Bug Bites and Stings: How To Treat Them And When To See A Doctor

Insect bites are quite common. They usually leave a mark and cause pain that dissolves in a few days. But an insect bite can sometimes lead to a severe allergic reaction or other problems, and you might have to seek medical care. But when should you see a doctor?

We can all minimize the chances of insect bites and stings, but we cannot avoid them totally. It can happen during different weather conditions and in different areas of our life, whether outside the home or inside. This article will tell you how to treat a bug bite and when to seek medical attention.

Mosquito Bites

Mosquitoes bite you to suck your blood. A mosquito bite results in swelling, redness, and itchy bumps.

How To Prevent Mosquito Bites

Avoiding mosquito bites might be difficult. But following these steps can reduce the risk:

  • Limit your time outdoors after dusk. That’s when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Use insect repellent. You can get it as sprays, coils, electric machines, or even topical creams.
  • Cover your exposed skin while venturing into areas prone to mosquitoes.
  • Burn citronella candles or incense sticks. These will shoo away insects and fill your surroundings with a pleasant aroma.
  • Cover stagnant water (like in backyard pools) because that’s where mosquitoes breed.

If you do get bitten, never scratch the affected area as it can open the wound and cause infections. You can apply a topical hydrocortisone ointment or an anti-itch medicine. Even antihistamines can help with the itching.

When To See a Doctor For Mosquito Bites

Most mosquito bites are harmless. The swelling and itching disappear within a couple of days. However, these bites can sometimes lead to a severe reaction. For instance, constant scratching can create an open wound, leading to infections. Talk to your doctor if the wound spreads or if there is an abscess.

Mosquito bites can also lead to diseases like Yellow Nile Virus. And in tropical regions, they can cause malaria, yellow fever, and other fatal diseases.

Look out for the following symptoms after a mosquito bite:

  • A high fever
  • Headaches
  • Body aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes

If you experience any of these symptoms, you will require immediate medical attention. Do put off seeking medical care — delaying treatment can potentially lead to bad outcomes.

Bee and Wasp Stings

Bee Sting and wasp sting can be a terrible experience, and we all would hate that happening. Bees and wasps are buzzing insects that bite or sting you when they feel threatened. The stings can lead to swelling, redness, itching, and the area getting warm to the touch. However bee sting and wasp stings do need immediate attention and tratment.

How To Prevent Bee and Wasp Stings

The best way to avoid a wasp or bee sting is to leave them alone. The chances of stinging increase when you meddle with them. You can also cover your skin to prevent an accidental bite if you are going somewhere where there are a lot of bees or wasps.

There are still some easy ways to treat bees and wasp sting. If a bee stings you, take the stinger out by scraping the area with a blunt object. Then wash the area with soap and cold water. Applying an ice pack will help reduce the pain and swelling — but always wrap the ice pack in a cloth.

When To See a Doctor For Bee and Wasp Stings

Severe allergic reactions to the sting will require urgent care. Look for the following symptoms after bee stings:

  • Formation of hives and itching in areas other than the bitten or stung area
  • Difficulty breathing normally.
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain
  • A throat infection and difficulty swallowing

If the person who was stung is having trouble breathing, call for an ambulance immediately and tell the 911 operator that the stung person is having difficulty breathing. The operator may advise you to perform CPR if the person falls unconscious.

If the person stung was a child, they need to be treated immediately if they were stung in the face, mouth, or neck.

Spider Bites

Spider bites are not that common. They can cause swelling, itching, and redness, just like mosquito bites.

When To See a Doctor For a Spider Bite

Some spiders like the Black Widow and Brown Recluse are dangerous. Their bites can lead to severe symptoms needing immediate medical help. Look out for:

  • Severe pain around the bite
  • Ulcers and pus
  • Cramping
  • A necrotic wound (a wound with dead tissue)

If your spider bite doesn’t heal within a few days or the pain worsens, seek medical care immediately.

Tick Bites

Ticks are parasitic insects that love to burrow themselves under your skin. You will find them in grassy or forested areas.

How To Prevent Tick Bites

Tick bites can lead to severe illnesses like Lyme disease. Here’s how you can prevent a tick bite:

  • Wear long sleeves and full pants to reduce exposure
  • Avoid bushy areas if possible
  • Stay away from animals with ticks

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends using an insect repellent containing DEET.

When To See a Doctor For Tick Bites

You will require medical attention immediately if you experience the following symptoms:

  • Rashes spreading on your body
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Severe fatigue

You may also experience other symptoms of the flu. Apart from Lyme disease, ticks can cause other life-threatening diseases like babesiosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. So, don’t ignore it if you have a fever and other flu-like symptoms.

If you don’t require urgent care from a doctor, read “Tick Removal and Treatment” to learn to treat tick bites at home.

Flea, Chigger, and Bed Bug Bites

Fleas, chiggers, and bed bugs are mostly harmless. Their bites are painful and cause itching, which subsides within a couple of days.

Mattresses are the favorite spot for bed bugs. And they can spread easily through clothing and shared resting areas. If you get a bed bug infestation, you must destroy all impacted fabrics and hire a professional to treat the infestation.

When To See a Doctor For Flea, Chigger, and Bed Bug Bites

Bed bugs, fleas, and chiggers don’t carry any diseases. However, call your doctor for treatment if your bite starts to swell, become painful, or show signs of infection.

The Bottom Line on Insect Bites and Stings

Never ignore an insect bite or sting. If you are in pain after a bee sting or a wasp sting, definitely go for some sort of treatment or medical attention. Though most insect bites are harmless, some insects carry dangerous diseases. Always see a doctor if you have a high temperature and develop other complications that don’t subside within a few hours or days.


  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/first-aid/first-aid-insect-bites/basics/art-20056593
  2. https://legacyer.com/when-should-i-visit-the-doctor-for-bug-bites/
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/avoid/on_people.html


Picnic Food: How To Store It And What To Watch For If You Get Food Poisoning

Nothing spoils a picnic and gets your hosting privileges rescinded like someone getting sick from eating the yummy meals you prepared for the occasion.

Knowing how to prep and handle your picnic food safely can save you and your guests from contracting a foodborne illness. It’s also important to learn how to manage a case of food poisoning if you or your loved ones accidentally consume contaminated food. This article will cover both of these topics.

Why Picnic Food Can Give You Food Poisoning

Any food that isn’t properly stored at a safe temperature can be a breeding ground for bacteria, which means that you can get food poisoning at any time of the year. However, picnic food is more susceptible to contamination because picnics are usually held in hot weather, which is more conducive to bacterial growth.

When it’s 90 degrees or hotter outside, perishable foods take one hour to begin to go bad unless they are kept cool until they are ready to be eaten. The fun and excitement of being outdoors coupled with the makeshift kitchen environment can also prevent you from cooking foods like meat, fish, and eggs properly.

When this happens, harmful bacteria like Salmonella, Campylobacter, and E.coli can grow in undercooked food, resulting in food poisoning when ingested.

Failing to wash your hands, utensils, plates, or cutting boards before and after handling raw meat, poultry, and seafood before preparing or serving food can lead to cross-contamination. This means that any bacteria present in the raw food can spread to your other picnic food and infect you with diseases.

What To Do If You Get Food Poisoning

If you start experiencing symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, headaches, a fever, blood in your stool, or muscle and joint aches shortly after eating, it might indicate that you have food poisoning. Although it’s rare, food poisoning can also cause weakness, tingling, and blurry or double vision.

In most cases, people recover from food poisoning without the need for medical intervention. However, you should see a doctor right away if:

  • You are pregnant or a new mother.
  • You are over 60 years old.
  • You think a young child has food poisoning.
  • You have a weakened immune system.
  • You have a long-term underlying condition like kidney disease, diabetes, heart valve disease, or Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • You are severely dehydrated, or you think you got food poisoning from wild mushrooms or seafood.
  • You develop persistent high fever, serious stomach aches, and prolonged or bloody vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Your symptoms show no signs of improvement after three days.

Food Poisoning Treatments

Food poisoning can range from mild and uncomfortable symptoms to severe illness that requires medical treatment and hospitalization. Treatment usually depends on the severity of your symptoms and the pathogen responsible for the illness.

Here are some of the ways you can manage, alleviate, and treat food poisoning:

  • Use antibiotics, anti-diarrhea, or anti-nausea medications as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Drink lots of water, electrolytes, or an oral rehydration solution (start with small sips to avoid vomiting) to replace the fluids you lost through vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Avoid eating solid foods until nausea or vomiting passes, then slowly reawaken your appetite by eating light and bland foods like crackers, rice, plain toast, fruits, and plain mashed potatoes.
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, dairy products, and sugary, spicy, fatty, fried, or highly seasoned food.
  • Get plenty of rest and avoid strenuous activities.

How To Keep Picnic Food Safe

Taking these food safety precautions when preparing and storing your picnic food can stop you from consuming contaminated food:

Bring Separate Utensils For Slicing and Preparing Food

Always pack different utensils for your raw foods and your cooked meat and foods to avoid cross-contamination. When you’re done cooking, wash any utensils that come in contact with raw eggs, meat, poultry, and seafood with hot or warm water and antibacterial soap. Or pack them in a separate bag or box if you’re postponing cleaning until you get home.

Clean Your Hands

Always wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before, during, and after preparing food and before you eat. If you don’t have access to clean water and soap, you can use an alcohol-based (60% alcohol or higher) hand sanitizer to get rid of germs on your hands.

Separate Foods

To prevent bacteria from raw meat, poultry, and seafood from contaminating other foods that are ready to be eaten, always pack and store them separately. Wrap your raw meats in plastic bags or keep them in sealed containers before placing them in your picnic basket so their juices don’t get on other foods.

Chill Perishable Food

When transporting perishable foods to your picnic site, store them in an insulated cooler full of ice or frozen gel packs to keep them from going bad. Wait until you are ready to leave home before packing the cooler so your cold foods can stay chilled and fresh for longer. You may also want to cook food that spoils quickly in advance.

Keep the cooler in an air-conditioned part of your vehicle instead of in the hot trunk. And once you get to the picnic ground, keep your coolers under a shade and away from direct sunlight to keep perishable foods cool.

Use a Food Thermometer

Food is safe to eat when the internal temperature of the food gets high enough to destroy any germs present in it. The only way to correctly tell whether your food has cooked properly to this point is by using a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature.

Here are the ideal and safe internal temperatures for various cooked foods:

  • 145°F for whole cuts of beef, lamb, veal, pork, and seafood (let it rest for three minutes before carving or eating)
  • 145°F for fish with fins
  • 160°F for ground meat like beef and pork
  • 165°F for all poultry, including ground turkey and chicken
  • 165° for cooked casseroles, leftovers, and microwaved food

The Bottom Line on Picnic Food and Food Poisoning

While most cases of food poisoning aren’t life-threatening, they can still be very debilitating and unpleasant to deal with. You need to take extra care when handling food to ensure that you don’t inadvertently infect yourself and others with foodborne diseases.

And if you suspect that you have food poisoning and your symptoms don’t start to lessen after a few days, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor for help.


  1. https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/food-poisoning/food-poisoning-diagnosis
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/keep-food-safe.html
  3. https://doh.wa.gov/you-and-your-family/food-safety/barbecue-and-picnic-food-safety

Exercise and Overheating: When You Should Be Concerned

When you work out, your muscles create energy to sustain you and your body temperature starts to rise, increasing the risk of overheating. Then, your body will immediately swing into action to try and regulate your temperature. But if it fails to cool you down quickly enough, you might suffer heat exhaustion, heat illness, or heatstroke. 

How do you prevent overheating during exercise, and how can you recognize and treat it if it occurs? Learn the answer below.

Why Exercise Increases Your Body Temperature

Exercising uses up your body’s stored energy quickly, so your muscles have to combine oxygen and Adenosine Phosphate (ATP) to create more energy. In the process, heat energy is generated as a byproduct, which means the more energy your muscles make, the more heat they produce.

This extra heat is what causes your core body temperature to rise when exercising. Your body is then tasked with reducing this heat as quickly as possible to keep your temperature in the optimal range — between 97.5° and 99.5° Fahrenheit.

There are two ways your body goes about lowering your body temperature when it overheats. The first is through sweating. When sweat is released and evaporates from your skin, it carries heat along with it and cools off your body.

Your body can also release heat by sending more blood towards your skin and away from your muscles. The increased body heat opens up the capillaries near your skin’s surface, allowing the heat to radiate out of your blood and into the environment. 

Is Overheating During Exercise Dangerous?

Although your natural cooling system works hard to regulate your body temperature, it might not always succeed, especially when you are dehydrated or the weather is unusually hot or humid.

When your body overheats during exercise, the effects can range from mild to life-threatening if left untreated. You might experience heat-related illnesses like:

  • Heat cramps. These are painful muscle spasms or contractions that can occur when your body temperature rises while exercising. 
  • Exercise-associated collapse. This causes you to feel lightheaded or pass out immediately after exercising, especially right after a race or long run when you stop and stand. 
  • Heat exhaustion. This can occur when your body temperature rises to 104°F (40°C), causing you to feel weak, dizzy, nauseated, or even faint. If you don’t treat heat exhaustion, it can lead to heatstroke.
  • Heatstroke. This can occur when your body temperature rises even higher, exceeding 104°F (40°C). It halts your body’s basic processes and can lead to organ failure, brain damage, and death.

heat stroke

Source: InsideClimateNews

What Are The Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

The main symptom of heat exhaustion or heat stroke is a body temperature of 104°F (40°C) or higher. However, some other signs and symptoms may suggest that you are on your way to heat exhaustion or suffering from heatstroke.

Early warning signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • Muscle cramps
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Excessive thirst
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fatigue or maintaining 
  • Headache, dizziness, lightheadedness, and blurred vision
  • Weak heartbeat and low blood pressure when you stand up
  • Heavy sweating and cool, clammy skin

Symptoms of heatstroke include:

  • Agitation 
  • Seizures
  • Irrational behavior
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Profuse sweating
  • Red, hot, dry skin
  • Slurred speech
  • Rapid, weak pulse
  • Delirium or extreme confusion
  • Loss of consciousness

Who is At Risk For Heat Exhaustion and Heat Strokes

Some contributing factors can put certain groups of people more at risk for getting heat exhaustion and heat strokes. If you belong to these categories, you’ll want to take extra precautions when exercising in hot weather or humid environments:

  • Women
  • Children under four and older people over 65
  • People who grew up in temperate climates
  • People who are obese or in poor physical shape
  • People who use alcohol excessively, especially before exercising
  • People taking certain medications such as diuretics, antihistamines, stimulants, beta-blockers, chemotherapy drugs, and drugs for epilepsy 
  • People with certain health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, sickle cell disease, and other chronic illnesses.

What Should You Do If You or Someone Else Shows Signs of Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke

If you suspect that you or someone you know is experiencing heat exhaustion or heat stroke, you should take these steps right away:

  • Stop all physical activity, sit or lie down and raise your feet slightly so your body can rest.
  • Move to a cool place, take a cold shower, sit in an air-conditioned room, or wet a towel/cloth and place it on your forehead, chest, or the back of your neck.
  • Take off any thick, heavy, or tight clothing.
  • Drink lots of water or a sports drink containing electrolytes.
  • In severe cases, place ice packs behind the neck and under both armpits.
  • Contact your health care provider if symptoms don’t improve after an hour of rest and rehydration.
  • Call 911 or head to the emergency room if symptoms worsen or you experience a seizure, confusion, shortness of breath, loss of consciousness, or a high temperature of 104°F (40°C) or above.

How Doctors Diagnose and Treat Heat Exhaustion and Heat Strokes

Health care providers need to perform a physical examination to diagnose heat exhaustion. This will involve taking your temperature and other vitals and enquiring about your recent activity and health history. 

The doctor will then treat the heat exhaustion with one or two liters of intravenous (IV) fluid and electrolytes. If your symptoms don’t improve or your doctor suspects heat stroke, they may order drug panels, chest x-rays, electrocardiogram, blood work-up, and urine tests to rule out other potential causes and gauge your body functions.

Then they will proceed with the necessary treatment to reverse the symptoms of heatstroke and prevent further damage to your body.

How To Stay Cool While Exercising

  • Avoid drinking caffeine, alcohol, or drinks with a high sugar content before your workouts as they cause dehydration.
  • Drink lots of fluids before, during, and after your workouts. Take sips of water every 10 to 20 minutes, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
  • Go for water and sports drinks that are cool but not too cold.
  • During hot days, schedule your workouts for early morning or evening when the weather is cooler.
  • Choose loose, lightweight clothing with wicking fabrics and light colors when exercising in hot weather.
  • Exercise in a well-ventilated area or indoors whenever outdoor temperatures climb higher than 90°F.
  • Avoid exercising in direct sunlight on hot days and try to stay on the shady side of a trail when hiking or walking.

The Bottom Line on Exercise and Overheating

Overheating can pose a danger to your health and result in heat related illness like heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Fortunately, all of this is preventable as long as you take the right precautions when exercising and follow up with treatment as soon as your body temperature rises higher than normal.


  1. https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/warning.html 
  2. https://www.acefitness.org/resources/everyone/blog/6675/healthy-hydration/
  3. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/heat-exhaustion-heatstroke/
  4. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21480-heat-exhaustion

Skin Spots From Sun (Face): What To Look For And When To See a Doctor

Have you been noticing flat brown spots on your face? There are various types of discoloration patches on our skin, such as birthmarks, freckles, and skin rashes. However, if yours appeared after prolonged exposure to the sun’s rays, the brown patches on your skin are likely sunspots.

Learn more about sunspots, how to treat them, sunspots vs. skin cancers, and when to see a doctor for sunspots in this article.

What Are Sunspots?

Sunspots are known by many names, such as age spots, sun scars, and liver spots. Although they are more common for people aged 40 and above, sunspots are caused by sun exposure instead of age or an underlying liver condition (this is a common misconception).

Sunspots are clumps of concentrated melanin from prolonged sun exposure. You can still get sunspots no matter your age, as the longer you are under the sun’s rays, the more melanin your body produces.

Sunspots appear as flat, dark, and scaly patches on your face, neck, shoulders, arms, and hands where sunlight hits you the most. Normally, they are dark brown or tan in color. They are also non-cancerous and can disappear naturally or be removed with the help of cosmetic treatments.

Are Sunspots Harmful?

Despite appearing as a result of sun damage to your skin, sunspots aren’t harmful. Most sunspots fade naturally over time and can be treated at home.

However, to make sure that the dark patches on your body aren’t cancerous, regularly perform skin checks and consult your doctor if you notice unusual sunspot development or discomfort when you touch the spot.

What Causes Sunspots?

Your genetics, skin, and habits determine whether you will get sunspots. For example, people with lighter skin, red hair, and women are more affected by sunspots, especially if they have a history of severe sunburns and family members with sunspots or other sun-induced skin conditions.

People who have darker skin and those who regularly apply sunscreen may have a smaller risk of acquiring skin conditions like sun spots.

Ultimately though, the biggest cause of sunspots is long-term exposure to UV rays. This is why using tanning beds leads to a higher risk of developing sunspots.

While the risk of acquiring liver spots is always present, you can reduce it with these tips:

  • Apply sunscreen that’s SPF 30+ or higher
  • Protect your skin and do not use tanning beds
  • Limit sun damage by avoiding direct exposure to sunlight, especially between 10 am to 2 pm
  • Wear protective clothing in case you can’t avoid going outside
  • Practice regular skin checks while following the ABCDE rule
  • Seek medical care at the earliest sign of skin problems

How Can You Tell If a Sunspot is a Melanoma?

Although age spots aren’t harmful, melanomas are a different story.

Melanomas are a rare type of skin cancer, accounting for only 1% of all skin cancer cases. Despite this, melanomas have the most deaths of skin-related cancers. According to data from the American Cancer Society, there will be 99,780 new cases of melanomas in 2022, and 7,650 of them will result in death.

Despite its high fatality, when treated early, melanomas are highly curable. This is because the cancer cells are only present on the epidermis of the skin during the early phases of melanoma development.

It isn’t unusual to confuse melanomas and sunspots as they both appear as dark patches on the face and other spots of the body. Nevertheless, routine ABCDE checks can help you determine if your suspected sunspot is a melanoma.

The ABCDE rule is an acronym for Asymmetry, Border, Color, Diameter, and Evolving. It will tell you if your sunspot requires further medical attention. To identify if the discoloration on your skin is showing signs of possible skin cancer, check if your patches have:

  • Asymmetrical shapes
  • Irregular borders
  • More than one color
  • Are more than 6mm in diameter in size
  • Obvious changes in terms of appearance

ABCDE rule for the early detection of melanoma

Source: Birmingham Health Club

A doctor will need a small sample for a skin biopsy to provide an accurate diagnosis of melanoma.

Melasma is a similar-looking skin pigmentation disorder that can be mistaken for age spots or melanomas. Usually seen on the face, melasma looks like dark patches or temporary redness that commonly appears during a woman’s pregnancy. Often, it fades on its own over time or after giving birth.

Unlike melanomas, melasma and sunspots aren’t skin cancer but skin pigmentation disorders.

When To See a Doctor About Sunspots

Sunspots do not pose health risks, and people only really need to seek treatment for them for cosmetic reasons. If you wish to remove sunspots faster, you may wish to consult a dermatologist for treatment options such as chemical peels or laser treatment.

However, if your sunspots have been showing new characteristics that are consistent with the ABCDE rule, are causing discomforts such as itchiness, or are bleeding or expelling fluid, it is best to consult your doctor immediately.

How To Treat Sun Spots At Home

Here’s a list of home remedies you can try to treat sunspots:

  • Apply aloe vera plant or gels. It contains active compounds that diminish hyperpigmentation.
  • Dab green tea and black tea on your sunspots.
  • Consider soaps and creams that have kojic acid or glycolic acid.
  • Use oils and serums with Vitamin E and topical creams with Vitamin C because they have antioxidants that can lighten dark areas.
  • Apply apple cider vinegar combined with water.
  • Soak cotton balls in milk and apply them to your face. Milk contains lactic acid that helps lighten dark spots.

The Bottom Line on Skin Spots on Your Face

Sunspots do not present many health risks, but learning about them and how to distinguish them from melanomas will help you seek treatment early if your sunspot turns cancerous. Keep in mind that:

  • You get sunspots from sun exposure.
  • Sun protection matters. You can prevent sunspots if you use sunscreen and avoid going out at certain times of the day.
  • Laser therapy can get rid of your age spots.
  • Melasma can appear similar to sunspots and melanomas.
  • The ABCDE rule in skin checking will tell you if your sunspot is a melanoma.
  • Sunspots are non-cancerous, but melanomas are.
  • When treated early, melanomas are easily cured.

Consult your dermatologist immediately if you suspect that the discoloration on your skin shows melanoma symptoms.


  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/age-spots/symptoms-causes/syc-20355859
  2. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/melanoma-skin-cancer/about/what-is-melanoma.html
  3. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/melanoma-skin-cancer/about/key-statistics.html
  4. https://www.michelegreenmd.com/are-sunspots-permanent

Tick Removal and Treatment

The internet is littered with all kinds of folklorish advice for how to remove a tick. Some say you should apply heat to it so it suffocates and dies, while others suggest coating it with petroleum jelly so it slips off your skin.

But the truth is that none of these strategies are a safe way to go about removing ticks after a tick bite. So what’s the best way to remove ticks? Read on to find out.

Why is Tick Removal Necessary?

Ticks are bloodsucking parasites that feed on their hosts by attaching themselves to the host’s skin. When a tick bites you, it can transmit various kinds of protozoans, bacteria, and viruses that can cause debilitating diseases and health conditions like:

  • Lyme disease
  • Colorado tick fever
  • Tularemia
  • Anaplasmosis
  • Relapsing fever
  • Babesiosis
  • Tick paralysis
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever
  • Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness (STARI).

There are many different kinds of ticks and not all of them are carriers of diseases. But since you can’t know which tick will infect you by simply looking at it, it’s better to remove it as quickly as possible to reduce the chances of an infection.

Removing ticks will also prevent them from breeding and infesting your home.

It takes about 36 to 48 hours of attachment for a tick to pass on any diseases to you, so the longer it stays on your skin, the greater the likelihood of getting infected.

Get Ready for Tick Removal

Although tick removal is not a complicated process, you will need a few supplies before you get started. Grab:

  • A pair of clean pointy (fine-tipped) tweezers
  • Rubbing alcohol (soap and water is fine too)
  • A small jar or container
  • Antibiotic cream

You might also want to enlist the help of a friend or family member if the tick bite is in an area of your skin that you can’t easily reach.

How To Remove A Tick The Right Way

Once you have your supplies ready, it’s time to get down to work. Steady your hands, take a deep breath, and follow these steps for safe tick removal:

  1. Using the tweezers, grasp your skin’s surface near the tick’s head as close as possible.
  2. Pull the tick straight upward, applying steady pressure until it comes loose. Avoid twisting and turning because it won’t make removal faster or easier, but it may cause the tick to break. You can press down on the sides of the skin to ease any pinching sensation that you might feel.
  3. If the tick breaks, don’t fret. Just go back in and remove the rest of the tick’s mouth parts. And if you can’t get everything out, leave it alone. The tick’s mouth parts are not infectious without the rest of the tick to back them up. Your skin will reject the leftover bits as it heals.
  4. Place the tick and any broken parts in your jar or container. Never squash a tick because it may release pathogens.
  5. Once the tick is secured, clean the bite area, the tweezers, and your hands thoroughly with rubbing alcohol or soap and water. Apply an antibiotic cream to the bite area to minimize the risk of local infection.

Some Complications Associated with Tick Removal

As long as you know how to remove ticks safely and you do so on time (using the above steps) before the tick can transmit diseases to you, there shouldn’t be any complications for you to worry about.

The risk of getting infected or developing other problems arises when you fail to remove the tick correctly. In which case, you should see your doctor right away.

When To Contact Your Doctor

You should reach out or pay a visit to your health care provider if:

  • You aren’t able to completely get rid of the tick. If you can’t remove the tick or you suspect it has been attached to your skin for more than 24 hours, consult your doctor. The longer a tick stays glued to your skin, the greater the risk of infection and irritation.
  • The rash gets worse. It’s normal to see a small rash on the spot where the tick bit you, but it becomes a cause for alarm if the rash gets bigger or develops anywhere else. It could be a symptom of Lyme disease, so speak to your doctor immediately.
  • You encounter flu-like signs and symptoms. Getting a fever, headache, fatigue, chills, and muscle aches after a tick bite could point to a developing disease or condition.
  • You think the bite area is infected. Signs of an infection may include pain around the site, a change in skin color, or oozing from where the bite occurred.
  • You think a deer tick bit you. Deer ticks cause Lyme disease, so if you have been bitten by one, you will need to take antibiotics to fight off the disease.

What Happens After Removing Ticks?

After removing a tick with tweezers, you have two options:

  • Send a tick for testing. You’ll need to do tick testing to know whether the tick was carrying any pathogens that could have been transmitted to you. First, make sure the tick stays alive by adding a blade of glass to the sealed jar you kept it in. Then show it to your doctor or send it to the appropriate state agency for testing.
  • Get rid of a tick. You can safely discard a tick by flushing it down the toilet, drowning it in a jar containing soapy water or rubbing alcohol, or wrapping it tightly in tape before throwing it in your bin so it can’t escape.

Remove Ticks Safely!

Knowing how to remove a tick can save you a lot of stress, discomfort, and hospital bills you may incur to treat tick-borne diseases.

It’s important that you examine your body after spending time outdoors and extract any ticks attached to your skin as soon as possible to reduce the risk of infection rather than waiting for the ticks to fall off on their own.


  1. https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/removal/index.html
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/first-aid/first-aid-tick-bites/basics/art-20056671
  3. https://web.uri.edu/tickencounter/how-to-remove-a-tick/

I See My Pills Coming Out Whole in My Poop. Is This Normal?

Sometimes you may see some undigested pills in your stool. You might wonder if there is something wrong with your digestion, if you absorbed the pills, and whether your medication will work like it’s supposed to.

Don’t fret. Finding pills in your stool isn’t a sign of an unhealthy digestive system. Learn the possible reasons why your drugs are not dissolved and how to take pills effectively in this article.

Why Do My Pills Come Out Whole in My Poop?

There’s a list of possibilities on why you’re pooping out whole pills. The cause may differ for every person. It can be a digestive issue, or your medication wasn’t effective. Let’s break down the common causes of undigested pills in stool below!

Drug Coatings and Shells

Medications have different coatings and shells depending on the drug and its purpose. If you are taking “Extended Release” drugs that are purposely designed to be digested slower, chances are that your body has absorbed the content of the capsule but has not broken down its outer shell.

Extended Release capsules are usually taken orally and can last up to 8 – 12 hours in the body until fully absorbed. So, if you see undigested medication in your stool, these could be ghost pills, empty shells, and drug coatings.

If you are worried that you have ejected the drug, you can check if there is drug residue in the expelled shell.

Absorption Problems

There are some things that can lead to undigested capsules in your stool.

Intestinal Motility Disorder is the abnormal contraction of the intestine that prevents it from coordinating and functioning as normal. Medication absorption may pose some difficulties when your gut isn’t working as usual. If you notice you eject medication frequently, ask your doctor if this could be the cause.

Rapid Dysmotility is also a possibility. This is when your intestines contract faster and cause anything you ingest — including pills — to pass through your stool without proper absorption.

Improper Use of Medication

To maximize the efficiency of your medication, you must follow your prescription to a T. That means you cannot alter its form, over or underdose, or take drugs that aren’t prescribed to you.

Drugs come in different doses and forms. There are drugs that should only be taken before meals or after. Some can only be taken at a specific time or order. Some that cannot be digested along with other types of drugs.

The effectiveness of medications can be unique to each person as well, depending on the dosage and how compliant you are when following your physician’s directions.

If you don’t take your medication properly, you might encounter these unwanted effects:

  • Allergies
  • Organ damage
  • Undigested pills in stool
  • Infections

If you are unsure how to take your medication or if there are important things to note, ask your pharmacist or doctor to ensure that you’re taking your medication properly.

Certain Types of Medications Or Underlying Conditions

Certain types of medications can also cause your pill to come out whole in your stool. For example, drugs may come out of the body unprocessed if the intestines contract faster than normal. When this happens, the drugs and nutrients may pass through the digestive tract without being absorbed or digested. So, if you take a drug that speeds up your digestion or peristalsis, you may eject a pill undigested.

Some medical conditions can also cause you to eject an undigested tablet. For example, celiac disease causes malabsorption, preventing the intestines from absorbing nutrients and pills.

Should I Be Concerned When Pooping out Whole Pills?

When taking prescribed medications, the goal is to experience the entirety of the benefits of the drug — be it preventive or diagnostic.

However, if you see your pills coming out whole in your poop, it’s easy to question whether your body has absorbed any of its benefits or if its content is already swimming down the pipe.

Undigested capsules in stool can indeed raise concerns. Though it’s not serious, consult your physician and inform them of what happened in detail, especially if you believe the drug hasn’t been effective.

It might help to take photos of the pill in your stool or remove the pill and place it into a sealed zip-lock bag so your doctor can examine it.

How to Take Pills More Effectively?

Avoid pooping out whole pills with these tips:

  • Always take medicines with water. Help your gut absorb your medication properly by drinking water. Water aids in breaking down what’s in your stomach, including the pills you’ve taken.
  • Keep the medication guide. Follow your doctor’s prescription and the instructions in your medication packaging carefully. Keep the package insert so you can refer back to it later if you need to.
  • Be aware of medication side effects. If you are aware of your medication’s side effects, you’ll know what to expect. At the same time, be ready for first-aid treatments and inform your family if the side effects you are experiencing are severe so they can help you seek medical assistance.
  • Ask your pharmacist or doctor. Always consult your pharmacist or doctor before taking medication. Make sure to inform them of underlying medical conditions, allergies, and your medical history.

The Bottom Line on Undigested Medication in Stool

Although not an uncommon occurrence, undigested pills in your stool aren’t an experience that should be disregarded. If you see pills in your feces, it could be that.

  • The pills are not fully broken down when you consume them.
  • Something is happening that is causing the drug to pass through your intestines too quickly.
  • You are taking the drug incorrectly.
  • The pills are absorbed correctly, and you are simply noticing the capsule shells.

If you find pills in your stool, make sure to inform your doctor.


When To Seek Help For Your Sunburn

If you clicked on this article, you or a loved one is likely sunburned.

Sunburns are caused by prolonged sun exposure. Some sunburns will heal by themselves and do not require treatment, while other sunburns require immediate assistance.

Read on to learn why sunburns can be dangerous and when to seek help for your sunburn.

Why Sunburns Can Be Dangerous

Sunburns can cause severe pain and irritation in the affected areas. You may also experience other symptoms like swelling, dehydration, nausea, and fever.

Sunburns can increase the risk of skin cancer. A study by the American Association of Cancer Research showed that getting sunburned early in life leads to higher chances of skin cancer later in life. When you go out in the sun for prolonged periods of time, your skin absorbs the harmful UV rays of the sun. These rays damage your skin cells and cause a mutation in their DNA. This mutation can develop into cancer.

Your risk of skin cancer will be higher if you get frequent sunburns or if you spend prolonged periods of time outside without sun protection (sunscreen, shade, a hat, sunglasses, etc.)

What Mild, Moderate, and Severe Sunburns Look/Feel Like

Sunburns can be mild, moderate, or even severe. The severity of your sunburn depends on the skin damage and the depth and size of the burned area.

Symptoms Of Mild To Moderate Sunburns

If you have a mild sunburn, you may notice the following symptoms:

  • Redness (this can be more visible on lighter skin)
  • Swelling or blisters
  • Soreness
  • Skin tightness
  • A feeling of warmth when you touch the affected area

Some people may also experience headaches, fever, fatigue, and nausea. The affected skin might also peel off after a few days.

Symptoms Of Severe Sunburn

A severe sunburn penetrates beyond the outer layer of your skin. If you have a severe sunburn, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Dark red patches on the affected area
  • Shiny and moist-looking skin
  • Painful skin
  • Swelling and blisters over a large area
  • White or discolored skin in the affected areas

Severe sunburns can also lead to heat stroke. You may have heat stroke if you experience the following symptoms:

  • A high temperature above 103°  Fahrenheit
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Muscle cramps
  • Rapid breathing
  • Seizures

Heatstroke occurs when the body gets too hot and loses the ability to cool down. You must seek treatment immediately if you are experiencing heat stroke symptoms.

When To See A Doctor For Sunburn

You should immediately seek medical care from your doctor if:

The Sunburn Is Accompanied By Blisters Or Covers 20% Or More Of Your Body

If you have blisters or your sunburn is large, your doctor may recommend treating the inflammation and burn with medications, creams, or ointments.

You Experience Chills, Nausea, Dehydration, Or A Fever

If you experience chills, nausea, fever, or dehydration, you may have sun poisoning.

Sun poisoning is like an allergic reaction to the sun’s harmful UV rays. Sun poisoning can cause itchy rashes and hives that take several days to heal.

Your physician might prescribe ointments, gels, and topical steroids for sun poisoning rashes. Antihistamines can also help to reduce your body’s immune response to UV rays.

If you have a high fever accompanied by severe dehydration, your doctor may give you IV fluids.

Your Skin Shows Signs Of Infection

Blisters can cause your skin to peel off. If this happens, the layer underneath will get exposed to various germs. You should seek urgent care if you notice your blisters have turned red or yellow or if pus is oozing out of them.

Your doctor may administer antibiotics to treat your infection.

Don’t ignore the signs of infection, as it can lead to a life-threatening emergency if left untreated.

How To Treat Mild Sunburns At Home

You can treat mild to moderate sunburns at home most of the time. Here are some treatments you can try:

  • Get out of the sun as soon as possible. More sun exposure will lead to more severe burns.
  • Take a cold shower or apply a cool compress to cool your skin and reduce your body temperature.
  • Apply Calamine lotion or a moisturizer to reduce the pain and irritation.
  • Apply aloe vera-based gels and creams to treat any redness.
  • Drink lots of water to stay cool and prevent dehydration.
  • Take painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen to ease any pain.
  • Protect the affected areas from further exposure to the sun.

When treating a mild to moderate sunburn at home, make sure you avoid doing these things:

  • Putting ice or ice packs directly on the affected areas. Always use a cloth.
  • Poking or popping your blisters.
  • Scratching peeling skin.
  • Using petroleum jelly on sunburnt skin.
  • Wearing tight clothes over your sunburn.

Sunburn prevention is better than any sunburn cure available. Here are some tips to prevent sunburns:

  • Wear long sleeves to protect your skin from sun exposure.
  • Wear sunscreen and re-apply it to your skin every two to four hours. Reapply sunscreen if you get wet.
  • Wear a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses. Keep these in your car or bag so you have them when you need them.
  • Seek shade whenever you can.
  • Avoid spending time outside when the sun’s UV rays are high — usually, 10 am to 4 pm. UV rays are high if they are above 6-7.

The Bottom Line On Seeing A Doctor For Sunburn

Anyone who spends time outdoors during the day when UV rays are high is at risk of developing a sunburn. You can treat a mild burn easily at home by taking a bath in cool water, drinking lots of fluids, avoiding further sun exposure, and applying over-the-counter creams to the affected area.

Always seek medical treatment if your sunburn is severe, you have blisters, or you experience symptoms like chills, nausea, fever, or dehydration.


  1. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/sunburn/
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sunburn/expert-answers/sunburn-treatment/faq-20057815
  3. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/sunburn-severity#second-degree
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/warning.html

How Much Water Should I Drink Per Day? Is 8 Glasses a Fallacy?

Many health experts recommend drinking eight glasses of water per day. But there’s no one rule that fits all when it comes to your required water intake.

How much water you should drink depends on several factors like your health and where you live. Learn how much water is adequate for you and if you are drinking enough water in this article.

Why We Need To Drink Water

Drinking water has numerous health benefits. Here are some of the things water helps your body do:

  • It helps in waste removal through perspiration, urination, and bowel movements.
  • It helps you maintain a normal body temperature.
  • It protects sensitive tissue.
  • It lubricates and cushions your joints.
  • It aids in digestion, helping your body to absorb the nutrients in your food.

Your body constantly loses water through sweat, urine, and other bodily functions like breathing. Thus, drinking water is the only way to prevent dehydration and help your body function properly.

Note: Water makes up 40 to 70% of your body weight.

How Much Water Should You Drink Daily?

Your adequate daily water intake depends on your birth sex. Males require more water than females to support their higher body mass.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following daily fluid intake for healthy adults:

  • 15.5 cups (125 ounces or 3.7 liters) a day for men
  • 11.5 cups (91 ounces or 2.7 liters) a day for women

This recommendation includes the total fluid intake from all sources, not just water. Remember to include food and other non-water beverages when calculating how much water you drink daily.

Is “Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day” a Fallacy?

The idea that you should drink eight glasses of water a day is widely accepted as a fact. But it’s not a perfect guideline. Eight 8-ounce glasses of water may be too much water for some people and not enough for others.

How much water you should drink depends on several factors, including:

  • How much exercise you do. When you exercise, you sweat, and your body loses its fluids. Thus, you need to replace the lost fluids by drinking water.

It’s extremely difficult to calculate how much fluid you lose during physical activity. However, according to the American Journal of Sports Medicine, the more you exercise, the more fluids you lose. Thus, your fluid requirements increase as you exercise more.

  • Your environment. Where you live also impacts your daily water requirements. For instance, people who live in hot climates need to drink more water. That’s because you tend to sweat more if the humidity is high.

You also require more water if you live in a dry region because you are more prone to dehydration.

A 2016 study showed that staying hydrated improved the athletic performance of mountaineers in high altitudes. Thus, your daily water requirements also depend on the altitude of the place you live.

  • Your overall health. If you are ill, you might require more water than a healthy person. For example, you will lose water if you have diarrhea or vomiting. Even bladder infections lead to water loss as you tend to urinate more. Thus, you have to consume more water to stay hydrated.

Diabetic people also feel thirsty more often and have a higher fluid requirement than non-diabetics.

  • Whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Your fluid needs increase when you are pregnant or nursing your child. After all, you are meeting the water requirements of two or more individuals.
  • What you eat and drink. If you drink a lot of caffeinated beverages, you’ll have to drink more water as you will lose water through urination.

You also need more water if you consume lots of salty, sugary, and pre-prepared foods.

Alternatively, eating fresh fruits and vegetables keeps you hydrated, reducing your daily water intake requirements. Soup is another excellent food for hydration.

Can Your Daily Fluid Intake Come From Food and Non-Water Beverages?

It’s not just water that contributes to your body’s fluids. Most of the foods and beverages you consume help meet your body’s water requirements.

Many fruits and vegetables are packed with fluids that can help you stay hydrated — like watermelon.

Coconut water is also a very refreshing and hydrating option. The United States Department of Agriculture says that it contains 95% water. Even tea, coffee, and other beverages can hydrate you (though, as these are diuretics, they will also cause you to urinate frequently, leading to fluid loss).

Sodas rarely quench thirst, so you shouldn’t include them when counting your daily water intake. The added sugar in sodas can also lead to other health problems like diabetes.

How To Know If You Are Drinking Enough Water

You will know you are drinking enough water from your thirst levels and urine. Most people who don’t drink enough water will feel thirsty frequently and pass dark-colored urine. Hydrated people will pass light yellow or clear urine.

urine color chart shows how much water you should drink

Source: NHS

You can also check your hydration status by pinching the back of your hand. If you are well hydrated, your skin will bounce back immediately. Your skin will remain in place for longer if you are dehydrated.

You may also be drinking too little water if you notice you get frequent headaches, a dry mouth most of the time, kidney stones, and you feel sluggish.

Caution: Drinking too much water may lead to water intoxication. Water intoxication occurs when there is excess water in your cells. As a result, your cells swell up, which increases your blood pressure. You may also experience confusion and dizziness.

The Bottom Line On Water Intake

The advice “drink eight glasses of water per day” might not ring true for everyone. Your daily fluid requirements depend on several factors like your health, how much you exercise, whether or not you are pregnant or breastfeeding, and your environment.

Make sure you monitor your daily intake of fluids carefully. Drinking too little water can have serious consequences short-term and long-term.


  1. https://www.nhsinform.scot/campaigns/hydration
  2. https://www.everydayhealth.com/dehydration/hydration-calculator/
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256
  4. https://www.webmd.com/diet/what-is-too-much-water-intake


Can I Just Take Prilosec When I’m Having Heartburn?

If you live with heartburn symptoms that interfere with daily life, knowing about your treatment options is helpful.

Prilosec, which is available both over-the-counter and via prescription, is a medication option that probably comes to mind. But is it effective for occasional heartburn? Learn the answer below.

An Overview of Prilosec

Before jumping into whether Prilosec can be taken just when you have heartburn, it’s helpful to understand what this medication is. Prilosec is a brand-name version of the medication omeprazole, and it is available both over-the-counter and as a prescription. You’ve probably heard the over-the-counter version referred to as Prilosec “OTC.” Prior to its approval in an over-the-counter version, Prilosec was available via prescription only.

While Prilosec OTC is used to treat infrequent heartburn (something which does not necessarily require a doctor’s care), prescription Prilosec is prescribed to individuals under the care of a doctor for a medical condition. Both versions of the drug contain omeprazole.

Prilosec and Heartburn

If you have frequent heartburn, Prilosec can alleviate symptoms by reducing the production of stomach acid. It does this by stopping acid production in the active acid pumps within the stomach, effectively stopping acid at its source.

The makers of Prilosec recommend that the medication be taken to treat frequent heartburn, defined as two or more occurrences of heartburn in a week.

Can You Take Prilosec as Needed for Heartburn?

So, can you take Prilosec just on an as-needed basis when heartburn symptoms appear? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Prilosec was not designed to be used for occasional heartburn, nor is it intended to be taken to provide immediate relief. Some over-the-counter heartburn medications may be designed to provide quick relief for occasional heartburn, but Prilosec works a little differently.

Prilosec can take one to four days to provide its maximum effect, but many patients do see an improvement in heartburn symptoms within the first 24 hours after taking a dose of Prilosec. Since the medication can take a little time to work, it can’t be taken just when having heartburn.

How to Take Prilosec

Since Prilosec is not meant to provide immediate heartburn relief, it is taken for several days in a row instead of on an as-needed basis. People who have frequent heartburn (at least two episodes per week) should take Prilosec for 14-day courses of treatment. During the 14-day course, a person should take Prilosec each morning with a glass of water before eating anything. Prilosec is to be taken just once per day.

The makers of the medication do not recommend that a person take Prilosec for longer than 14 days at a time. After you have completed your 14-day course of treatment, stop taking Prilosec. You can resume taking the medication again in four months. Prilosec should not be taken for more than 14 days in a row or more often than every four months unless a doctor tells you to do so.

In addition to taking Prilosec only for frequent heartburn and never for longer than 14 days, it is important to avoid taking more than one pill per day. Prilosec is meant to provide 24-hour relief, and since it does not take immediate effect, you should not take additional pills.

Prilosec Side Effects

If you have frequent heartburn and are prepared to take Prilosec for 14 days, it’s important to be aware of the side effects. Generally, people who live with frequent heartburn find that the benefits of Prilosec outweigh the risks, but it is still helpful to know what to expect.

You may experience some of the following side effects when taking Prilosec for frequent heartburn:

  • Headache
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Upset stomach or stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Cough or other cold symptoms

If side effects become severe or do not go away, consult with your doctor.

Effectiveness of Prilosec

Since Prilosec is not intended for immediate heartburn relief, people may wonder if the medication is effective.

The good news is that researchers have conducted studies to ensure the effectiveness of this medication. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, about 50% of people who take Prilosec experience complete relief of heartburn symptoms within 24 hours, and a full 80% have no more than mild heartburn one day after taking the medication.

In addition to the findings above, study results showed that on both day one and day 14, Prilosec was more effective than a placebo pill for treating heartburn symptoms. The study authors reported that Prilosec is highly effective for alleviating frequent heartburn symptoms. What can be concluded from study results like these is that while Prilosec may not provide immediate heartburn relief, it does serve its intended purpose of providing ongoing relief of frequent heartburn symptoms.

The Bottom Line on Prilosec and Heartburn

If you’re looking for medication just to take when heartburn symptoms appear, Prilosec isn’t a suitable option. You cannot just take it when you’re having heartburn. Instead, Prilosec is taken in 14-day cycles, no more often than once every four months, to reduce stomach acid and alleviate frequent heartburn symptoms.

If you’re looking for immediate relief of occasional heartburn, talk to your pharmacist or doctor about other heartburn medications that are a better fit for your situation. If you need medication to take just when having heartburn, Pepcid, Zantac, Tagamet, and Axid may work for you and provide immediate relief, simply because they work differently than Prilosec does.


  1. https://www.fda.gov/about-fda/center-drug-evaluation-and-research-cder/questions-and-answers-prilosec-otc-omeprazole
  2. https://prilosecotc.com/en-us/article/faq
  3. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1365-2710.2004.00620.x

Can I Take My Blood Pressure Medication Only When Dizzy?

High blood pressure is often referred to as “the silent killer,” because, in many instances, it has no symptoms, or symptoms are so subtle that people don’t link them to blood pressure problems.

Despite this fact, some people may wonder if they can just take blood pressure medication when they have symptoms like dizziness. The answer is that even when you’re not feeling any obvious symptoms of high blood pressure, you still need to take your blood pressure medication. Learn why below.

Why You Can’t Just Take Medication When You’re Feeling Dizzy

High blood pressure often doesn’t come with obvious symptoms. If you do have high blood pressure, you might occasionally have symptoms like headaches or shortness of breath. Some people may also find that they notice they are dizzy when their blood pressure reaches an unsafe level.

On the other hand, some people have no symptoms at all. This means it is entirely possible for your blood pressure to be dangerously high, even if you don’t have symptoms like headaches or dizziness. The problem with only taking your blood pressure medication when you’re dizzy is that you may also have high blood pressure at times when you don’t have symptoms.

Beyond the fact that you don’t always have symptoms of high blood pressure, you must also consider that blood pressure medications work best when you take them following your doctor’s orders. Your doctor will likely give you instructions, such as taking your blood pressure medication once every morning, and it’s important to follow these instructions. Blood pressure medications are intended to be taken as prescribed instead of on an as-needed basis.

Stopping your blood pressure medications can be dangerous because high blood pressure is linked to numerous health problems, including heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, aneurysms, and kidney problems. Continuing to take your medications as prescribed reduces your risk of these complications.

When Blood Pressure Medication is Needed

Symptoms like dizziness aren’t a good indicator of when you’re in need of blood pressure medication, and since high blood pressure often comes without symptoms, you cannot rely upon waiting until you’re dizzy or showing other symptoms to take action. Not to mention, dizziness can sometimes be a sign of other health issues.

Follow your doctor’s recommendations instead of waiting until you’re dizzy to take blood pressure medication. If you notice unusual symptoms and have a history of high blood pressure in your family, it might be time to consider visiting the doctor to determine if your blood pressure levels are high.

Even if you don’t have symptoms, it’s important to have routine doctor’s visits to screen for blood pressure and other health indicators. If your blood pressure is higher than 130/80, your doctor might recommend that you start blood pressure medications. Sometimes, high blood pressure can be treated through lifestyle changes like getting more exercise and altering your diet. If your blood pressure is slightly elevated, your doctor may see if lifestyle changes lower your numbers before prescribing a medication.

That being said, if your blood pressure reaches 140/90 or higher, your doctor is likely to prescribe medications to lower your blood pressure. In this case, it’s important to take your medications exactly as your doctor prescribes them. You will probably need to take them daily, at the same time each day. If you have questions about your dosage, ask your pharmacist or doctor to ensure you are taking the correct dose at the correct times.

Do not stop taking your blood pressure medication without first talking to your doctor. Even if you don’t have symptoms, you must continue to take your medication as prescribed to avoid the dangers that come with untreated high blood pressure.

Side Effects of Blood Pressure Medication

If your doctor has prescribed blood pressure medication, it is because they believe that the medication will benefit you. They also expect that any side effects of the medication will be outweighed by the benefits that it brings to you.

When taking medications to control blood pressure, you might experience some of the following side effects:

  • Stomach problems
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Swelling of the legs and feet

There are multiple different blood pressure medications on the market, and your doctor will work with you to find the one that treats your high blood pressure with the fewest side effects. If you experience severe side effects, consult with your doctor, but do not stop taking your medications without speaking with your doctor.

How To Take Blood Pressure Medication

To summarize, you should follow the steps below to ensure you get the greatest benefit from your blood pressure medication:

  • Take the medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Take your medication in the correct dosage and at the correct time each day.
  • Do not stop taking your medication unless you have consulted with your doctor.
  • Take your medication regularly, as blood pressure medications are not intended to be taken “as needed.”
  • If you miss a dose, get back on track the next day.
  • Consider setting a reminder on your phone to take your medication if you are prone to forgetting.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about how to take your blood pressure medication.

The Bottom Line

Blood pressure medications should be taken exactly as your doctor prescribes and routinely. This means that you cannot just take your medication when you happen to feel dizzy. Sometimes, your blood pressure numbers may be elevated with no obvious symptoms or signs. This makes it critical that you continue to take your medications to keep blood pressure levels under control.


  1. https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/high-blood-pressure-the-silent-killer#:~:text=High%20blood%20pressure%20is%20often,attack%2C%20heart%20failure%20and%20stroke.
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/symptoms-causes/syc-20373410
  3. https://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/how-take-blood-pressure-medicine-properly-why-you-should
  4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/symptoms-causes/syc-20373410#:~:text=High%20blood%20pressure%20can%20cause,it%20can%20be%20life%2Dthreatening.
  5. https://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/how-know-need-high-blood-pressure-drugs
  6. https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/medicines.htm