October 18

Colds, headaches, flu, or cramps… is it worth it to reach for medicines?


Before we answer the question, let's just jump back in time a little! But don't worry, this blog post won't be a boring history lesson. We're just going to look back to the time of our grandmothers to see what they did when they had a cold, headache, or other illness. You know what? Mostly they drank various herbal teas. I'm sure you can remember when, as a child, your grandmother would offer you a nice hot cup of tea with honey and lemon anytime you caught a cold – accompanied, of course, by a delicious broth.

But what are we doing today instead?

When we get a cold or want to cure our child as fast as possible of some illness, we turn almost immediately to the powders available in pharmacies, which often have a cup of something that looks like steaming tea on the package, to make a healing drink. But these synthetic powders are far from containing tea, or even natural honey and lemon! They are medicine, which should not be taken by the cup, either by us or our children.

Unfortunately, many people are not aware of the medicinal content of these powders against colds. In fact, these preparations can be bought by anyone without a prescription, as if they could be consumed in excess and without any problems.

They are deceptive insofar as they do not really taste like any medicine but are sweet like honey and even the aroma of lemon can be smelled from the steaming mug.

I'm sure you've experienced that they can even temporarily improve your well-being.

And that's why many people don't even read the dosage instructions on the back, explicitly warning them about the maximum number you can consume of these small sachets.

But even if you do read it, you may not take the warning seriously. After all, it's just a warm, lemony, delicious "tea" that makes you feel better!

Now, this could be a huge mistake.

Toxic medicines?!

Yes, unfortunately, the paracetamol in cold powders can be highly toxic in high doses! In addition, you also need to think about the fact that paracetamol is not only found in hot drinks, but also in other antipyretics and painkillers, so the amount of paracetamol can add up when the drink powders and other medicines are taken at the same time.

And the most dangerous thing about paracetamol is that there is very little difference between the dose that is safe and the dose that causes poisoning.

…and sometimes it's so hard to stop drinking that extra cup of hot drink, when you're suffering from a stuffy nose and a scratchy throat, choking on a cough...

But what happens in the case of a paracetamol overdose?

Unfortunately, if you exceed the allowed quantity, it can seriously damage both your liver and kidneys. So much so, that if paracetamol poisoning is not recognised in time, it can lead to liver and kidney failure, followed shortly after by coma and death.

In addition, it is possible for anyone to find that for some reason their body has a harder time breaking down paracetamol, and therefore some people reach the toxic dose sooner.

Knowing this, it makes us wonder whether our grandmothers were better off, after all, by taking a few more days of sickness and discomfort – but avoiding the poisoning of their own livers and kidneys.

What else should you avoid when it comes to pain relief?

Paracetamol is not the only dangerous substance that you should watch out for. Not to mention the side-effects of many other drugs, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are as popular as paracetamol, can also be terribly harmful to your health. And they are yet another active substance that is available to everyone in pharmacies!

NSAIDs are found not just in the most common anti-inflammatory drugs, but they are taken regularly for fevers, headaches, menstrual cramps, or any kind of pain as well.

However, one of the not uncommon side effects of NSAIDs is that they damage the lining of the stomach, which can cause serious ulcers. This is often associated with much more pain than the original reason for taking them – which is sometimes just a mild headache.

What's more, the process doesn't stop once the ulcer starts! The ulcer can develop into a stomach bleed or a malignant tumour, which can even be fatal.

In this case, too, it is worth considering whether the deal is worth it.

So what can you do about the pain?

One of the most important things you can do is to let your body heal! Believe me, it can heal itself without being exposed to all sorts of harmful substances.

What you can do to help your body, however, is to strengthen your immune system so it can fight off pathogens and inflammation more quickly. This will help you get rid of the pain and symptoms of that stubborn cold sooner.

But when it comes to boosting your immune system, it's still worth turning to natural vegetables and fruit instead of synthetic capsules of any kind. The easiest solution is to start your day with a spoonful of fruit and vegetable concentrate every morning, using InnoFit products. This is a quick and simple way to keep your immune system in tip-top shape. This way, you can prevent the onset of illness or, if you are already ill, experience shows that you can easily say heal in a few days, even without medication.

Erzsébet Mihalikné Krémer

Health educator and creator of the InnoFit product family