3Get Your Flu Shot and Avoid a Winter Full of Vomiting
What You've Heard
The flu is generally associated with nausea, vomiting and other digestive unpleasantness. When Michael Jordan scored 39 points while suffering from vomiting and exhaustion, the game was nicknamed "the flu game." When the first President Bush vomited on the Japanese Prime Minister in 1992, his spokesman explained that doctors were certain "That it's a simple case of the flu."
And then a cross-dresser smothered him to death by way of apology.
It's a little strange that medicines like NyQuil and DayQuil advertise themselves as "cold & flu relief." But we're not complaining. Cold and flu seasons overlap, so it works out for us that they've figured out how to treat a stuffy nose and an upset stomach with the same over-the-counter mind eraser.
If you're experiencing stomach-related mayhem normally associated with the "stomach flu," you should know that according to people who went to medical school for seven years, the stomach flu is not actually a thing.
So stop being all dramatic.
If your stomach has ever behaved like a violent, malfunctioning compression engine, chances are it was something called gastroenteritis, which can be caused by anything from a virus to food-borne parasites. Michael Jordan didn't have the flu during the flu game. Doctors at the time diagnosed him with gastroenteritis and thought it was probably caused by food poisoning. The word "flu" was never mentioned by anyone who had been to medical school, but it became known as the flu game because that's how people have been referring to that collection of symptoms for years.
"Your toes have turned gangrenous and fallen off? That's what we doctors call 'gross.'"
This might seem like hair splitting, until you consider that we're using the same word for two deadly diseases that require completely different treatments. The real flu is primarily respiratory, and tends to feel like the cold on steroids. It can also lead to pneumonia, which can be fatal if you're in a Third World country or just have shitty health care. Meanwhile, correctly identifying gastroenteritis and treating it properly is the only surefire way to keep from shitting yourself to death. If you find yourself sliding into first when you feel something burst, and you go for the NyQuil because it says "flu" on the label, your best case scenario is green vomit that tastes like hell-flavored schnapps.
Another way that this myth bites us in our asses is with our understanding of the flu shot. People who get a flu shot and then come down with a stomach bug will assume that the flu shot didn't work. This is a scenario that's happening often enough to warrant official measures and awareness campaigns. And yet we still use the word "flu" when referring to a deadly illness that has nothing to do with the flu, because it's easier to pronounce, and because Gatorade probably couldn't have run an ad campaign on the 15th anniversary of the "vomiting with explosive diarrhea game."
"Is it in you? Soon it won't be."
2You Shouldn't Let Someone Who's Had a Concussion Fall Asleep
What You've Heard
There are a few things most people know about concussions. First, when they wave a little flashlight pen in your eyes, they do something differently. Second, you might get a little sick to your stomach. If your second set of eyelids don't blink correctly and you get hit in the head so hard that your stomach gets upset, that adds up to the biggest, most important thing we all know about concussions: If you go to sleep with one, you don't wake up. That's why when Dwight smacked his head in The Office, Jim had to keep him awake by spraying him in the face with a water-filled Windex bottle. It's also why doctors have to try and evaluate the mental health of a screaming toddler because his mom kept him up for 26 hours straight after he smacked his head trying to walk down the stairs with his diaper around his ankles.
"Ah, I see the problem. This child's mother is a complete goddamn idiot."
Concussions happen when your brain smacks against the inside of your skull. It's a pretty violent injury, and symptoms can show up immediately or weeks later. One of the primary symptoms of a concussion is fatigue. This is not your body's way of playing a cruel trick on you. Your body is experiencing fatigue in order to tell you that your brain needs rest. Rest is, in fact, one of the best possible ways to treat a concussion.
And, by that logic, concussions are one of the best ways to get your kid to sleep.
Nothing about a concussion interferes with your ability to sleep or wake up. If you know someone who banged her head and wants to take a nap, you are not helping matters and in fact are most likely making her much, much worse by keeping her awake. Presumably, this myth was started by people who are unable to differentiate between victims of head trauma and people who are black-out drunk, aka other people who are black-out drunk. The symptoms are all about the same: nausea, exhaustion and an inability to put a coherent sentence together.
But in reality, your concussed friend needs immediate medical attention, and if she's completely incoherent, your black-out drunk friend probably needs medical attention, too, or at least some Taco Bell.
And you can witness that flu/gastroenteritis thing firsthand.