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Some Health Myths, and why they are mythical.... Answered


Health myths to ignore:

#1: Feed a cold, starve a fever

The truth: This centuries-old saying, popularized by Mark Twain, simply isn't so. All sick kids (and adults) -- whether they've got a cold, fever, or both -- need nutrients and liquids to get better, says Leigh Ann Greavu, a dietitian in St. Paul, Minnesota. If your child doesn't feel like eating solids, then chicken noodle soup, juice, and even ice cream are good alternatives.

#2: Greenish mucus means your child has something worse than a cold

The truth: Not usually. While clear mucus is most common, green or yellow can also just be symptoms of a cold. However, discolored mucus plus a persistent high fever, decreased appetite, cough, or severe nasal congestion may be signs of a bacterial infection, which -- unlike a cold -- could require antibiotics. If you notice your child often has green or yellow mucus, there may be an underlying problem (enlarged adenoids, for instance) that's causing recurring bacterial infections. In that case, let your pediatrician be your sleuth.

#3: Colds and flu are most contagious before symptoms appear

The truth: They spread most easily when symptoms are at their worst. That's because these infections are commonly passed through coughed-up or sneezed-out droplets containing the virus, or via hand-to-hand contact. While the likelihood of catching (or passing) something peaks when kids are most miserable, the risk persists as long as the drip does. So even if your kid's almost over it, give the other moms in your playgroup a heads up; they may decide to take a rain check.

#4: The B.R.A.T. diet is best for diarrhea

The truth: A regimen of bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast used to be the standard prescription for thickening watery stools. While they work great, a plate full of rice, with banana for dessert, isn't always appealing to a sick kid. "Your child will feel better faster if you feed him what he'll actually eat," says Andrea McCoy, M.D., an associate professor of pediatrics at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Just avoid spicy and greasy foods and fruit juice.)

#5: Colds cause ear infections

The truth: It does seem that way, but all colds are caused by viruses, while 90 percent of ear infections are caused by bacteria. So, why does your child seem to get an ear infection every time he has a cold? "Colds create mucus and fluid buildup in the ear tubes -- a perfect environment for ear infection -- causing bacteria to grow," says Ari Brown, M.D., coauthor of "Toddler 411: Clear Answers and Smart Advice for Your Toddler."

#2 and #3 are myths I have been told my entire life! Wow, now I know they aren't true...

I know, I still hear "naturalistic" healers say #3 *sigh*