Pharmacist Karin busts myths: The worst thing we can do when having a fever is to take a cold shower

Karin Marček Malenovská
Karin Marček Malenovská

Nowadays, the topic of health is the subject of constant interest and diverse discussions. With the development of medicine and pharmacology, new drugs and treatment procedures are entering the market. Unfortunately, along with expertise, false ideas about how to treat ourselves when it comes to illnesses, also emerge. With pharmacist Karin Marček Malenovská, we have decided to explore and verify the reality behind the most popular tips and tricks we hear almost every time a disease occurs. Do we believe facts or myths?

Karin, what do you do?

I live in two professional worlds, since I focus on scientific research, especially on the impact of physical activities on our bodies. Furthermore, I explore the physiology of exercise and also the molecular mechanisms that are triggered within our bodies during exercise.

Karin Marček Malenovská

Karin Marček Malenovská

The second world is the pharmaceutical one. I’m a trained pharmacist and I enjoy educating myself in the field of drug usage. Moreover, I share my knowledge through my Instagram profile, where I focus on such topics.

What are the most common myths in pharmacy you encounter daily?

There is truly a countless number of myths in pharmacy. One them are, for example, myths spread about treating fever. One mistake we make is taking medication too soon. When dealing with fever, it’s important to reduce body temperature to a bearable level at which we are comfortable and can endure it. In an unhealthy state, our goal is not to reach our normal body temperature, as many people think. Therefore, if someone feels comfortable with a temperature of 38.5 degrees during illness, we don’t necessarily need to take any medication.

Fever is actually a very helpful tool in fighting illnesses as it’s a mechanism our body uses effectively against viruses and bacteria. By using medication, we lower this immune weapon. Of course, it’s appropriate to take medication when necessary, and they often save us, but it’s important to know how and when to use them.

Another myth about fever is related to cold showers. A cold shower causes blood vessels, for example in the extremities, to constrict because it reacts to the cold stimulus and tries to preserve heat in vital organs. Consequently, our body fights this sensation and paradoxically begins to raise its temperature again.

Karin Marček Malenovská

Karin Marček Malenovská

During fever, we are often advised to “sweat the illness out”, for example, by consuming hot drinks. Have you ever considered that we drink hot beverages in winter when we want to warm up, but also during illness when we’re trying to lower our body temperature? It’s counterproductive, just like excessive covering with blankets. Our body releases heat through evaporation. When we cover ourselves, heat has nowhere to evaporate, and it’s trapped under the blanket, which can even worsen our condition.


What are the latest trends in pharmacy?

Karin Marček Malenovská

Karin Marček Malenovská

I’m not sure if we have any freshly newest ones, but there are definitely trends that have been around for a while. For example, collagen, which women use for almost everything, from burning calories, to reducing wrinkles, to fighting cellulite. If all of this were true, the products wouldn’t need as much advertising as they receive. Similar cases include various green foods like barley and chlorella, which are also attributed with many revolutionary effects, but haven’t been scientifically proven.

I am sure there’s no one who hasn’t heard of detox. Detox doesn’t work with supplements, but with our own organs, such as the liver and kidneys. As long as a person has these two organs, they detoxify sufficiently every day and don’t need to spend money on overpriced supplements.

Can food cure?

A balanced and regular diet is the key to success, especially in preventing multiple diseases. In recent years, there has been an increase in the incidence of lifestyle diseases, for which we can blame our own unhealthy lifestyle. An unhealthy lifestyle reflects on our health, and thus changing our lifestyle, such as having a rational and varied diet or exercising, is the best investment in our future.


One direct example is the so-called “elderly diabetes.” It’s diabetes caused by an unhealthy lifestyle. Age itself is not a disease, and it’s up to us which path we choose for aging. Healthy aging can indeed be achieved.

Are there more women or men in pharmacy?

Even during school, we had a much higher percentage of women than men. Recently, it has started to balance out a bit, but still, women lead. However, this isn’t just in pharmacy, but also generally in biomedical research. In Slovakia, we have many talented female scientists who are truly great. However, we lack them in higher leadership positions, but that’s because women often go on maternity leave, for example.

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