Doctors and Nurses Reveal the Medical Facts Everyone Should Know
These tips might just save your life (or at least make it a little healthier).
They can handle the truth
When it comes to your health, staying informed is key. In their own words, here are 16 medical tips that doctors and nurses of Reddit believe everyone would be better off knowing:
“Nurse 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.” Learn the things 8 former alcoholics wish they’d known.
“Just don’t lie to us,” adds another medical professional. “We don’t judge you…Remember always, we’ve seen something far, far worse.”
Make sure an “emergency” is just that
“ER 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 emergency department is gonna cost you $1,000; go to Urgent Care.”
“I’ve seen countless number of people…go to the ER for non-emergent issues, like splinter removal or the common cold,” adds an ER nurse. “And they get billed a ridiculous amount of money for their ER trip. Some of these people…don’t realize that their bodies will take care of these issues on their own. Urgent Care facilities are vastly underused.” These are 50 more secrets emergency room doctors won’t tell you.
Watch your weight
“Keep an eye on your weight. Rapid unintentional weight loss is often a sign something serious is up.”
“Or [weight] gain,” adds another Redditor. “I was in the ER last night. Overheard [the] guy in front of me [say] that he gained around 30 pounds in two weeks and could no longer walk. Based off his swollen abdomen and wet lungs, I thought he was in congestive heart failure. He was roomed near me and it turns out that’s exactly what he has.”
Immune system to the rescue
“Your immune system is one of the greatest assets you have, and you never thank it. In your life, your body will autonomously eradicate between six to 10 cancers without your realizing. It will fight your infections, repair microtraumas, 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 than you realize.” Here are some easy ways to protect your immune system.
No, it’s not “all in your head”
“Mental illness can be as serious as a physical one. Get treated. You wouldn’t let a broken leg go.”
Here are some more mental health myths that need to be busted right now.
“That aspirin might save your life”
“Doc here. If you suspect a heart attack, take an aspirin or two. Not Ibuprofen, not paracetamol, not some other…analgesic/painkiller—an actual aspirin.
“Also get yourself to a hospital. But that aspirin might save your life….Chewing [the aspirin] is better, but if you swallow it whole that will also work in a pinch. It’s much easier to remember ‘take an aspirin,’ especially if you’re panicking, than to also worry about how to take it. Always keep things as simple as you can, and get the basics down first. In a pinch you are much more likely to recall a random person on Reddit saying ‘heart attack = aspirin’ than you are to also remember ‘and don’t forget to chew.’”
CPR is not like the movies
“When you suspect whoever is lying down is not breathing by themselves, begin CPR immediately (here’s how) AND DO NOT STOP until [a] 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.” Learn how one woman’s coworkers saved her life with CPR.
Why your head hurts (probably)
“The majority of headaches are caused by either a lack of sleep or a lack of water. Consider these two factors before making a needless appointment.” Here are the signs your headache probably is something serious.
Too little, too late
“Know the signs of a heart attack and stroke and don’t ‘tough it out.’ These are time sensitive and potentially deadly events. [It’s] 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.”
“Stroke especially,” a pharmacist chimes in, adding that a matter of hours can make a huge difference after a stroke. Don’t ignore these 7 signs you’re having a stroke.
“Doctor here. Don’t stop your medications by yourself. Just don’t, no matter how good you feel. Patients stop antibiotics and relapse…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.”
When cramps are not cramps
Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley/Shutterstock
“Girls, if you get excruciating cramps at the time of your period and it feels much worse then it [usually] is, go to a doctor.
“When I was 13, I had already been confirmed to have an 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 than 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 women blow off period cramps because doctors tend to do the same. Don’t; it almost meant life or death for me.” Here are some things you had no idea could relieve period pain.
Doctors aren’t perfect!
“I 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 things 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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 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.”
Keep kitty healthy too
“Vet tech [here]. Your cat is probably obese. So many people free-choice feed their cats because it’s easier or just way overfeed their cats because cats whine a lot. You’re not doing your cat any favors—he’s going to get diabetes. I’d guess that about 10% of cats I’ve seen are actually at a healthy weight. Get a good wand toy and play with your cat every day, and limit how much they eat.
“Also, treats are supposed to be less than 10% of your pet’s caloric intake. Cool it with the treats.” Here’s the surprising truth about pet obesity (and how you can help prevent it).