Doctors Set The Record Straight On 7 Myths About Child Healthcare

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Parenting is full of challenges and one of the greatest tests is to encounter your child being unwell. Children may fall sick due to a number of reasons, and for many parents, the folk remedies seem more justified than consulting a doctor.

But all the ideas that are passed through generations may not hold true. There are many age-old myths that surround a baby’s health and you must not believe them without checking for their authenticity; such practices can jeopardise your baby’s well-being.

So, let us explore some of these myths that doctors believe are unnecessary, and even dangerous, for your baby.

1. Covering The Baby With Blankets During A Fever

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Managing your baby’s fever by wrapping a blanket around him/her may not be the ideal solution to get rid of it. Many people believe that wrapping a blanket will cause sweating, which will eventually lower the body temperature. However, in modern times, paracetamol or any other fever medication works just fine for children. If your child is less than six months old, consult a doctor before giving any medication (1).

You really need not put so many layers and make your child uncomfortable when they’re unwell. Rather, use a cold compress or lukewarm sponge bath to lower the temperature.

2. Using Alcohol To Treat A Wound

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A mild soap and cold running water are enough to treat your child’s scrapes and wounds. Do not try to use alcohol or hydrogen peroxide because they can harm the delicate tissues of your baby’s skin and may delay the healing process. However, in absence of clean water, alcohol could be used sparingly. For deeper wounds, consult a doctor (2).

3. Fever Attributed To Teething

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A news report suggests how in back in the olden days, a lack of knowledge made people attribute all maladies and rapidly changing infant behaviour to the process of teething (3).

In reality, your baby’s fever cannot be attributed to his/her teething alone. Teething does cause a mild rise in temperature, but if it exceeds beyond 101 degrees Fahrenheit, it may be a cause for concern. Children are also usually cranky and fussy during teething, but if it remains a chronic problem, you need to watch out for other signals of any possible infection or illness.

4. Considering Measles And Roseola The Same

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It is dangerous to consider measles and roseola, also referred to as the sixth disease, as one and the same.

The sixth disease is a viral illness that affects children between 6 months to 3 years of age and the symptoms include high fever and a break out of rashes when the fever starts to subside (4).

Measles, on the other hand, is a viral infection of the respiratory system that can lead to serious complications like lung infection and brain swelling. It could even result in death if not treated in time (5).

Since both show symptoms like a high fever and rashes, people often confuse the two. Thus, it is better to consult a doctor to make sure it’s not fatal.

5. Using Cotton Buds To Clean A Baby’s Ears

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It is very dangerous to clean a baby’s ears using cotton buds. Generally, ears can keep themselves clean with help of cilia (read: tiny hair like structures) and earwax. On the other hand, using cotton buds can push the ear wax deeper, clogging the ear canal and thus causing infection, itchiness, and even a loss of hearing.

6. All Mosquito Repellents Work In The Same Way

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It is a myth that all the mosquito repellents work in the same way. The use of chemicals like DEET, IR 3535, picaridin or essential oils like eucalyptus oil, cedar wood oil, and citronella have to be checked for their content and percentage to ensure that they are age-appropriate and not harmful for the baby’s skin.

7. Using A Baby Belly Binder Is Good For Babies

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Using a baby binder to shape up a baby’s abdomen or keep his umbilical cord clean is totally wrong. A binder prevents the umbilical cord area from drying on its own, thus causing more harm to the baby.

If you are a parent, do avoid the above practices to give your babies a healthier start to their lives. Additionally, always consult your healthcare practitioner or a paediatrician whenever you are in doubt.

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