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Health Mistakes – How Bad Are They Really?

Posted by: | Posted on: February 1, 2017

Smoking, not exercising, eating junk food; we all know that some things are health hazards. But with scientists making new discoveries daily, it’s hard to know for sure if our everyday habits are really that bad. Here, the experts help us sort the minor misdemeanours from the major mistakes.

You forget to floss: Real health hazard

Health Mistakes

Not flossing teeth regularly will probably lead to gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath, says Dr Peter Alldritt, from the Australian Dental Association.

“We know only 30 per cent of people floss daily and some stop flossing because it causes bleeding,” he says.

“If you don’t floss for a week your gums will bleed because you will have started to develop gingivitis (inflamed gums).” To see what’s lurking between your unflossed teeth, Dr Alldritt suggests using a piece of dental floss, having a look at what you pull out and then sniffing it.

You have lunch at your desk: Not a deadly sin but…

Don’t sit in one spot all day. However, if your lunch is healthy, you eat slowly and avoid working at the same time, it’s reasonable to eat it at your desk, says Dietitians Association of Australia spokesperson Kellie Bilinski.

“From a nutritional point of view, it’s better than having junk food.” If you only have 10 minutes to spare at midday, a quick sandwich at your desk can keep you going until your next break, she adds.

You eat pain killers like lollies: Real health hazard

“Just because they are available in a supermarket doesn’t mean you don’t have to take the dosage instructions seriously,” says Dr Ronald McCoy from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

“They can serve a purpose short term but if you’re taking too many, seek medical advice. Overuse of these medicines can lead to liver or kidney problems.” They can also cause problems if mixed with alcohol or certain prescription drugs.

You forget to take the Pill: Not a deadly sin but…

“There’s a difference between a late Pill and a missed Pill,” explains Dr Stewart. “If you remember to take it within 24 hours you’re still covered but any longer than that is considered a missed Pill.”

“If that happens, continue to take your Pill but also use condoms for the next seven days and if you have fewer than seven hormone pills left in the packet, skip the sugar pills and start the next packet of hormone pills. If you have taken less than seven hormone pills in this packet and had sex in the last five days you may need the emergency contraceptive pill too (available from pharmacies).”

You always sit down on public toilet seats: Not a problem at all

You can’t catch a sexually transmitted infection from sitting on a toilet seat, says Dr Mary Stewart, acting medical director of Family Planning NSW.

And unless the seat is visibly soiled it’s probably cleaner than the flush button, washbasin or taps in a public rest room.

Plonking your bottom down is better than hovering over the toilet seat because your bladder can empty more efficiently and there will be less pressure on your pelvic floor muscles.

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