Healthwatch: Myth vs. Fact

By: Holly Firfer
By: Holly Firfer

Food in Styrofoam containers can be microwaved and with plastic wrap? Some doctors say don't do it.

"Plastic wrap, plastic containers, can be potentially harmful if they're heated. They can release certain chemicals. However, the FDA tests these chemicals and there has never be any evidence to show it's harmful to humans, as long as you aren't putting the plastic directly on the food. Styrofoam, you don't want to put in the microwave because it can actually catch on fire and melt," said Erica Brownfield of Emory University School of Medicine.

If you are taking birth control pills, you are always safe from pregnancy, right? Maybe not.

"There are certain antibiotics, penicillin, tetracyclines, and sephalisporins, when you're on and also on the birth control pill, that hormone pill becomes less effective, so you want to have a backup method so you don't get pregnant," Brownfield said.

It's okay if you floss really hard and your gums bleed. It will clean out the bacteria. Wrong, says dr. Brownfield.

"The problem is you can cut into the gum and expose the root of the tooth, and by doing that you can have problems with the nerve, damage to the tooth, pain, bleeding," said Brownfield. "But, flossing is important, so you should do it to remove plaque and bacteria."

Take your allergy medicine first thing in the morning. Not always.

"Everybody has different allergy symptoms and allergens can be at all times of the day, so the common sense thing to do is figure out when your allergy symptoms are worse and make sure you take medication a few hours before then," Brownfield said.

Can't hear? Clean your ears out with a cotton swab, but dr. Brownfield says no.

"You can actually move the wax further into the ear, causing problems with wax impaction and decreased hearing," she said. "If you push too hard, you can actually put a hole in your eardrum."

Too tired to take your contacts out? Not a good idea.

"You don't want to wear contacts for more than eight hours, and particularly, you don't want to wear them when your eyes are closed, because it sets up the risk of infection and possibly blindness," said Dr. Brownfield.

Read all previous WTOK Healthwatch articles here.

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