Did you know that brushing your teeth can actually harm your oral hygiene? And that coughing could lead to a hysterectomy? The Doctors reveal seemingly harmless situations that may be ruining your well-being.
Health officials are speaking out about a dangerous new trend among teens: distilling alcohol from hand sanitizer. California alone has seen 2,600 cases of hand sanitizer overdoses since 2010, and the numbers are rising.
Hand sanitizer can contain 62 to 65 percent ethyl alcohol or ethanol, which is the main ingredient in beer, wine and spirits, and a pocket-sized bottle of hand sanitizer can contain the equivalent of two to three shots of hard liquor.
“With such a high alcohol content, you can get in trouble quick,” plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon says. “We know what happens and the first thing that shuts down is your breathing.”
Besides the alcohol content, the inactive ingredients can be harmful as well.
“The other ingredients are meant to be put on your skin, not in your body,” E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork adds.
Pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears advises parents to buy their hand sanitizers in foam or wipe form, which are almost impossible to extract alcohol from. Non-alcoholic sanitizers are available as well.
• How to make your own antibacterial wipes.
However, hand sanitizers aren’t the only way teens are sneaking alcohol. Police departments across the nation are reporting an increase in “garage hopping,” a trend in which teens break into garages in search of alcohol or chemicals they can inhale.
Sergeant Neil Hennelly from West Linn, Oregon joins The Doctors to weigh in on this disconcerting trend.
“Garage hopping has been around for quite sometime, but we see a spike in the warmer weather, when the days are longer and kids are out later,” Sgt. Hennelly says.
“The last group we picked up were 15, 16 and 17-year-old boys who said they were looking for anything they can grab, and alcohol,” he continues. “If kids are going to start huffing gasoline and other chemicals, it can potentially harm them.”
Chemicals that may be in your garage right now may be used by teens to get high, including pesticides, chlorine, antifreeze, paint and gasoline.
“They look for anything that has a strong odor and antifreeze tastes kind of sweet, but it will kill you,” Dr. Sears says.
“You don’t have that ability as a teenager to think through your actions,” Dr. Travis adds. “You’re not thinking about what it’s doing to your respiratory system and if you drink some of these things you will die.”
While ingesting chemicals poses many risks itself, teens who are caught garage hopping could also be cited for first degree burglary, or worse, risk getting shot by the house owner trying to defend his or her family from intruders.
Be sure to store your chemicals and alcohol in a safe place and to lock your garage every night.
Sleeping Pill Experiment
Veronica, 50, says sometimes she has trouble sleeping at night and turns to sleep aides for help. But while the medication calls for eight hours of sleep, sometimes Veronica gets less than that. She asks The Doctors about the risks of taking sleep aides and waking up before a full eight hours.
To test the waking effects of sleeping pills, The Doctors conduct a non-scientific experiment by putting Veronica behind the wheel in a driving simulation. See the results!
“I think right now it’s a bit of a travesty how many types of medicines people are taking to sleep at night,” Dr. Travis says. “We live in a quick-fix society and medicine can be a quick fix, but in many cases it’s not a good, long-term fix.
“Understand your medicines, do not abuse them,” he says.
• How to get better sleep.
Lisa, 49, says that three years ago, she suffered from a bronchial infection that made her cough so violently, it caused her uterus to drop and start to fall.
“The more I coughed, the more pressure, the more I felt things were actually falling and protruding,” Lisa says.
Whether it’s the tapping of computer keys or the sound of someone chewing, we’ve all been irritated by certain noises here and there, but a very real condition called misophonia turns normal, everyday sounds into angering, anxiety-inducing roars.
Emma, 20, has been suffering from misophonia since the age of eight.
“Immediately after I hear a sound my body will get really hot. I get so agitated to the point where I’m almost enraged. Sounds most people usually wouldn’t pick up on are very aggravating to me,” Emma says.
Dr. Sears says misophonia is a lot more common than people think. When it starts in childhood, the child starts to obsess about certain sounds, which can be misdiagnosed as OCD or autism.
While there is currently no cure for misophonia, each individual must find his or her own way to cope with the symptoms.
Emma says she uses yoga, relaxation and breathing techniques to manage her misophonia, but that she can’t control her reactions to certain sounds. Her main triggers are sniffling, chewing, breaking and keyboard typing.
“In the precise moment when I’m being triggered, there’s really nothing I can do to bring down the reaction,” she says.