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Entries in common cold (5)

Friday
Feb072014

FYI: Milk, It Does a Body Good (even when sick)

Like most doctors, I spend a lot of time teaching parents how to help their kids feel better while they are sick.  I run through the list of things that may be helpful, depending on the age of your child and whatever is ailing them.  Tylenol and Motrin for fever or aches and pains, honey for cough, Vick's vapor rub  and bulb suctioning (especially my beloved Nose Frida) for nasal congestion and on and on.   I often get a surprised smile from a child when I recommend ice cream or a milkshake to soothe a sore throat - especially when I emphatically say "Ice cream for this kiddo.  Doctors orders!"  But parents sometimes are suprised to hear me encourage dairy while their child is sick.  

Turns out, there is a common misbelief that dairy products (milk especially) should not be given to kids when they have a cold or a fever.  Some people are worried that the milk increases mucus or phlegm production. Others worry that milk will turn sour or cause an stomachache for someone who has a fever.

But let's set the record straight!  There is no scientific or biologic reason to avoid milk when you are sick with a fever or a respiratory illness such as a cold. (Though gastrointestinal or stomach bugs are a slightly different story as we do recommend avoiding milk immediately after vomiting of in some cases of chronic diarrhea).

A great study was published on this subject in the 1990s.  Researchers

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Wednesday
Jan152014

Nosefrida - best baby product of all time! 

When I first suggested to my husband that we needed to buy the Nosefrida, he says he nearly fainted.  Clearly, he was clearly not sold on the idea.  And most parents that I describe it to in clinic have similar first impressions. And yes, I understand that the concept behind the Nosefrida seems gross.  But this baby product is so effective that virtually everyone who tries it is easily won over (my husband included).  Parents of my patients rave about it.  Many have called it a "life saver" or "the best baby product ever."

There is nothing more pitiful than watching a baby struggle to breath.  This time of year, with influenza and RSV running wild in our area, many youngsters out there are in the same bind:  tons of snot is keeping them from resting (and in some cases making it hard for them to nurse or drink from a bottle).  The classic nasal aspirator (the blue bulb suction) doesn't hold a candle to the Nosefrida - even if you use nasal saline drops too.  I have found the bulb suction often causes irritation and sometimes even bleeding due to it's shape and how delicate the skin is inside a baby's nose.  As a mother, I have been very frustrated by the meager amount of mucus I can remove with it on my own babies.  Enter the blessed Nosefrida! 

Nosefrida, the Snotsucker, has an ingeniously simple design (developed by a

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Saturday
Nov242012

FYI: Does snot color matter?  

We at Twin City Pediatrics are seeing many children with dripping noses - many of whom have colds (viral upper respiratory infections), some with a more severe viral illness - influenza, and some with bacterial sinusitis. 

So how do you know when it's time to bring your own drippy nose kiddo in to see us?  One of the most widespread medical myths has to do with the color of snot (or nasal discharge).  Years ago, many doctors believed that clear or white snot was a sign of a viral illness but the yellow or greenish snot indicated a bacterial infection had set in.  

Luckily, we now know much more about snot...are you on the edge of your seat now?

Snot is nasal mucus which is made by specialized cells that line the nose, sinuses, and entire repsiratory tract.  Typically, a normal person makes about a quart of it a day!  Nasal mucus is part water, part proteins (called mucins - which help make it sticky), and part disease-fighting cells.   Mucus serves several key rolls, it helps prevents and fights infections, it keeps the nasal linings moist and humidifes inhaled air, and it it traps infectious particles and airborne particles that we breathe into our nose (like fly paper).

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Sunday
Oct212012

Stock your Medicine Cabinet: Vick's Vapor Rub

The number of sniffling kids in clinic seems to be increasing rapidly over the past couple of weeks.  And while sniffling noses are annoying during the day....at night they can be downright horrid, keeping kids (and parents) awake. 

We, your pediatricians, get it!  We understand how difficult these sleepless nights and days with irritable kids can be....and we want to help.  However, most of these symptoms are due to a virus and antibiotics are not the answer (they can not work against a virus). So instead, we try to arm you with the tools to combat suffering (your childs and your own).  In addition to the standard suggestions we pediatricians offer to parents of children suffering from colds (upper respiratory infections) - see Dr. Barry's previous post "FYI: Sniffles and Sneezes" - have you tried Vick's Vapor Rub for kids over 2 years?

A study published in 2010 compared children ages 2-11 years with cold symptoms (runny, stuffy noses and cough) who used Vicks Vapor Rub versus kids who used placebo ointment (like Vaseline) versus kids who used nothing.  Of note, parents had to put a strip of the vapor rub under their own nostrils so they couldn’t smell if the ointment they applied was medicated or not. 

Children (and parents) were then asked to rate the child's night-time symptoms (cough, congestion, and difficulty sleeping).  The results were impressive....children treated with Vapor Rub were significantly able to sleep better than were children who received the placebo ointment or no treatment.

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Tuesday
Oct022012

FYI: Sniffles and sneezes

Along with cooler weather, fun fall activities, and flu vaccines comes the unfortunate and dreaded cough and cold season…bad news guys, it’s officially here.

The common cold is caused by many different types of viruses. In the first years of life, the immune system gets exposed to these various strains of viruses for the first time. A normal, healthy child can get 6-10 colds in any given year – which is why little ones seem to be sick ALL the time during the fall and winter (especially if they’re in daycare).

 

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