If I give my son some honey, will he get better? Should I avoid milk when he has a runny nose? Can I give him an antibiotic if he is going through a viral process? When can I use the humidifier? Can I do nasal washes daily? If I give him vitamins, will it help him to get less sick? If he goes barefoot will he get sick? Should I be alarmed when he coughs? Surely on many occasions we have asked ourselves some of these questions. When this time comes and our children catch a cold doubts assail us and we do not know if our decisions are benefiting or harming the state of the smallest from the house For this reason, Lucía, my pediatrician wanted to clear up our doubts and so, in the last IGLive that we have done with her and with our friends from Miniland we have solved many doubtswhile we have banished myths about runny nose, coughs and colds in general.
1. Honey cures colds
According to Lucía, honey does not serve to raise our defenses, far from it. To date there is no solid scientific evidence to prove it. What this food does have are soothing properties. Therefore, if our son has inflammation, the texture of honey makes him feel relieved for a while. “But it doesn’t kill bugs, it’s just a moisturizing emollient,” says the pediatrician.
2. Milk produces mucus
Another myth that is not true either. “It’s a hoax. There is no scientific study about it.” What we do have to keep in mind is that if our child is allergic to cow’s milk protein, he should not take any dairy or derivatives. But it is the only case in which milk is not recommended.
3. The antibiotic cures viruses
The antibiotic is not a medication to be prescribed lightly. In fact, “it can cause problems with a virus due to its resistance to antibiotics.” It is recommended in cases of bacterial infection that justify it. And, as Lucía, my pediatrician, says, most respiratory infections that occur in winter are viral, so this medication is not going to make our son better. What does happen on occasions is that a process begins as a virus and then worsens. “This has to make us consult mothers and fathers because it could give us indications that we are facing a bacterial superinfection.”
4. The usefulness of the humidifier
At this point, the pediatrician emphasizes the importance of identifying what ailment our child has in order to determine when a humidifier is useful. “For example, laryngitis is an ideal process to use a humidifier, because they are conditions that worsen with dryness and what this device does is allow humidity,” she indicates.
5. Nasal washes and aspirators can be performed daily
We will carry out nasal washings when our son needs them, that is, when he has a cold and has a mucus congestion. “In the end we have a system of pipes and we have to unclog,” explains Lucía, my pediatrician, “so if they can’t breathe we will help them clean and unclog.” If after doing it it is not clear, but we hear more mucus, it is in those cases when we will start to vacuum, but always very gently. “We do not aspirate by system either, only when necessary,” warns the pediatrician.
6. Children get colds from their feet
“Children catch colds in enclosed spaces and in contact with other children, but neither in the yard nor through their feet,” Lucía tells us. It must be taken into account – and with the pandemic it is something that we have quickly assumed – that in winter it is ventilated less frequently, this together with the fact that the immune system in the first years of life is not developed and that each child brings their own virus with themselves and their own snot, makes them get sick frequently inside a closed space and even have exaggerated reactions to a cold that an adult would simply feel unwell. “Her body responds like this until over time it regulates itself and reacts in a more calm way. That is why many parents of young children feel that their children get sick a lot and very often,” adds the pediatrician.
But the feet are not a source of constipation. What it can do if we subject our children to low temperatures for a long time is that they have a kind of hypothermia that makes them more susceptible to that viral exposure. “For this reason, sheltering them is not to prevent them from catching a cold, but rather so that they don’t get cold.”
7. Coughing is bad and should alarm us
Not always. Coughing is a defense mechanism to protect ourselves and expel the secretion. That children cough in the middle of a catarrhal picture “is the most normal thing in the world”, for Lucía. “In fact, you have to encourage them to cough so that they drag that mucus down. What should worry us is if the cough lasts more than two weeks or if it is a fatigued cough like a puppy. Also if their ribs sink in or if that cough prevents them from eat, rest or lead a normal life”, he concludes.
8, Vitamins will prevent you from falling ill
Lucía, my pediatrician considers that in a child without significant deficits it is dangerous to give him pharmacy vitamins. “Giving syrups or pills is not going to make it have a solid impact and make it less sick. On top of that, it is dangerous, because that makes us relax into healthy habits and that is a mistake. A good diet has a much more positive impact, “he explains . In addition, giving vitamins to avoid colds is not included in any health protocol.