False beliefs about children’s health

Some of the most current myths are perhaps not so linked to the superstition or magical thinking of a few centuries ago, but there are still false beliefs that are worth demystifying due to their lack of evidence and, in some cases, their practice could lead to health problems. We discovered 10 false beliefs about children’s health!

Their immune system, for example, is immature and this makes them more vulnerable to infections or more serious infections. Throughout human history we have lived with infant death, something that now seems anecdotal in the developed world, thanks to medical advances and better nutrition. Probably the result of fear, the attempt to protect the little ones or to seek an “explanation” for the misfortune, child health care is full of myths and false beliefs.

10 false beliefs in children’s health

1.- Milk produces mucus

It is one of the most widespread beliefs and one that has many defenders. Let’s start from the beginning that many children have snot almost all winter(associated or not with a cold), that on average they have between five and eight respiratory infections / year and that they drink a lot of milk(half a liter a day is recommended). Since the 12th century we already have medical texts that relate phlegm to milk consumption, but the clinical studies that we have so far reveal that milk does not produce mucus or cause bronchiolitis.

2.- Listening to Mozart makes you smarter

Mozart was a genius of music, we all know that. Listening to their melodies allows us to enjoy unforgettable moments, but from there to thinking that by some unknown mechanism Mozart makes our children go up in the intelligence quotient score there is a stretch. What is certain is that exposure to music, in general, from a young age, allows the development of skills and helps the integral development of children.

3.- The white spots on the nails are due to a lack of calcium

It is a concern of many parents to see small white spots on some of their children’s nails, because they think they have a lack of calcium. Nothing is further from reality. In fact, in developed countries, where children should and can eat a balanced diet, a lack of calcium is not common. On the other hand, these small spots are the normal response of the nail to small trauma of the same and its attempt to repair them. Therefore, there is no need to worry.

4.- If you have a fever, it is that it is growing

Fever is a manifestation or symptom that warns us that our body is fighting an infectious agent or has an inflammatory problem. Having a fever without an apparent source is something that we should consult a pediatrician, since neither growth nor dental eruption are accompanied by fever. Both are normal and physiological processes.

5.- Letting him cry widens the lungs

If children cry, it must be for something and I don’t think it’s to improve their lung function.

The reason for crying is that it is the only way they have to communicate their needs and survive: hunger, thirst, sleep, touch, cold or pain. If crying was so good for human beings and their lung health, we doctors would prescribe it to our patients with respiratory problems. It is not like that… Therefore, it is highly recommended to know that letting babies cry does not bring any physical or emotional benefit, but quite the opposite, it is another of the false beliefs about child health.

6.- Until the appearance of the permanent teeth, it is not necessary to go to the dentist

The first dental check-up is recommended in the first or second year of life. If problems are observed before, they should go when they are detected. Although the milk teeth are temporary, they must be taken care of, check that they do not have cavities, treat them if necessary and carry out fluoridations to prevent greater evils.

7.- Avoid umbilical hernias in babies with compression girdles

The belief that babies ‘navels are going to come out’ and that, therefore, they should be swaddled or even put a coin in their navel, is very common in many cultures around the world. The reality is that children can have a small umbilical hernia up to two years old (it is considered normal if it is less than 2 centimeters) and that it closes on its own in most cases. Putting a compression in the umbilical area does not improve the prognosis, does not prevent hernias, and only causes discomfort to the baby.

8.- Vaccines cause autism

In the anti-vaccine movement, this has been one of the biggest arguments for making bad press about them and justifying their position. The vaccines are the second medical breakthrough that has saved more lives after hand washing in the history of mankind. Therefore, this is one of the false beliefs that can do the most damage. Surveillance studies, conducted after inoculating millions of vaccines, do not demonstrate this association.

9.- If you have snot, the best is a syrup

We have known for many years that snot syrups, called mucolytics, are not effective. Its side effects outweigh its therapeutic effect. Among the adverse effects we find: diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain and skin rashes(skin rashes). Scientific studies have shown that the best way to combat mucus is by abundantly hydrating the child, that is, offering fluids and performing nasal washes, in the event that the mucus is nasal.

10.- Walking barefoot causes colds

The cold and its possible collateral effects on children’s health could give for a book of myths. Neither wet hair, nor walking barefoot nor playing outdoors in winter produce colds. Flu, colds and other viral infections are more frequent in winter and the mechanism of transmission is to be in contact with another infected person. Therefore, this cold-illness association is nothing more than a misperception. In addition, if viruses are transmitted person to person, it is normal for it to be more frequent in winter, since we are locked up for longer and with less ventilation, due to the cold. The danger of getting sick in winter does not lie in the cold that the child spends in the yard but in the classroom where all the children are grouped and that some of them may have a cough or snot.

What you should know…

  • Vaccines do not cause autism: in the anti-vaccine movement this has been one of the biggest arguments to make bad press of them and justify their position.
  • Neither wet hair, nor walking barefoot nor playing outdoors in winter produce colds.
  • Clinical studies available to date reveal that milk does not produce mucus or cause bronchiolitis.

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