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Format: 04/23/2014
Format: 04/23/2014


KDKA-TV: Doctors share top 5 healthcare shortcuts to avoid

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

With busy lives, who doesn't take a shortcut now and then? But when it comes to your health, there are shortcuts you don't want to take. 

1. Borrowing Antibiotics

You might not think there's anything wrong with borrowing a friend's antibiotics, but it may turn out wrong for you.

These drugs are designed to kill only specific types of bacteria, so your doctor should really prescribe the correct antibiotic for your kind of infection.

"And really, no one should have left over antibiotics to share with someone, because not completing that prescribed treatment course initially increases the risk of developing antibiotic resistant bacteria in the first place," points out Dr. Christine Mackey, an internist at Allegheny General Hospital.

2. Contact Lenses Online

Don't bypass the doctor to get your contact lenses online.

"They may not want to come in because they want to just get their contact lenses online, and they will go two or three years without a proper eye examination, and as you know, a contact lens is a medical device, and there are a lot of complications that can occur," says optometrist Dr. Noah Eger.

Complications can be mild or they can threaten your eyesight -- ulcers in the eye, scarring, and bad reactions of the lens materials with solutions.

3. Pharmacy Drive-Thru

The pharmacy drive-thru may be fast, but a mix up can happen just like at other types of drive thrus. And a wrong order, at the drug store, could be hazardous to your health.

"You've got to make sure that what you're getting in that bag and in that bottle is yours and it's accurate," says pharmacist David Hairhoger.

4. Gyne As Primary Care

One-stop shopping at the gynecologist sounds like a great idea but in some cases, you could be missing out.

"Gynecologists are specialists," reminds Dr. Mackey, "[it] really sets someone up for problems should they develop any medical problems."

A primary care doctor may have a better grasp on your overall health and can spot medical issues your gynecologist may not be looking for.

5. Mouthwash Instead Of Brushing And Flossing

A mouth rinse is not a substitute for brushing and flossing.

"There's a lot of marketing done with mouthwashes, mouth rinses, fluorides. Patients tend to perceive that as perhaps a shortcut to taking care of their teeth," says Dr. Timonthy Gross, a dentist at Allegheny General Hospital.

But it's the mechanical action of brushing and flossing that keeps your teeth and gums healthy.

To read more or see the video, visit the KDKA-TV web site.

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