenza (Flu) because they both have many characteristics in common. However, evidence has shown that COVID-19 causes more severe disease than the seasonal influenza. While many people have built up immunity to seasonal flu strains, COVID-19 is a new virus to which no one has immunity. That means more people are susceptible to infection, and some will suffer severe disease. 

To help you distinguish between the two viruses, we’ve outlined the key differences and similarities in this article.


COVID-19 is short for ‘Coronavirus Disease 2019’. It originated from the coronavirus family which is linked to diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-COV)

Influenza on the other hand, is caused by Influenza A and B strands of viruses.

So how can you tell them apart? Here’s a summary.


One of the reasons that people often mistake COVID-19 for the Flu is because they cause similar symptoms in infected people. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Sore Throat
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle Soreness
  • Fatigue
  • Cough
  • Runny Nose or Congestion

Method of Transmission:

Transmission refers to how the virus spreads from person to person. Both COVID-19 and the Flu can be spread via. respiratory droplets. It is transmitted more easily when persons who have become infected are within 6 feet of each other. This is because the droplets can land in the mouth, nose, or be inhaled into the lungs.

Coughing, sneezing, and talking are the most common ways these infections are known to spread. However, both viruses can remain on surfaces for hours. It is possible to spread if an individual touches a surface that contains the virus and touches their face afterward.


As far as evidence shows to date, children are more likely to become infected with influenza than COVID-19. They are known to be one of the main contributors to influenza outbreaks.

Both Influenza and Covid-19 affect individuals with pre-existing health conditions, older age groups (65 and up), pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems. These individuals are the most at risk for developing severe and fatal symptoms if they become infected.

How long symptoms appear after infection:

Influenza: If an individual is infected with Influenza, it may take between 1 to 4 days (Avg. of 2 days) for symptoms to appear.

COVID-19: If an individual is infected with COVID-19 it can take 2 – 14 days (Avg. of 5 days) for symptoms to appear. 

Peak of Symptoms:

Influenza: The severity of Influenza symptoms often peak 3-7 days after a person has become infected.

COVID-19: The severity of COVID-19 symptoms can take up to 2 or 3 weeks.

Rate of Infection:

COVID-19 is more contagious than Influenza. This is determined by the R0 number of each virus. The R0 number or reproduction number is a value that measures how many people a single individual with the virus can infect.

The R0 number for Influenza is 1.3 while the R0 number for COVID-19 is between 2- 2.5.


Influenza: While there are antiviral medications on the market to help combat the flu, they are only recommended in special high-risk populations. The best treatment is self-isolation and supportive care. This includes staying well hydrated and using over-the-counter products such as Acetaminophen in the event that the flu causes high-fevers or aches.

COVID-19: Research is still being conducted to find a treatment that can help to reduce the symptoms of COVID-19 in patients.


COVID-19 and Influenza require virtually the same measures to prevent the spread of the virus:

  • Staying home if you’re sick and limiting your contact with people.
  • Washing your hands regularly, and using hand sanitizer when hand washing stations are not available.
  • Continuing to wear a face mask when in public spaces.
  • Maintaining social distancing i.e. standing 6 feet apart from people when in public.
  • Coughing and sneezing into your flexed elbow.
  • Telling your healthcare provider about your symptoms and travel history.


An approved vaccine exists for Influenza. However, researchers are still learning more about COVID-19 and have not released a vaccine for it at the time this article was written. 

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