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Acid Reflux Caused By Too Much Acid In The Stomach? Old Wives’ Tales UNCOVERED

We’ve all heard them — boiled Coca Cola with ginger for coughs? Green snot = bacterial infection, yellow = viral infection. Grandmother’s remedies, old wives tales, whatever you may call them - is there really any truth behind them?

Coke + Ginger – a good remedy for coughs?

A common remedy in Asia for a cough is to boil Coke with ginger and lemon, and to drink it hot. It certainly tastes better than the usual cough syrups but is it really an effective remedy?

To understand why Coca Cola is used, let’s talk about its history. The most popular soft drink in the world was created in 1886 by Dr. John Pemberton, an American pharmacist. The original ingredients were kola nuts and coca leaves, both of which have health benefits.

Flickr: Robyn Lee

Kola nuts are native to Africa, contain caffeine and help boost the immune system and protect the respiratory system. Coca leaves (yes, the raw material from which cocaine is derived) also has legal uses like flavouring Coke (cocaine-free extract is used) and can relieve respiratory tract issues like colds and asthma. It’s probably due to these attributes, that Coke became an ingredient for a homemade cough cure.

Today’s recipe for Coca Cola is different from the original. Kola nuts are no longer used, which is why you won’t find it on the label. Besides the usual sugar and flavourings, the actual recipe remains a trade secret. Just one can (12 fl. oz. / 355ml) contains a staggering 38g of sugar usually in the form of high-fructose corn syrup, and the fact is consuming too much sugar hampers the immune system.

Why this drink works is due to the addition of ginger and lemon, as both of them have fantastic natural benefits including being effective anti-inflammatories, aiding in digestion and boosting the immune system, which in turn speeds up recovery. Why not skip the Coke and go for a hot lemon ginger tea instead?


Green snot = bacterial infection; yellow = viral infection

We’ve all heard this one and maybe been guilty of telling our kids that they’re really ill when they blow out that gooey green stuff! Fact is snot colour doesn’t indicate whether it’s a bacterial or viral infection.

Mucus varies from clear to yellow and green depending on the length of the infection and what illness you’re suffering from. The colour comes from a type of infection-fighting white blood cell. With a cold or flu, mucus starts off as clear, then begins to darken as it thickens.

Looking at what comes out after you blow your nose isn’t going to tell you what’s really going on. Studies show that green or yellow mucus is more common in certain bacterial infections; but it’s not a sure sign so don’t assume you’ll need antibiotics. Clear mucus can indicate a sinus infection whereas the common cold can turn it green.

If you’re unwell and have been for a few days, see a doctor. Don’t assume the severity or what type of illness you have based on the colour of your tissue contents.


Is heartburn or acid reflux caused by the stomach producing too much acid?

No. A common misconception is that an overly acidic stomach causes acid reflux. The overproduction of gastric acid is actually a rare condition. The most common cause of heartburn is a damaged or deteriorated oesophageal sphincter, which allows the contents of the stomach to reflux up into the oesophagus.

Many also suffer from the underproduction of stomach acid — when there’s not enough acid to break down food fully. This causes food to stay in the stomach for too long, allowing it to ferment and causing pressure to build up. The only passage it has for release is to go up the oesophagus causing heartburn.

Over-the-counter antacids and acid reducers only help with the symptom, but can cause more damage when they are used too frequently.


My child has a fever. It’s better to keep him warm to sweat it out to bring down the temperature

This is another myth. A fever is an attempt by your body to control and fight an infection, and occurs when the immune system releases chemical substances that trigger the hypothalamus to boost the body’s core temperature. As a guide, a fever is when rectal temperature reaches or exceeds 38?. For oral temperature it’s 37.5? and for underarm, 37.2?.

The most important thing to do is to ensure your child is comfortable and that the temperature is kept under control. Bundling up or getting under the covers may feel comfortable, but there’s a high chance temperatures will increase causing discomfort and possibly causing the fever to reach dangerous levels.

Tips for fever management:

  1. Liquids play an essential role so ensure your child drinks lots of water to prevent dehydration
  2. A lukewarm bath can help lower body temperature
  3. Use a damp washcloth / sponge and dab the the hot skin on the face, chest, back and legs
  4. Follow up on the skin-cooling procedure above and cover your child  with a lightweight sheet or blanket to prevent chills