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.

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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lonely woman

Overcoming Loneliness

Feeling lonely can be unpleasant, but did you know that it can also reduce your lifespan? According to some reports, loneliness can shorten your life as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Some studies have also shown that being lonely is worse for your health than being obese, and can raise your risk for early death by about 30 percent. Luckily, researchers have also been able to shed light on ways that people overcome feelings of loneliness.

But before we get to how to combat loneliness, you might be wondering how it can have such a significant effect on your health. Well, there are a couple of theories. 

The Behavioral Theory

Some researchers have said that it could be related to behavioral changes. This theory says that as people feel more lonely, they are more likely to neglect their healthy habits and adopt more risky behaviors like drug abuse.

The Immune System Theory

A more popular theory is that loneliness causes stress in the body that weakens the immune system. This is because we are social animals. We evolved to live with others. When you’re around other people, it provides safety and security, so your body relaxes.

But when you’re feeling alone and lacking the safety of other people, your body goes on defence. Subconsciously, you become more aware of possible threats around you. It triggers a stress response so you’re ready to deal with danger. 

This stress response causes a release of hormones, increased heart rate, muscle tension, and other changes. Over time, these changes can take a toll on the body and its immune function, increasing the risk for a range of health conditions.

Dealing With Loneliness

Research has shown that feelings of loneliness don’t always match the level of social interaction. There are some people who have active social lives but still feel lonely, and others who don’t see anyone often but don’t feel lonely at all.

This means that loneliness can be more about a person’s state of mind then their social circumstances. 

In addition, a recent study of older adults living in a senior housing community highlighted some characteristics of people who overcome feelings of loneliness. Those characteristics included acceptance of ageing and good social skills for making new friends.

It also found that compassion was one factor that helped with overcoming loneliness. The study participants who focused on helping others were better at dealing with their own feelings of loneliness. 

Mind and Body

There are many ways your mental state affects your overall health. Loneliness is just one example. 

So dealing with mental health issues like stress, anxiety, and depression can not only improve your quality of life, it can help you live longer. If you think you are experiencing any of these conditions, you should talk to your doctor, as there are many options for mental health support and treatment.

woman looking young

Anti-aging health tips

Scientists are making some exciting advances in anti-ageing therapies. Recently, researchers made a breakthrough where they were able to extend the life of roundworms by 500 percent, which would be the equivalent of a human living for 400 or 500 years.

But until they invent an anti-ageing pill that works like magic, there are some simple measures you can take to help slow the ageing process.

Sleep Well

Getting enough sleep is essential to your health. It gives your body and brain a chance to repair wear and tear, and will help your mind stay sharp. In addition, it can reduce your risk for a variety of health issues, ranging from high blood pressure to depression.

The latest sleep recommendations are that adults aged 24 -64 need 7-9 hours a night, and people who are 65 or older need 7-8 hours.

But just going to bed earlier isn’t enough. That’s because to get all the benefits of sleep, it needs to be good quality sleep. That means you should be enjoying a deep sleep, without spending a lot of time just tossing and turning in bed.

Some ways to get better quality sleep include:

  • Go to bed at a regular time
  • Do something relaxing before bed
  • Get more exercise
  • Choose a good quality pillow and mattress

Improve Your Diet

There are some simple changes you can make to your eating habits that will go a long way towards helping you maintain your health.

That includes adding more colour to your diet. So ensure you’re getting enough fruits and vegetables, and opt for fresh, unprocessed foods. In addition, foods that are high in antioxidants such as tomatoes, spinach, and green tea can help fight the ageing process.

If you are looking to go further, consider getting help from a nutritionist. They can help you create a diet that suits your particular health needs.

Learn something new

One of the major signs of ageing is reduced cognitive ability. As you age, your brain’s ability to process new information decreases. However, if you exercise your brain by continuing to learn new things, it improves brain plasticity. That means your brain will have a better ability to deal with both new and old information.

Studies show that certain “brain training” games like puzzles can improve memory, but actually learning a new and challenging skill is more effective at keeping your brain working properly.

Manage your stress

Stress causes a number of changes in your body. It can increase your heart rate, constrict your blood vessels, and release adrenaline. If you feel stressed frequently or for long periods of time, these changes can have a real effect on your health.

The result is an increased risk for issues including high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

To avoid these risks, you should try out some different relaxation techniques and see what works best for you. That can include things like breathing exercises, massage, meditation, and yoga.

And if you don’t think those techniques are doing enough to curb your stress, consider getting some help from a mental health professional. 


This list of anti-ageing health tips would not be complete without mentioning how important exercise is in maintaining your health. The benefits it offers affect all aspects of your health and wellness, but to name just a few: 

  • Cardio exercise will reduce your risk for heart disease
  • Strength training can help you avoid injuries as you age
  • All types of exercise will improve your mood, reduce chronic pain symptoms, and help you maintain a healthy weight.  

If you find it difficult to make it to a gym, remember that any kind of physical activity can help, such as taking frequent walks.

So start putting these tips into practice to live longer and enjoy a better quality of life!

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Drinking tea may help fight depression

Recent research suggests that older adults who drink tea tend to live longer and are less likely to be depressed. These findings come from several separate studies, and add to the long list of health benefits that may come from drinking tea.

Tea and Depression

Researchers in China recently published a study that showed a strong connection between drinking tea regularly and lower rates of depression.

There have been some previous studies that suggested this connection exists. However,  researchers weren’t sure if the benefits come from the tea itself or from the increased social interaction that’s often involved with drinking tea. 

But even when accounting for social engagement and other health factors, this recent study found the connection between tea drinking and lower rates of depression was  “virtually universal”. So, researchers suspect that some property of tea is able to help the brain stay healthy.

The study’s authors said it appears that drinking tea is most beneficial during the early stages of health deterioration. They also found that the benefits were most significant for consistent tea drinkers (who drank tea almost every day since age 60). 

Green Tea and Life Expectancy

Another study tracked 100,000 Chinese adults and found those who drank green tea at least three times a week were less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke

It also showed that green tea drinkers tend to live slightly longer than those who don’t drink tea regularly. This study builds on previous research that has suggested that green tea can lower your risk for heart disease and certain cancers.  

The Many Benefits of Tea

Green tea has high levels of a powerful antioxidant called EGCG. This antioxidant may benefit your health in many ways including reduced risk for cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and liver disease.

But black tea also offers its own benefits. Some include protecting your cells from damage by free radicals, reducing the risk of plaque in blood vessels, and it may be useful in obesity management by promoting the breakdown of fat.

And no matter what type you choose, there’s evidence that the health benefits of tea can include:

  • Reduction of bad cholesterol
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improved cognitive ability
  • Improved mood

So consider pouring yourself a cup, and have a drink to your health!