Pharmacists reveals 4 health products that are a COMPLETE waste of money – and what to prioritise instead | The Sun

WHEN it comes to buying health products, it can get pretty overwhelming.

Pharmacy shelves and websites are often filled with hundreds of well-marketed items in bright, aesthetically pleasing packaging.

This can often make it tricky to work out what's actually worth your buck.

Pharmacists Angela Dori, from the US, and Mike Hewitson and Thorrun Govind, from the UK, have revealed what products are a waste of your hard-earned cash, and what to buy instead.

1. Avoid: cough medicines

There is very little evidence to suggest that cough syrup works well, Angela said.

In fact, many studies show it to be no more effective than a placebo.

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In a video shared on TikTok, the pharmacist from California, said: "Use lemon and honey to help a cough instead."

According to the NHS, the sweet concoction won't cure your scratchy throat, but it might ease some of the symptoms (for a fraction of the price).

The drink could set you back as little as £1.30.

An 340g bottle of Aldi everyday essentials clear honey costs just 75p, and a four-pack of lemons from the budget supermarket will only set you back 55p.

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Meanwhile, cough medicines at Boots can range from £11 (BronchoStop cough Syrup – 240ml) to £1.99 (Boots glycerin and blackcurrant linctus – 200ml).

Instead: hot water, honey and lemon

2. Avoid: branded medicines

There is a big misconception that – when it comes to medicines – expensive is better.

Mike Hewitson, a pharmacist based in Somerset, said: "I generally advise people to use unbranded products which are often as effective as the branded products, but cheaper," he said.

"With the cost of living crisis I think this is something people should know," he added.

TV pharmacist, Thorrun Govind suggested people make the following drug switches to make their medicine shop that bit nicer on the purse.

Switch Gaviscon double action heartburn and indigestion liquid mint flavour – 300ml for Sainsbury's heartburn and indigestion liquid – 500ml, which cost £9.75 and £6 respectively.

And when you have a cold, instead of splashing out £5 on Lemsip cold and flu max sachets, opt for Tesco's own brand max strength cold and flu sachets for £3.

Instead: unbranded medicines

3. Avoid: Cold sore creams

There is nothing worse than the sense of dread you feel when you know a cold sore is lurking just under your skin.

It's sore, irritating and you know exactly how obvious it'll look once it erupts.

But according to Angela, there is no point in rushing to your nearest pharmacy to purchase some preventative cream .

"All the creams do is shorten the cold sore's life by a day," she explained.

However, studies have found they can also reduce the severity of symptoms somewhat – so if you're in agony the treatment might still be worth it.

For them to be able to work, they have to be applied to the affected area every two to three hours during the daytime.

The NHS recommends taking paracetamol or ibuprofen to ease pain and swelling.

Instead: painkillers

4. Avoid: intimate wipes

So-called feminine hygiene products – which include different types of intimate wipes – are popular with women all over the world.

But Angela said these handy items can be very bad for your health – making them a complete waste of money.

"They contain preservatives and fragrances which can cause [vulva] itching."

Despite the plethora or female hygiene products now available to buy, the female genital area needs no such bells and whistles to remain clean.

According to the NHS, the vagina "is designed to keep itself clean with the help of natural secretions (discharge)".

One study found the intimate wipes was also tied with a twofold risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs).

The US pharmacist said, most cases, your vulva is best cleaned with just water – no soap necessary.

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If you do want to use a product, the NHS advises using plain, unperfumed soaps or an emollient.

Instead: water

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