Filipinos have many kasabihans and pamahiins that get passed down from generation to generation. A fair few are beliefs on children's health and because there are a lot, it can be quite difficult to sort fact from fiction. Here are experts to set the record straight:
Myth #1: Wrapping a child in blankets to make him sweat will bring down a fever. Every parent wants a child’s fever to go away as quick as possible. But, making your child sweat is not the way to do it, says Dr. Luis P. Gatmaitan, a medical doctor and a prolific children's author, told Smartparenting.com.ph. “Sweating, they believe, will bring the body’s temperature down. They fail to realize that just by taking the regular anti-fever medication like paracetamol, we can experience sweating out without being ‘mummified.’” So, what else can you do to manage your child’s fever? Dr. Gatmaitan shared his expert tips here.
Myth #2: Alcohol should be used to clean a child’s sugat. If you’ve already washed the wound with running water and soap, alcohol isn’t necessary. Only use alcohol for disinfecting and cleaning a wound if you can’t wash it with water, said pediatrician Dr. Empress Carlos. “And we don’t use Hydrogen Peroxide (agua oxigenada) for cleaning wounds anymore.”
Plus, we know that applying alcohol to a wound hurts. Using it to clean your child’s sugat will only discourage him from getting a wound treated the next time around. Find more expert tips on how to care for your child’s wound to avoid infection here.
Myth #3: Teething can cause a fever. “There is little scientific evidence to support the widespread belief that teething causes fever,” said Dr. Carmina Arriola-Delos Reyes, a pediatrician and infectious disease specialist. “Although it's hard to disprove this notion completely, it is always prudent to search for other causes of fever most especially if the temperature has reached 38.5 °C. In such cases, fever should not be attributed solely to teething, and other causes of the fever should be searched.”
Myth #4: Tigdas and tigdas hangin is the same thing. No, don’t get confused as there’s quite a huge difference. Tigdas is measles in Filipino, and it can cause life-threatening complications when contracted by young children (there is a vaccine for it).
Tigdas hangin, on the other hand, is roseola infantum. It usually occurs in infants age 6 to 24 months and is very common, said Dr. Ma. Eleanor Sevilla-Sia, a pediatrician and neonatologist at St. Luke’s Medical Center. “Tigdas hangin is a mild illness, but parents do get scared as it presents with high-grade fever up to 40 °C for up to five days. After the fever stops, the rashes appear.” Learn more about tigdas hangin here.
Myth #5: Cotton buds are meant for cleaning ears. They're not, and we should stop putting things into our ears even if it's to clean it, says guidelines from the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.
Fact: Ears are self-cleaning (find out how here). Inserting objects into the ear to clean is more likely to push the wax deeper into the ear canal. The wax then gets lodged inside, builds up, and causes a blockage. A blocked ear canal due to earwax accumulation can lead to problems like hearing loss, itching, discharge, odor, or worse, infection. Yikes!
Myth #6: All mosquito repellents are equally effective. Mosquito patches that promise to repel the blood-sucking insects are not at all effective, found a study from the New Mexico State University and reported by NPR. The safest and most effective mosquito repellents are those that contain DEET, picaridin, IR 3535, and lemon eucalyptus oil. Take note as well that mosquito repellents that have lemon eucalyptus oil should not be used on children 3 years old and below. Not sure which ingredient your repellent has? This guide can help.
Myth #7: A bigkis is necessary for baby’s umbilical cord stump. A baby's umbilical cord stump should be kept clean and dry to prevent infections. A bigkis does the opposite. “Covering the umbilical area keeps in moisture, which is a perfect environment for bacterial growth. Also, keeping it covered may prevent you from noticing a starting infection,” pediatrician Dr. Ina Atutubo told Smartparenting.com.ph. A guide on how to properly care and clean your newborn's pusod can be found here.