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Never Say These Words to a Doctor, Say Experts

There are certain habits you should avoid.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab

One of the best things you can do for your health is to be actively engaged in your own healthcare. But every healthy relationship has boundaries and may include disapproval. That includes the relationship you have with your doctor. You should always be honest with your healthcare provider, but some interactions may be more fraught than others—for good reason. These are five things you should never say to a doctor (without expecting some pushback). Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

"But Google Says…"

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It's frustrating for doctors when patients challenge their advice—or outright refuse to follow recommendations—based on something they've read online. They call the phenomenon "Doctor Google." Doctors want you to be an active participant in your care, do research, and ask questions. But self-diagnosis can cause stress and anxiety and result in less-than-optimal care. At some point, they say, you need to trust the trained pro in front of you.

2

"I'm Just Going to Catch COVID To Get It Over With"

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Doctors emphatically advise against purposely catching the coronavirus just to be done with it: COVID is not chickenpox. "Deliberately seeking to become infected is like playing with dynamite," said Dr. Quinton Fivelman, chief scientific officer at London Medical Laboratory last Friday. "It can rapidly escalate into a life-threatening disease, particularly for people with pre-existing conditions." Other serious considerations: By getting COVID, you could infect people who are more vulnerable to serious illness, and even a mild case of COVID can result in "long COVID," a debilitating fatigue syndrome that can last for months.

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3

"I'll Skip That Vaccine"

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Your doctor will tell you that being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and getting a booster shot, is the easiest thing you can do to prevent yourself from becoming seriously ill or hospitalized. Stay on top of other routine vaccinations, too: The CDC says every adult should get an annual flu vaccine. The CDC also recommends two doses of shingles vaccine for people over 50, plus two doses of pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine for people 65 and older. 

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4

"I've Started Drinking For My Health"

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If you've taken up drinking red wine for its heart-healthy benefits or are having more cocktails because you read drinkers live longer, your doctor is unlikely to be pleased. Experts have never advised taking up drinking as a health measure. And recent research has poked a pretty big hole in that much-publicized study that found moderate drinkers outlive people who don't drink at all. A study published in PLOS Medicine found that a majority of teetotalers in that study were previous alcohol drinkers who were more likely to have engaged in risky health behaviors, like smoking, which shorten life. 

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5

"I'm Not Sleeping Much, But That's Fine"

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Thanks to the invention of binge-watching, insomnia has gotten a lot more pleasant than it used to be. Until the day after—and the days after that. Getting too little sleep is hazardous to your health, associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, depression, cancer, dementia, and even quicker skin aging. If you're not getting seven to nine hours of quality sleep a night, tell your doctor. It's a health issue that's important to address. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor whose health and lifestyle content has also been published on Beachbody and Openfit. A contributing writer for Eat This, Not That!, he has also been published in New York, Architectural Digest, Interview, and many others. Read more
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