When The Best Treatment Is No Treatment

HEALTH: doctor over cadceus and heart rate
This may surprise you, but some illnesses and injuries don't require a doctor's care - and doing nothing is the best thing you could do for them, according to Early Show medical contributor Dr. Mallika Marshall.

Marshall stresses that, if you have ANY doubt, you should of course consult your doctor but, for several conditions, time is probably the best healer.

Marshall's list:


We (physicians) can help, but what we would do to help, you could do for yourself at home. Rib fractures are quite common - usually after a fall, hitting the kitchen counter a certain way, playing sports, or even from violent coughing. The bad news is there isn't much you can to do help a rib fracture heal more quickly. The good news is, they heal quite well on their own in six to eight weeks.

What you want to do in the meantime is control the pain. An over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agent is your best choice, one such as ibuprofen, aspirin or naprosyn. And if the pain is really bad, your doctor can write you a prescription for a stronger pain medicine. But you don't need a cast and usually don't need to see an orthopedic surgeon.


You get food poisoning by eating food or drinking a liquid contaminated with bacteria, viruses or parasites. The most common symptoms are vomiting and diarrhea, which help rid your body of the germs. And in most cases, this will do the trick.

You usually don't need to take medications, and in some cases, drugs such as anti-diarrheal pills can make matters worse. If the symptoms persist or you have bad stomach pains, bleeding or fever, you need to call your doctor.


Have you had this before? You look in the mirror and it looks like you're bleeding in the white of your eye. It looks awful, but doesn't cause any pain or discomfort? What you probably have is a broken blood vessel, or sub-conjunctival hemorrhage. It can happen after a cough or sneeze or after rubbing your eye. And there's nothing you need to do to help it heal. It usually goes away in a couple of weeks.


It's not usually a big deal. The eardrum is a thin membrane that separates the ear canal from the inner parts of the ear. It can rupture fairly easily, usually from a middle ear infection, which makes it common in young kids. Sometimes loud noises or pressure or trauma can do it, too. You'll probably have decreased hearing in that ear, and maybe some drainage. You should probably see a doctor to get the correct diagnosis and perhaps an antibiotic if there's an infection. Ruptures usually heal on their own in a few weeks, though if it's large, it may need patching by a physician.


This is quite painful, but there's really not much you can do if your fingernail or toenail tears off. You can put a topical antibiotic ointment on it to help prevent infection and cover the wound, but that's about all you can do.