Everyone has heard those oft-cited maxims for treating childhood illnesses. Here are 7 you can ignore.
- Step 1: Don't worry about kissing a baby if you have a cold. The saliva in your mouth contains very little virus, and it's very difficult to pass on a cold by kissing.
- Step 2: Never mind the saying that colds cause ear infections. Cold are caused by viruses, ear infections by bacteria. What actually happens is that colds cause fluids and mucous to build up in the ear tubes, and this allows bacteria to grow.
- FACT: Common colds are the chief health reason children stay home from school in the U.S.
- Step 3: Toss the notion that eating a diet of bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast will cure diarrhea. It might, but it also might not pass muster with a sick child.
- Step 4: Don't believe the saying that fevers are best left untreated. Although fevers do stimulate the immune system and help fight infections, relieve a child's discomfort with over the counter medication.
- Step 5: Forget the conventional wisdom that green mucous is a symptom of something more serious than a cold.
- Step 6: Disregard the old saw that colds and flu are most contagious before symptoms appear. Actually they are most contagious when the symptoms are at their worst.
- Step 7: Ignore the maxim "feed a cold, starve a fever." If your child has a fever and doesn't feel like eating dinner, it's OK to serve something else they would rather have -- like ice cream.