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Tips for Consumers: Summer Medical Quackery

Tips for Consumers
Summer Medical Quackery

Now that summer is finally in full swing, many folks in the Hagerstown area are frustrated by those extra pounds that they planned to take off or their desire to get a quick tan. They're seeing ads that promise quick, effortless results.
Constant ads in tabloids, radio, and late night infomercials sell useless (or even harmful) products or treatments to lose weight. Despite all the hype, the facts have never changed. The only way to effectively lose weight is to reduce intake of fats and calories, coupled with increasing activity to burn up the body's own fat reserves. No drug, crime, body wrap or machine can guarantee permanent weight loss. Nothing can "melt away" fat. And contrary to so many claims, there are no "spot reducing" products that can "thin" just your thighs, waist or any other part of your body. In fact, some of the products sold by these quacks may lead to serious health problems.
Exercise gadgets need to be used carefully to prevent possible injury. Diet pills can be addictive and cause side effects, and body wraps can restrict blood flow, cause skin irritations and even lead to dehydration and heat exhaustion.
As for tanning, no kind of tan is without risk--whether it's from the sun, a sun lamp, a tanning bed, or a tanning pill. The longer you sit in the sun or under artificial light, the greater your chances of developing skin cancer, premature skin wrinkles, or suffering from cataracts and retinal damage. The greatest protection you can get from the sun (other than staying out of it) is by using a sunscreen with a sun protection facto (SPF) of 15 or greater. Bug even the highest SPF won't block all of the damaging rays.
Those tanning pills are especially questionable. The ads may claim they give you "a rich, golden bronze, natural looking tan"; but the Food & Drug Administration has found that the pills produce a distinct orange tinge on the skin and may leave fatty deposits in the blood, skin, and liver.
Avoid "quack" advertising which uses words like "miracle," "breakthrough," "secret remedy," and "clinical studies prove." Money back guarantees from such outfits may be useless since the companies often disappear. If the exercise gadget looks great in a TV infomercial, chances are the same item is available in local stores. Go try it for yourself before buying.

Always contact the BBB to check out legitimate businesses. Visit their web site, or give them a call 24 hours a day at 410-347-3992. If you have a complaint, use the web site or write them at: BBB, 1414 Key Highway, #100, Baltimore, MD 21230. Their office serves Hagerstown and all of Washington County.

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