The Anwers to All Your Parenting Medical Questions with Burton H. Goldman, M.D.

WebMD Live Events Transcript

Do you know what to do when your child has a cold or flu; how to handle strains and sprains; upset stomachs and gas; when to see your doctor and when to go to the emergency room? These are questions answers that parents need to know. Dr Burton Goldman will be answering any and all medical questions that pertain to the stressful and rewarding job of parenting.

The opinions expressed herein are the guests' alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.

Event_Moderator Welcome to WebMD Live. Today we are discussing The Answers to All Your Parenting Medical Questions with Burton Goldman, M.D.

Burton H. Goldman, M.D., is an expert in the fields of heart disease, diabetes and arthritis. Goldman received his M.D. from the University of Texas in Galveston. He then did his internship at the Los Angeles County Hospital and his residency in internal medicine at the Los Angeles Veterans Hospital. His skilled bedside manner and unparalleled level of empathy have made him a highly requested physician. He has a distinct interest in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of heart disease.

Dr. Goldman, welcome to WebMD Live.

Dr_Goldman_Speaker Thank you.

Event_Moderator What can a parent do to keep children from catching a flu or cold?

Dr_Goldman_Speaker That's difficult because flus and colds are respiratory infections. That means we get them through breathing germs in from the air. So, we can get those at any time. Basically, for a child, I would think a child should get a proper diet, proper rest and try to avoid contact with individuals who have colds, sore throats, flu, etc., but I think the basic concepts are still the same; proper diet, rest, exercise, and stay as healthy as possible.

Event_Moderator Is it feed a fever, starve a cold?

Dr_Goldman_Speaker You know, it depends on where you're coming from. Basically, if you have a cold, you may not feel like eating. It's wise to drink liquids. And I still think the old concepts of tea, chicken soup and a little vitamin C are still very, very important, because these colds and fevers from a cold are due to viruses. While we do have more medication nowadays for treating viruses, usually these infections are self-limited and will go away. But certainly, when you have a fever, the treatment for a fever is to take something like Tylenol, drink plenty of liquids and see your doctor.

Event_Moderator What is the difference between a cold and the flu?

Dr_Goldman_Speaker You know, excellent question!

I was just reviewing this the other day. They are so closely related that it's almost impossible to tell one from the other, with a few exceptions. They're both caused by viruses. In the case of a cold, you generally don't see any evidence of fever. You have a runny nose. You generally don't have a cough and it goes away after a few days.

Now, there are degrees of flu. You may have flu that doesn't exhibit any fever. Or, in a lot of cases, not only does it have a fever, but has generalized body aches. I know when I see people that come in to my office and they're concerned about whether they have cold, sore throat, the flu, whatever, one of the questions I ask is about the generalized ache. When you have the flu, generally speaking, you just ache all over and you feel miserable. That's not true with a common cold, but they're both caused by viruses.

And, incidentally, the question earlier about preventing your child from getting a cold and the flu, there is one thing I omitted and that was the flu vaccine. We now have a flu vaccine which is generally given to adults and senior citizens, but it can be given to youngsters who are susceptible to frequent respiratory infections, including asthma, pneumonia, decreased immune system, etc. We do have that available. We do not have that with regard to colds as yet, but they're working on it.

Event_Moderator Do you recommend everyone get a flu vaccine?

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