Investing in your health is always a good idea unless you’re investing in products or treatments that don’t work. Over the centuries, even respectable healthcare professionals have pitched products that didn’t do what was advertised, sometimes to the detriment of budgets and the users’ health. Even today, some treatments found at drugstores don’t actually do much to alleviate conditions but are popular with the public.
Himalayan Salt Lamps
These popular lamps carved from a block of pink or beige salt have been touted as the remedy for everything from asthma to migraines. They are supposed to release negative ions that detoxify the air and promote better health. No studies confirm this, and Himalayan salt lamps can be dangerous to pets. Some animals, particularly cats, lick them until they contract salt poisoning, so steer clear.
Insect Bite Treatments
There are several insect bite treatments you’ll find on drugstore shelves. Most are to be used immediately after you’re stung to alleviate itching and reduce inflammation. However, according to the “Drugs and Therapeutics Journal,” these treatments do very little. Topical antihistamines just aren’t very effective. If you have insect bites that are bothering you, consider taking an oral antihistamine instead. These are more effective and don’t have to be applied to the skin.
OTC Sleep Aids
Millions of people buy products like Tylenol PM and Excedrin PM every year. Yet, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says these products don’t have much value for anyone with insomnia. If you take them, use them only when absolutely necessary, as most contain acetaminophen, which can cause liver damage over time. You’re better off sipping chamomile tea before bed, meditating, or investing in cognitive behavioral therapy if you have persistent insomnia.
Although bunion pads can cushion the painful bump on the side of the foot, the relief they bring is only temporary. Wearing bunion pads doesn’t correct the misalignment of the bones of the big toe joint. Over time, this misalignment becomes worse. The only way to cure a bunion is to have surgery to realign the bone and remove any necessary tissue.
OTC Weight Loss Pills
Over-the-counter weight-loss supplements are one of the hottest selling products on the market, but little proof exists that they work. Most have ingredients that aren’t particularly good for you, like high amounts of caffeine to boost your energy, but they don’t actually rev up your metabolism or curb your appetite. While some effective prescription medications can reduce your appetite, these have to be monitored by your doctor and only used under certain conditions.
It’s natural to want a “magic bullet” to improve your health, but most cures that seem too good to be true are just that. If you’re having a health issue, be sure to see a doctor to discuss options that work.