Throughout the fall and winter months, respiratory infections in children increase in incidence. Despite its high frequency in children, it is common for us to come across false myths to address its management. Here are some of the most common errors and false beliefs.
-The cough must always be cut. Fake. Coughing is a defense mechanism that favors the mobilization of secretions. If this mobilization does not occur, the stagnant mucus can be secondarily superinfected by bacteria, with which the process can worsen. It is only necessary to consider the fact of attenuating the cough in postoperative patients, or in case of completely preventing night rest. Remember, however, that when children have a cold, they sleep poorly due to a host of circumstances, and not just because of the cough: it bothers their throat and joints, with fever the normal sleep pattern can be distorted, etc.
- The child has green and thick mucus, because his cold has become complicated. As the days go by, the mucus becomes thicker and thicker. It is the normal evolution of any cold.
- The best measure against snot is a good syrup. The best measure against snot is a good hydration of the child, and clear their nostrils with a good shot of serum. By the way, nasal washes should not be done preventively; They should be done only when the child is going to eat and has a busy nose, or when he is very upset by the nasal obstruction.
- The child has a fever, and you have to cover him a lot, because colds have to sweat. This is false. With fever, fluids tend to be lost, and the fact of putting the child under a large layer of sweaters / blankets / coats can cause discomfort in the child and risk of dehydration.
- The child has a fever, and for this reason it is not necessary to bathe him. That's not true. A child with a fever can be bathed without problems, preferably with lukewarm water. Note that when you have a fever, you sweat more than when you do not have a fever.
- "Strong" colds must be treated with antibiotics. Fake. Colds are secondary to viral infections, and viruses are not killed by antibiotics. Of course: there are certain complications that sometimes appear secondary to a cold (suppurative otitis in young children, sinusitis, pneumonia) that must be managed with these drugs, as they are the result of a bacterial superinfection. Bacteria do die with antibiotics.
- My doctor has been confused: he has diagnosed my son with sinusitis without doing a radiological test. A sinus x-ray is not necessary to diagnose acute sinusitis. Sinusitis is diagnosed clinically: the joint presence of fever and respiratory symptoms, with persistent mucus in the back of the pharynx, for more than ten days.
- When the child has a sore throat or is hoarse, put a handkerchief impregnated with alcohol around his neck. This measure not only does not benefit the child at all, but it can lead to local irritation of the skin. Also, since the permeability of the skin in young children is higher than in adults, this alcohol can be absorbed and pass into the blood.
- A humidifier is good for a child with bronchitis. This is not correct. Moreover, up to 50% of children with bronchial affectation, environmental humidity harms them.
- Bronchiolitis in an infant younger than three months should be treated with bronchodilators. Bronchiolitis, technically speaking, is the first episode of respiratory distress with wheezing (commonly known as “whistles”) and infectious cause in a child under two years of age. It is due to edema in the wall of the small bronchi, and this edema occurs as a result of a viral infection. It should be noted that bronchodilators have not been shown to be effective in younger infants. Therefore, its routine use is not indicated.
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