Sat, May 28, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Misconceptions about children’s health still exist

Staff Writer, with CNA

Most parents in this country have serious misconceptions about their children’s health, a nationwide survey released yesterday found.

The survey by the Chinese-language Common Health Magazine found that about 90 percent of respondents thought children should not eat sweet food or drink cold fluids when they have a cough because they think such foods increase phlegm.

Chang Gung Memorial Hospital vice superintendent Huang Jing-long (黃璟隆) said that belief was inaccurate.

“Sweet foods and cold drinks do not worsen the condition,” he said. “When a child has a cough, he or she can eat anything,” Huang said, adding that one parent had even forbidden his child from eating sweet fruits.

Huang also clarified other common myths among parents, such as the idea that children suffering from diarrhea should drink sports drinks to replenish electrolytes or that the heat of a fever could damage a child’s brain.

Sports drinks have too much sugar and too few electrolytes to help with diarrhea and could even make things worse because of their high sugar content, he said.

“It may take a long time, even many generations, to straighten out these ideas,” Huang said, adding that education was crucial.

However, parents have more common sense today than they did 30 to 40 years ago, he said, noting that instead of applying soy sauce or toothpaste to burns, parents now know to apply cold water and cover the burn before seeking treatment, he said.

More parents and their children are wearing masks in public areas and making an effort to wash their hands frequently, he said.

“Parents are children’s gatekeepers for healthcare, but those with inaccurate information can delay treatment, thereby affecting their children’s health,” he said.

The survey of 1,080 parents was conducted between March 16 and March 20 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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