Last updated: Aug 20, 2008


Don't put a topical drug up your nose
Some frequent travelers report that this simple trick is germ-killing genius. Not so, says Neil Schachter, MD, director of respiratory care at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City. Neosporin treats only topical bacteria, not the ones that cause airway infections. Plus, its powerless against viruses and may irritate your sensitive nasal lining.

Don't drink hydrogen peroxide
Some devotees add a couple of drops of this medicine-cabinet staple (typically used to disinfect minor wounds) to a glass of water for overall health; others inhale it. Experts warn against drinking peroxide, whether its the 3 percent version in drugstores or the 35 percent “food grade” type found online. Dr. Schachter believes it can damage the mucous membranes and airways.

Don't down coconut oil
Fans of this antioxidant-rich tropical oil say its a panacea for weight loss, skin problems, aging, lack of energy, gum disease, and flu, to name just a few. But scientific support is lacking. Stick with well-researched fish oil, which seems to help prevent heart attack and protect skin, and may even boost immunity. Use the coconut oil for cooking and topical uses like moisturizing dry hair.