All parents want the best for their children. So when there's an issue, of course we want to find a solution.
Often a parent will take to Facebook to voice concern over a problem, only to be given a whole swathe of advice. Sometimes, however, this advice is not reliable and can be downright dangerous.
Here are some of the common hoaxes parents keep falling for.
Allergy hair tests
Having a child with eczema or allergies can be distressing. Unfortunately a number of factors can cause an eczema flare up, or an allergic reaction, including genetics, the environment and dry skin. It can be hard to pinpoint the exact causes.
Some natural practitioners and companies say a simple hair test can detect intolerances. These tests can cost more than $100 a pop but, according to actual clinicians, there is no actual evidence that they work.
Dr Andrew Baker, immunologist and allergy specialist, says hair testing is not an accepted part of medical practice and can be very harmful.
In an article on healthpoint.co.nz, Dr Baker says these types of tests can result in:
- Missed non-allergic diagnosis - giving a false allergy diagnosis might stop a patient pursuing investigation for the real cause.
- Allergic reaction - hair tests may say a patient is not allergic to a substance when, in fact, they are. This could be very dangerous or even fatal. The accepted testing methods, with clinical evidence to support their efficacy, are skin prick tests, specific IgE or RAST blood tests, followed by an oral challenge under the supervision of an experienced allergist/immunologist.
- Harmful avoidance diets - unnecessary avoidance diets can cause a patient to be malnourished. In addition, food anxiety and aversion can develop. "For young children, the stigma of not being able to join in at birthday party meals and being an 'allergy kid' can be very significant," Dr Baker adds.
- Placebo then "nocebo" - embarking on an unnecessary avoidance diet may make a person feel better in the short term. However, after a while, the symptoms return. In some instances patients then think something else needs to be avoided. As a result, a cycle of ongoing food avoidance continues, yet symptoms intermittently continue as well.
Fans of this decorative choking hazard say anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving succinic acid is released by the beads when warmed by your baby's skin. However, amber has to be heated to around 200 degrees before any of the acid can be released - a baby's 36.6 degrees doesn't come close.
No matter how cute they look, it seems like commonsense that parents should avoid putting little beads - that could be swallowed - around the necks of their kids. Yet, parents keep shelling out money for them.
It isn't a debate. Children who can be vaccinated, should be.
Getting your child vaccinated will prevent them from getting a disease. Widespread vaccination eliminates diseases and protects medically vulnerable people.
The anti-vax movement has no basis in clinical evidence.
Facebook groups and coffee groups offer much-needed support for overwhelmed parents navigating raising happy, healthy children. However, myths and hype run rampant in these groups. When it comes to the health of your child, consult a medical professional in the first place for reliable advice.