Dr. Shapiro completed his undergraduate education at UC San Diego, earning a B.S. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology, and a B.A. in Political Science. He furthered his education at UCLA where he earned a Masters Degree in Public…
10 Misconceptions Parents Have About Their Child's Health
Posted in Parenting Big K... by Dr. Jeremy F. Shapiro on Feb 12, 2013
Now keep in mind these are not absolutes, but certainly the list that follows has evolved from some recurring themes I’ve seen over the years in my practice. And so in no particular order:
1. “My son has outgrown his asthma so he doesn’t need the inhaler anymore.” Yes, many children may outgrow their wheezing or asthma tendencies from their toddler years but this doesn’t mean they won’t ever wheeze again. It may be 1 year later or even 3 years later, but a certain cold might trigger a wheezing episode in the future so best not be surprised if that occurs.

2. “I’m worried my son and daughter will pass back-and-forth the same cold to each other.” That should not happen because once a child has antibodies (part of the body’s immune system to fight off infections) to a specific cold they should be able to fend off the same illness (at least in the near future). Now what typically happens is Johnny gives his sister the cold, he gets better but then gets a different cold 2 weeks later at school and that he can then pass on to his sister.

3. “My daughter got sick because she didn’t wear her jacket in the rain.” Yes and no on this one. Rain (or even the cold) doesn’t cause the infection but what happens is when the body tries to work hard to overcome the elements (rain, cold, etc.), it weakens the immune system to fight off illnesses that may be circulating…and that’s how a child may get sick on those cold winter days.

4. “My son just recovered from the flu and so he doesn’t need the flu vaccine.” This is the one I have continued to hear over the past few weeks. The short response here is: not true. Because there are often at least 2 circulating strains of the flu each season, the recommendation is to still get the flu vaccine even after recovering from one strain of the flu.

5. “My daughter can’t have 2 different infections at the same time.” Well, actually she can. It may seem unfair, but it is true. In fact, I’ve seen plenty of this during this winter season…flu and strep or flu and RSV or a lingering cold then here comes a “stomach bug.”

6. “Why does my son continue to get ear infections even though I’m breastfeeding him?” Well, yes, there is some research saying those who breastfeed are less likely to get ear infections, but I can almost guarantee you if I have a child who has parents who had numerous ear infections when they were children, that same child is going to get his/her share of ear infections as well. Genetic predisposition is the strongest influence of them all.

7. “My daughter got the flu from the flu vaccine.” While it is true one can have a reaction to the vaccine (and its ingredients) including low grade fever and some achiness, because the typical flu vaccine (the “shot”) is not a live vaccine, one cannot get the flu from it. On the flip side, the Flu mist is a live attenuated vaccine so it is possible to get mild cold-like symptoms afterward, but not your typical flu symptoms.

8. “Green mucus from the nose must mean my son needs antibiotics.” Well, not exactly. While green may indicate a bacterial infection and antibiotics may be warranted, viruses can also cause the green mucus as well and antibiotics would not be necessary.

9. And along those lines…”my son has a fever and needs antibiotics.” So similar to above, that is not always the case. A good proportion of fevers (but not all, of course) in the pediatric world are viral-related and therefore, antibiotics would not be helpful. But either way, hopefully your child’s pediatrician will explain one way or the other on whether antibiotics are needed.

10. “My daughter has a rash and I’m worried it is contagious.” The answer is yes and no here. Some are, some aren’t but most of the straightforward rashes we see in children (e.g. eczema, contact related, and even most viral rashes are not directly contagious).
So not a complete list but these were the first 10 to come to my mind.

Thoughts, questions?

- Dr. Jeremy


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