Parenting Blog Post on Pediatric Health

Can be found at Today.com

Published May 2019 for Rick G.  

Zac is an excellent author and a pleasure to work with. Delivered a terrific article incredibly fast!”

New Parent? Old Wive’s Tales

True or false: Your child’s teething may cause fever and other symptoms including diarrhea and ear ache

False!

Really? I feel like I’m on Mythbusters or something. These miscellaneous symptoms associated with teething are just one of many “old wive’s tales” that still hang around. Myths around teething actually started near the beginning of humanity. In ancient times, teething was considered the cause of seizures, rashes, and even death! Myths continued to develop and change until a study in 1992verified that there are no symptoms associated with teething (other than growing teeth, of course!) So – why the heck is this important? When your child is showing fever, irritability, diarrhea, or any other symptom while teething – you may want to pay more attention to it than just chalking it up as “a symptom of teething.”

True or false: Infant formula needs to be made with sterilized water

Somewhat false

In the 1960s and 70s pediatricians began to recommend washing bottles with hot soapy water, and just using tap water to make formula. Over the next several years, studies showed no increase in disease among children taking formula with tap water compared to sterilized water. However, many pediatricians still recommend using sterilized (boiled) water for infants under three months or if the water is not retrieved from a municipal source.

True or false: Eating sugar causes our kids to be extra hyper

False

Okay, this one can’t really be false, right? What about that “sugar rush” we’ve always referred to? Many pediatricians agree (and studies show) that there is no increase in activity related to sugar consumption. In fact, it often times produces the opposite effect (fatigue) because of the way our bodies process the sugars.

True or false: Children’s vitamins and other food supplements are absolutely necessary

Somewhat False

But what about our picky eaters? How do they get all the nutrients they need when they don’t eat anything? If your mom is like my mom, then unfortunately she’s probably right again when she says: “If they’re hungry, they’ll eat.” Picky or not, just make sure you have food available for your child and he or she will get what they need. In fact, our bodies naturally crave the nutrients we’re lacking. As long as your child has been exposed to the taste or smell of a type of food that contains the nutrients we need, then their bodies will crave that item when needed.

That being said, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends Vitamin D supplements for “Infants who are exclusively or partially breastfed…” Other supplements may also be recommended by your pediatrician.

True or false: A child’s fever is extremely dangerous and should be treated as aggressively as possible

Somewhat False

This continues to be one of the most popular myths in pediatrics. Many people (myself included until about child #3) believe that calming the fever ASAP is the MOST important thing when your child is sick. Well, we learned how wrong this myth was when Ava (now 4) was diagnosed with RSV and bronchiolitis when she was 2. Many fevers are actually helpful. A fever is our body’s response to an attack on our immune system. If you fight the fever, you shut down the natural immuno-response and, therefore, allow the disease to grow more freely. DISCLAIMER: There are still many fevers that are dangerous and may require rapid treatment. All fevers over 103 are serious and should be treated, and any fever associated with a bacterial infection should be treated as well.

Interested in whether or not the myth you’re hearing is true? Sites like OpenMD, HealthyChildren.org and FamilyDoctor.org are some really helpful sources that can help you get the RIGHT answer for taking care of your child. Lastly, I am most certainly NOT a licensed pediatrician so please make sure you always ask a licensed physician any questions you may have before treating your child.

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