Common myths about common childhood ailments

All of the diseases that children are vaccinated against are serious, and preventable.

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About Vaccination

Myth: Most vaccine preventable diseases are not serious and are due to “Goddess’s curse”

Fact: All of the diseases that children are vaccinated against are serious, and preventable. They can all cause serious illness, complications and death, even with the best medical care. Many of these diseases also have no cure. So it is always better to prevent the diseases.

Myth: My child is very healthy so will not need any vaccination.

Fact: Every child needs to be vaccinated against vaccine preventable diseases

MYTH: It’s better to get vaccines one at a time

Fact : Thanks to combination vaccines, your child can get protection from many different diseases with one injection (shot). Examples include MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) and the 5-in-1 vaccine (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, Hib disease). Studies show that combination vaccines are safe and effective. There is no reason for your child to get the vaccines one at a time. Getting more than one vaccine at once also means no delay in protection, fewer medical visits and fewer needles (which can be less traumatic).

MYTH: My baby is too small for “pricks” There will be fewer side effects if I delay my baby’s vaccinations

Fact: Vaccines begin at 2 months of age to protect babies as early in life as possible against diseases that can make them very sick (such as pertussis). Babies respond well to vaccines at a very young age. Side effects from vaccination are not more common in young babies than older children.

MYTH: The MMR vaccine causes autism.

Fact : No, the MMR vaccine does not cause autism. There is no scientific evidence to support this claim. Because signs of autism may appear around the same age that children receive the MMR vaccine, some people believe the vaccine causes the condition. Much of the controversy over the MMR vaccine and autism came from a single paper published in 1998 that suggested a link. The report has been found to be fraudulent, and was withdrawn by the journal that published it. Many large scientific studies around the world have found no link between the MMR vaccine and autism. There is no evidence to link any other vaccines to autism. The number of children with autism seems to have increased in recent years. This is because the diagnosis of autism now includes children with milder symptoms who would not have been included in the past. There is also greater public awareness of autism, and more parents are seeking help. Scientists recently found a gene linked to autism. 

Myth: Natural is better. We shouldn’t put foreign substances like vaccines into our bodies.

FACT: Natural is not always better. The germs that vaccines protect against are part of nature, but they are harmful. Vaccines are made from natural sources. Some vaccines are made from live germs that have undergone changes so they can’t cause illness. Others contain only part of the germ that has been pulled out and purified. Vaccines stimulate our immune system the same way the infection would, but without making us sick.

About Food:

Myth: Milk is the best food for all children and they can drink as much as 2 liters of milk in a day. Fact : Although it is a good source of calcium and protein ( for vegetarians), it certainly cannot be considered as a miracle food item. It has no roughage hence diet based only on milk causes constipation. Milk is poor in iron , so milk based diet causes iron deficiency anemia. Children should be encouraged to have a healthy diet with proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Which will include cereals, eggs, chicken , pulses , rice , green vegetables and fruits.

Myth: Additives to milk are healthy

Fact: All additives sold in the market are just sugar. Protein powder should only be given on your doctor’s advice and not on seeing the advertisements.

Myth: Fruit juices are healthy for children

Fact: Instead of juices give your child whole fruit. Juices are just sugars, without any roughage, whole fruit has roughage which is healthy.

Myth: Eating Rice makes a child become fat

Fact: Rice is a good source of carbohydrate for a child and parboiled, unpolished rice is healthy for your child.

Myth: If your child is a picky eater you can make him eat while seeing a cartoon

Fact: You should not have a TV or a mobile switched on while eating. Encourage your child to eat by self, because your child wants independence and this way he/she might get a satisfaction of being independent.

Myth: if your child does not eat then you should force feed him/her

Fact: You should NEVER force feed your child for he may develop abhorrence to that food item for life and he will always dislike food, and also he may aspirate the food item which can be life threatening.

Myth: If your child has a cold you should not give food like banana, rice, curd, guava or tomatoes etc.

Fact: Common cold is usually due to viral infections and no food should be withheld. Banana and rice and children’s favourite food and they should not be deprived of it during illness.

About Psychiatric disorders

Myth: Children cannot have psychiatric disorders

Fact: Children do have psychiatric disorders.

Myth: Psychiatric disorders result from bad parenting.

Fact: While a child’s home environment and relationships with his parents can exacerbate a psychiatric disorder, these things don’t cause the disorder. Things like anxiety, depression, autism and learning disorders are thought to have biological causes. Parenting isn’t to blame. But parents play a central role by providing support and care that is crucial to their child’s recovery.

About Asthma

Myth: Asthma is a contagious disease and spreads by sharing tiffin or by coming in contact with a child with asthma

Fact: Asthma is inherited through genes and is not an infectious disease. Sharing tiffin will not make your child have asthma.

Myth: Inhalers are used only for adults

Fact: Inhalers can easily be used by infants and children via a chamber and a mask.

Fact: Inhalers is the most efficient drug delivery methods. Drug through inhaled method is given one thousand times less in amount and it reaches where it is needed directly. When you give the same medicine orally, it is given in much higher quantity and it goes to all the other organs including the lungs.

Myth: Inhaled steroids make your lungs melt

Fact: Asthma is caused by inflammation of breathing pipes and Inhaled steroids is “THE Treatment” for asthma. They help reducing the inflammation in the airway and help your child breathe better.

Myth: Inhaled steroids are the last resort

Fact: Inhaled steroids should be started early

Myth: Inhaled medicines are habit forming

Fact: They are given because your child needs them. Habit forming drugs are those which are used even if you do not need them like sleeping pills.

About other diseases

Myth: If your child has an ear ache you should put oil in his/her ears

Fact: No oil should be put in your child’s ears as this may aggravate the problem. You should consult your doctor urgently if your child c/o ear ache as he might be having severe infection.

Myth: If your child has diarrhea he/she always needs an antibiotic

Fact: Almost 80% of diarrhea are viral in origin and will not need an antibiotic.

Myth: If your child has a seizure, you should put water in her/his mouth forcefully

Fact: If your child is having seizures then turn her/him to one side and do not put anything in mouth. If you have midazolam nasal spray at home then put the spray in each nostril as advised by your doctor. Contact your doctor immediately and take your child to the nearest hospital.

Myth: If your child has been diagnosed with nephrotic syndrome and has been prescribed steroids, you should stop them as soon as your child becomes alright

Fact: You should continue steroids as long as your doctor has prescribed. Nephrotic syndrome is chronic disease with relapses. Follow your doctor’s advice strictly.

Myth: If your child has been diagnosed with celiac disease then wheat restriction can be stopped if the child has reached puberty.

Fact: Wheat avoidance has to be followed through out your life as you cannot outgrow celiac disease with age. Your child will have malabsorption at any age if he/she starts consuming diet rich in Gluten.

Myth: Thyroid deficiency or excess cannot happen in children

Fact: Childhood Hypothyroidism congenital or acquired is very common. Similarly hyperthyroidism can also occur in children