All posts by Shreya Thiagarajan

Does licking your lips make them drier?

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Photo from VectorStock

Shreya Thiagarajan

Chapped lips can be unsightly and they can hurt.   When your lips are dehydrated, it can be tempting to lick and moisten them. The effect is  temporary and might make things worse.

Licking your lips coats them in a layer of your saliva, which contains enzymes and chemicals used to digest food in your mouth. These enzymes can lead to additional dryness.

When you reach for the lip balm, try to avoid those with potentially irritating ingredients like parabens, alcohol, and fragrances. To make the most out of your lip balm, choose products with SPF, which protects your skin from sun damage, and ceramides, which are fats that help lock in moisture.


Apple Cider Vinegar

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Image from Healthline

Shreya Thiagarajan

In a world of weight loss tricks suggested on the internet there is a new fad — the apple cider vinegar (ACV) diet. It is said that drinking a teaspoon of ACV diluted with water either before or after your meals helps you lose weight more easily. Though its proponents hail it as a simple and effective way to shed a few pounds, does it really work?

There is limited science to direct us. One 2009 study of limited quality with a sample size of 175 people found that those who consumed ACV had lower levels of certain fats called triglycerides in their blood. Another small and limited study suggested drinking ACV before meals made you feel fuller so you would avoid overeating.  

ACV can harm tooth enamel if not diluted. ACV can also disrupt the activity of certain drugs like insulin and diuretics, which might affect potassium levels. ACV is safe to consume when diluted and when it is not taken in conjunction with other medication. It’s not clear that ACV can help you be healthy and achieve a healthy weight.


Catching a cold from the rain

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Shreya Thiagarajan

Remember when mom warned you not to go out in the rain or you’d catch a cold? Most of us probably grabbed a raincoat before leaving, but did you ever wonder whether it was actually true? It’s difficult to sort out in regions (like most of the US) where the rainy season corresponds with cold and flu season.   

A cold is caused by a virus, which not influenced by rain. However, certain cold viruses (e.g. Rhinovirus) spread more easily in the winter because they function better at low temperatures. Cold weather correlates with colds but rain cannot cause you to catch a cold.

To limit your chance of catching a cold, wash your hands or sanitize them after touching things that others with a virus may have touched.  To limit spreading the cold, wear a mask, sterilize your hands, cough into your elbow, and–if possible–don’t go to work or try to work at home when you have a cold.