Sometimes we worry about potential threats to our health which in reality are less risky to us than other, more critical issues. Here are a few of these unrealistic concerns:

1. Ebola: Worldwide about 17,00 affected with 2,000 deaths. In the United States 2 people have died from this.  Contrast, as an example, the 2 Ebola deaths with the 300,000 deaths from smoking each year. You are much more likely to die driving to your doctor or to the hospital to find out if you have Ebola than from Ebola.

2.GMO food: This stands for genetically modified food, which requires much less pesticides than non modified food. No deaths to date have been reported. Sure, there is a potential for environmental harm, but contrast this with the damage to the environment and to humans from pesticides, many of which are known carcinogens. To fight world hunger, organic food (which most of the world’s population can’t afford and can’t be grown in sufficient quantities) just won’t do the trick.

3.Vitamins: We Americans spend billions yearly on vitamins and worry that we aren’t taking in enough. Unfortunately, for the vast majority of us, additional intake of vitamins in the form of pills has not been shown to prevent aging, reduce diseases or in fact do anything positive except for the shareholders of the companies making the vitamins. This is not to say that vitamins aren’t important, but rather it is much better to consume these vitamins through a healthy diet loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables rather than in the tablet form.

4.Work: Americans take on the average fewer vacation days off than any other industrialized nation. Yes, we want work hard and do our best, but vacation is important to help us clear our minds and thus work better. Even more important, lack of sleep has been associated with increased risks for cancer, heart disease, depression  and high blood pressure.

5. Contact with AIDS sufferers: There is absolutely no risk of contracting HIV by sharing food or water with HIV sufferers. Much more serious are the risks associated with not washing hands after going to the bathroom, being in contact with young children ( who touch and share everything- a Petri dish if you will) or being in the same room as someone with influenza, tuberculosis or other contagious diseases.

6.Not treating everything with antibiotics: Antibiotics work only for bacterial infections. Colds are caused by viruses so antibiotics will not work, yet you will believe they do because you got better after taking a course of them. However, you would have gotten better anyways without the expensive and toxic drugs. Limiting antibiotics is a good not a bad  thing.