Parenting Medical Questions Answers (cont.)

That question is a very good question. I think if we started giving flu shots to everyone, especially those in school, and I think it's coming to that, you will see a decreased incidence of the flu.

Event_Moderator A lot of people are running out and getting antibiotics when they get sick, but if they have the flu, they're bug is viral. Should they be taking antibiotics? Will this do any good? Could it do any harm to children?

Dr_Goldman_Speaker Actually, it's very difficult at times to tell a virus infection from a bacterial infection. Antibiotics don't work on virus infections. They may work on bacterial infections depending upon the bacteria. A doctor must be very careful, as strange as it may seem, about not just giving antibiotics, period, to any person who comes in with a runny nose, fever, etc. Sometimes that's very difficult in dealing with infants and children since they can't give you a history and there may be a temptation to give an antibiotic. However, giving antibiotics to individuals with viral infections, you can produce an allergy and it won't work.

Event_Moderator Will they weaken your immune system as well?

Dr_Goldman_Speaker For the longest period of time, physicians have been emphasizing, don't depend on antibiotics for a cold or flu. It's not indicated. I don't think it will weaken the immune system. It's just not going to work. It's like filling up your car with water instead of gasoline. It's just not going to work. Viruses do not respond to antibiotics. Bacterial infections, such as strep throat, etc., will respond to antibiotics and that's when you give antibiotics.

Event_Moderator Is aspirin dangerous for a child to take with a cold or flu? What alternatives are safe?

Dr_Goldman_Speaker That's really very interesting. For years aspirin was given to children with the cold or flu, etc., until they discovered there was an association of aspirin with Reyes Syndrome which was, in many cases, fatal to children. So, as a result of that, the physicians have backed off of recommending aspirin and have used another which is very good: Tylenol or acetaminophen. And, there has been no association of the Reyes Syndrome with Tylenol and Tylenol works very well in children to reduce fever.

Event_Moderator What do I do to prevent scarring if my child has a cut, and when do I need to take my child to the hospital for an injury?

Dr_Goldman_Speaker That's a difficult question to answer, but I can answer it this way. If your child is cut, don't play doctor. Have someone see your child and determine whether or not they need stitches. They may not, in which case you won't need stitches. However, if you decide not to take the child to an emergency room or a physician and the child really needs stitches, then you're asking for trouble such as scarring or infection. That is an open wound so don't play doctor. Take your child to the emergency room or to a physician and let a doctor evaluate the injury.

And, with regard to scarring, let me add one more item here. Cuts on the face usually may require the need of a plastic surgeon. That is one way to cut down on scarring, particularly on the face. If surgery is indicated, have a plastic surgeon do the surgery. But, take your child to a doctor or to an emergency room, period.

Event_Moderator Do you put hot or cold on a sprain?

Dr_Goldman_Speaker Well, initially you put cold on a sprain. What it does is it helps constrict blood vessels. When blood vessels are constricted, there is no pouring out of the blood into the subcutaneous tissue. It reduces swelling, reduces pain, and healing will take place a lot quicker as a result of that. But, you have to be sure that it's a sprain and not a fracture, and you should see your doctor or go to the emergency room if an injury of this nature occurs.

Event_Moderator How can the foods you choose affect bone strength and immunity? Which foods are best for strengthening the two?

Dr_Goldman_Speaker Well, those foods that contain calcium are very important. You find calcium in milk products like milk and cheese. Those are the two main food products that contain calcium. I'm sure there are others, but those are the two main derivatives of milk products. Calcium is very important, not only for a growing child, but for an adult, as well as women who are in menopause.

Event_Moderator What are the nutrients that parents should focus on for their children?

Dr_Goldman_Speaker All of them, A, B, C, D, E, etc. Right now there is evidence that a child needs vitamins to assist in growth. Usually you get this in foods. Even in junk foods you get a lot of vitamins. Not all of them, but you should have the main ingredients of protein, carbohydrate, fat and minerals.

Event_Moderator What are your food recommendations for colic?

Dr_Goldman_Speaker I'm not a pediatrician, so I'd like to defer an answer on that. But, I must tell you this. I have taken care of a lot of children and, while I've heard of colic before, I have seldom seen it. So, I'm not so sure there is such a thing as colic, to be quite honest with you. Now, the parent may have a child who has "colic" but I'd make sure that is what it is and not something else. And this is from a non-pediatrician. In fact, as an aside, I have three children, none of whom had colic. My children have had children, none of whom have had colic. So, I'm not sure exactly what colic is, if it's really a scientific, medical problem.

Years ago, men used to die from "indigestion". That was before we knew that coronary arteries were blocked and they were actually having heart attacks. So I think the terms are synonymous. Indigestion was a term given to a particular condition, but really turned out to be coronary artery disease, blocked arteries. Colic, I think, falls in the same category.