Bad health advice doctors want you to stop believing

HOUSTON – Feed a fever. Starve a cold. There are a lot of health tips we believe because we've always been told they were true, but are they?

Houston doctors say there are a lot of misunderstood health issues.

Does the flu shot make you sick?

The number one myth you’ve probably heard: The flu shot makes you sick. Doctors say it is not possible.

“Most people get inactivated flu or get protein particles that don't have any flu in them so there's no chance of them getting the flu. Often what people experience is as your body is mounting that army of fighter cells, those immune cells to fight off flu,” Dr. Charlene Flash, Legacy Community Health, said. “You feel tired, you feel achy, because your body is kind of mounting its army and getting primed when you're responding to the vaccine. That is not the same as the horrific fever, chills, listlessness, feeling like you can't function for a week or more that happens when you actually get influenza.”


Myths are also affecting children’s health. According to Texas Children's Pediatrics, taking vitamins is not necessary for all kids.

“We spend a lot of money on vitamins and really don't see much benefit. Now, as you get to be an older adult that changes because our bodies do change and we need other supplements but for your average, healthy children, vitamins are usually not that important,” Dr. Stan Spinner, chief medical officer of Texas Children’s Pediatrics, said.


We tend to think the cleaner your skin, the fewer pimples So, we wash and scrub but in fact, Dr. Sherry Ingraham from Advanced Dermatology said we are stripping the skin, which can contradict your thinking and cause breakouts or even eczema flare-ups.


Some infectious diseases, like HIV, are still plagued with misunderstandings.

Legacy Community Health said avoiding contact with someone who has HIV is nothing more than emotionally hurtful. Sharing a seat, holding hands or having a drink/meal with this person will not make you sick.


For illnesses caused by viruses, antibiotics don't work.

Spinner said many patients are under the impression that every diagnosis comes with a prescription. There’s not much to be done for many viruses. However, an anti-viral can help with flu symptoms so it’s best to get to the doctor immediately if you have symptoms of the flu.


Cramps are not always normal.

According to Dr. Amy Schutt with Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, only 50% of women experience menstrual cramps. Women who experience cramping that’s not associated with menstruation could be experiencing fibroids or infection and should consult their doctor.

All-natural or organic does not always equal healthy 

"A lot of things are very bad for you that are natural. It's really important that you know what's in the ingredients and you should always talk to your physician about it because we know some can be harmful and others we just don't know,” Dr. Spinner said. “You don't know who's putting what into it, no one's controlling that.” Meaning, the Food and Drug Administration does not oversee the making of all of these “natural” products.

Some examples include essential oils protein powders for drinks.