Myth 1: A green or yellow runny nose means that your child has a sinus infection and needs antibiotics.This is usually not true. A sinus infection is commonly defined as having a green or yellow runny nose that lasts for more than 10-14 days without improvement. Many other infections caused by viruses can also cause a green runny nose, but unlike a sinus infection, these infections will not respond to an antibiotic.
I think most parents understand the difference between an infection caused by a virus and an infection caused by a bacteria, and that only bacterial infections respond to antibiotics. But many believe the myth that a green runny nose means a sinus infection, which can lead to your child taking antibiotics unnecessarily. So remember that while a green or yellow runny nose does mean that your child has an infection, unless it has been lasting for more than 10-14 days, then it is probably just a cold that will get better on its own. And it is not because your child will likely get better on his own that antibiotics aren't used for viral infections, instead it is because they just don't work on these types of infections.
Myth 2: A fever is bad for you.Fever by itself is not harmful or dangerous, and is unlikely to cause brain damage or other problems. Even febrile seizures (a seizure triggered by a fever) aren't usually dangerous. Fever is not a disease. Instead, it is a symptom that can accompany many childhood illnesses, especially infections. In general, you should call your pediatrician if your infant under three months of age has a rectal temperature above 100.4 F, if your infant aged 3-6 months has a temperature above 101 F, or if an infant above 6 months has a temperature above 103 F.
For most older children, it is not so much the number, but rather how your child is acting that is concerning. If your older child is alert, active and playful, is not having difficulty breathing, and is eating and sleeping well, or if the temperature comes down quickly with home treatments (and he is feeling well), then you don't necessarily need to call your doctor immediately.
That is why the old adage of "feed a cold, starve a fever" doesn't work. If your child has a fever and is hungry, let him eat.
However, it is important to keep in mind that a fever is not the only sign of a serious illness. While some children are fine with a temperature of 104, others can be deathly ill with a temperature of 101 or even without a fever or a low temperature. Whether or not your child has a fever, if he is very irritable, confused, lethargic (doesn't easily wake up), has difficulty breathing, has a rapid and weak pulse, is refusing to eat or drink, is still ill-appearing even after the fever is brought down, has a severe headache or other specific complaint (burning with urination, if he is limping, etc.), or if he has a fever and it is persistent for more than 24 to 48 hours, then you should call your pediatrician or seek medical attention immediately.
Myth 3: A fever is good for you.While a fever is a sign that your body is fighting an infection, lowering the fever will not make it take longer to get over the infection. You do not necessarily need to treat your child's fever, but in most cases, fever can be treated as a comfort measure. Treating a fever, especially if it is caused by an infection, will not help your child to get better any faster either, but it may help make it feel better. If your child has a fever, especially if it is low grade, but does not feel bad, then you don't really need to give him a fever reducer.
Treatment of a fever can include using an age-appropriate dose of an over-the-counter fever reducer, including products that contain acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil). If you child has an infection, using a fever reducer will not help your child to get better any faster, but they will probably make him feel better. You should also give your child a lot of fluids when he has a fever, so that he does not get dehydrated. Keep in mind that treatment of a fever is usually to help your child feel better, so if he has a fever, but doesn't feel bad, especially if the fever is low grade, then you do not need to treat the fever.
Is it safe to alternate acetaminophen and ibuprofen? If you are using the correct dosage of each medicine at the correct times, then it is probably safe, although there is no research to prove that it helps. The problem is that it is easy to get confused and give an extra dose of one or the other medicines. If you are alternating fever reducers, then write down a schedule with the times that you are giving the medicines so that the correct medicine is always given at the correct time.