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Friday, December 15, 2006

Myths about children's health


Despite the overwhelming amounts of information available to parents today, it remains important to

separate fact from fiction when it comes to your child's health. Many myths about caring for children are
spread to new parents by well-meaning family members and friends. Most myths are not harmful but can make it more frustrating to figure out how to do the right thing for your child.

Myth #1 - Teething often causes a fever or diarrhea.
Teething may cause fussiness or sleep disturbances, but it doesn't cause a cold, fever or other symptoms of illness. These additional symptoms may be a clue that your baby has a cold or other virus.

Myth #2 - Treating an ADHD child with stimulants leads to drug abuse later in life.
Actually, studies have shown that proper treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder helps improve a child's self-esteem, school performance and social interactions. Feeling successful in life helps a
child or teen say no to drug experimentation and other self-destructive behaviors.

Myth #3 - Going outside with wet hair in winter or getting your feet wet while outdoors can cause a cold.
Viruses cause colds or influenza, not chilly, wet weather or drafts. However, children spend more time indoors together during cold weather and that creates an environment for the easy spread of the viruses that cause colds.

Myth #4 - You should force a picky eater to finish dinner.
Forcing a child to eat when he or she isnt hungry may lead to eating disorders later. Toddlers often go
through periods of refusing to eat certain foods or new foods as a show of independence. Allow experimentation, provide healthy choices, but if your child doesnt want to eat, dont cook something different for their dinner.
Offer a small portion of one or two new foods each week. Toddlers generally will try a new food after it has
been offered 10 or 15 times. Also, limit access to sugary foods and dont provide too much milk or juice so that your child is too full for solids. Finally, remember that its okay for a small childs diet to be
balanced over an entire week rather than every meal, every day.

Myth #5 - Children with a cold shouldn't be given milk or dairy products because it increases mucus production.
Not true. Their usual diet is okay while your child has a cold. If your child doesn't want to eat, try the BRAT diet which is easy on the digestive system. BRAT stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.

Myth #6 - Potty training should begin a XX age.
Most children are ready to begin potty training between 18 months and 3 years old. However, this depends on the child's physical and emotional development and all children are unique in how they grow. Signs of
being ready to potty train include staying dry for two hours at a time; asking to have a dirty diaper changed; asking to wear regular underwear; and asking to use a potty chair or toilet.

Myth #7 - Acne is caused by greasy foods and not washing your face.
Teen acne is caused by inflammation under the skin, generally triggered by fluctuating hormones, not dirt on the skin or diet. Of course, keeping skin clean and limiting intake of fatty foods is always good. Encourage your teen to clean their face with a gentle cleanser because scrubbing can make acne worse.

Myth #8 - Fresh fruit and vegetables are more nutritious than frozen or canned.
This myth was actually true until a few years ago. Today, however, frozen fruits and vegetables are frozen so quickly that few, if any, nutrients are lost. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows manufacturers to
advertise frozen fruit and vegetables as the nutritional equal of fresh foods. Fresh or frozen is more nutritious than canned.

Myth #9 - Watching television stunts a child's brain growth.
While no research supports this theory, parents should closely monitor the amount and quality of television that their children watch. Too much television contributes to lack of exercise, which can lead to weight
problems. Violent or disturbing content on television may cause behavior or sleep problems.

Myth #10 - Children need a daily multi-vitamin.
Most children with a normal diet do not need a multi-vitamin. The average child can get his or her nutritional needs by eating a reasonably balanced diet. However, children with a poor or restricted diet, liver
disease, or a chronic disease such as cystic fibrosis may benefit from taking a vitamin and mineral supplement.
Children who live in an area without fluoridated water may need a fluoride supplement. Consult your
pediatrician before giving your child any type of vitamin or dietary supplement.

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