Whether you've heard them from your neighbors, friends or even your own parents, there are myths surrounding kids' health issues that have been around for years. While these myths might be common fodder, continued belief in them when it comes to your child's health can be a cause of needless worry, or even downright dangerous. We spoke with pediatricians and experts to get the real facts behind these common issues, so you can be as safe and prepared as possible when it comes to your little patient.
MYTH: Fever Is a Sign That Something Is Terribly Wrong
While a fever is a sign that a child is sick and fighting an infection, it does not rank high on a doctor's list. “Breathing pattern, hydration, hours awake and crankiness all outrank fever in importance among things we want to know about a sick child,” says Dr. Anatoly Belilovsky, a pediatrician based in Brooklyn. Fever can be one component of illness, but it doesn’t tell everything. That being said, always take your child to the doctor if you feel something is wrong, if your child has a fever spike, or his fever has not gone down after a couple of hours.
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Kids in Daycare Get Sick More Often
This one might actually be true, but there’s a catch: “While it may seem that kids in daycare get sick more often, it's actually a good boost to their immune system,” says Dr. Greissman. Exposure to common viruses help kids develop natural antibodies, thereby boosting their immune system. They’re going to be exposed to viruses sooner or later so whether it happens in day care, kindergarten or later in life, it doesn't really matter.
MYTH:Vaccines Cause Autism
Belilovsky believes vaccinations are the only way to keep your child safe from serious diseases such as measles, diphtheria, pertussis, rubella and mumps. “Not only is there no evidence for [vaccinations causing autism], but my own experience points in the absolute opposite direction: With the latest figures suggesting 1 in 85 rate of autism in the general population, I have seen, among fewer than 50 unvaccinated children in my practice, 3 definite cases of autism.”
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MYTH:Asthma Can Come and Go
“Asthma acts like a hostile submarine that surfaces to fire torpedoes but does not leave the area between attacks,” says Belilovsky. Those children with asthma (to a certain severity) need to be on appropriate medication to prevent attacks, and parents need to understand the tools to predict attacks. Both of these require an ongoing discussion with your physician.
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