Despite what you have heard, some medical “facts” you know to be true are actually myths. Luckily, one of Children’s Urgent Care’s pediatric medical doctors** is here to debunk any health related myths you might commonly know! And here we go:
Myth: If you go outside in cold weather without a coat or a hat or with wet hair, you will get sick.
Truth: The amount of clothing you wear in inclement weather does not prevent any illness besides hypothermia. Viruses and bacteria cause colds and other illnesses. These illnesses increase in the winter months because people are inside more during these months and in close proximity to other people you have said viruses and bacteria. You get sick from other people, not from the weather. You will get a runny nose when you go out in the cold no matter what you have on, but that is from condensation more or less in your nose secondary to the temperature difference outside versus in your nose. Small caveat: Children with a history of asthma should keep face bundled in cold weather as cold air could cause an acute wheezing event.
Myth: The flu shot makes you sick.
Truth: All flu shots are made up of an inactivated (dead) form of the virus (intranasal have live virus in them). It is not physiologically possible for a dead virus to cause an acute viral illness. The flu shot does usually make your shoulder sore for a few days and your body could possibly mount a small immune response to the shot, which could be felt as mild fatigue or low-grade fever, but will never create a full Influenza viral infection.
Myth: Children should take a multivitamin daily.
Truth: There is no substitute for fruits and vegetables in your diet. Even though your child’s diet may not be the best, supplementing them with a daily multivitamin in not necessary and most, if not all of the vitamin will end up in their urine or stool. The vitamin will not make them healthier and will not stimulate their appetite, either. The only vitamin that is shown to help for supplementation on a regular basis is Vitamin D. Vitamin D is naturally absorbed from the sun, but if you don’t have enough outside time, then you may be low in Vitamin D. Vitamin D is not naturally in food (except for cod liver). It has been added to milk, cereal, and yogurt to try to increase exposure. Vitamin D is the vitamin that assists in bone growth/health and overall energy level. Low Vitamin D is the cause of rickets, which, after Vitamin D was added to the above groceries, has seen a sharp decline.
Myth: Fever is bad.
Truth: Fever is part of your body’s natural reaction to a foreign illness. Viruses and bacteria do not survive at high temperatures and your body is trying to help kill them. Fever can, though, lead to febrile seizures from age 6 months to 5 years of age with most coming between 12-18 months. This happens from a very fast temperature change that overwhelms the brain, not necessarily from the maximum temperature itself. If the child is miserable with a fever, it should be treated for comfort purposes (with long luke warm bath, Tylenol, or ibuprofen). Otherwise, if the child has a little fever and is acting normally, let the fever be as it is helping your child get better. As mentioned, fever is usually a response to illness, which most are viral and only need time and supportive care to resolve. Usually a good rule is if the child has had fever from 3-5 days and not improving, a visit to your doctor or Children’s Urgent Care is warranted.
LIFTING WEIGHTS AT YOUNG AGE
Myth: Lifting weights at a young age will stunt your growth.
Truth: Lifting weights increases blood flow to both muscles and bones. In an immature skeleton, this may actually stimulate bone growth, rather than stunt it. The way in which a young person can injury themselves with weight lifting is if they do too much weight or trying to “max out” their weight. If you can only do 1-3 reps of an exercise, it is too much weight. If you do too much weight, children with immature skeletons have a chance to fracture their bones through their growth plate and if not properly treated after the injury, that bone could not grow at the same rate as the corresponding bone on the other side of the body. If you are able to do 8-14 reps of an exercise, it would be considered safe and advantageous for the overall health of your body and bones. That goes for children and adults.
**Dr. Tim Halt graduated from Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine 2007. He later finished Pediatric Residency 2010 at Stroger Hospital of Cook County. December 2017, Dr. Halt started working at Children’s Urgent Care River Forest location part time. He is local resident, living in Oak Park with wife Katie and kids Ava (7) and Emmy (4) and dog Leo (7).
“Children’s Urgent Care is the after-hours solution to the long wait times of adult urgent care centers and crowded ERs. With our convenient online check-in feature, walk-in option, and efficient pediatric staff, we work hard to have your kids seen as soon as possible. From bumps and bruises to minor injuries and illnesses, our pediatricians and pediatric providers are specially trained in treating patients aged 0-21 years old. For pediatric urgent care and quality medical procedures, visit our website to find an urgent care near you!”