Frequently asked questions

Q: I heard that immunizations have side effects and I’m nervous about my baby getting them. Should I worry?
A: Immunizations protect against very real and very serious diseases that can cause permanent disability and even death. Over the years, immunizations have markedly decreased the number of children who get these diseases. While immunizations can have serious side effects in very rare cases, your baby is far safer getting these shots than risking serious illness. We’d be happy to talk with you further about any concerns.

Q: My child woke up in the middle of the night with an earache. What can I do?
A: An earache could be a sign of an ear infection, but sometimes pressure in the ear from a cold can also cause pain. A dose of Tylenol or Motrin can decrease the discomfort. It can also help to place a warm compress against the ear or to place a few drops of warm (not hot) olive oil into the ear canal. (Do not put anything in the ear if your child has any discharge from the ear). Call our office in the morning and we’ll be happy to examine your child.

Q: My child has a cold. Can I start an antibiotic right away to keep it from getting worse?
A: Antibiotics only treat bacterial infections. Most colds are caused by viruses, which will not be helped by antibiotics. Instead, we suggest treating the symptoms of a cold. Prescribing antibiotics for conditions that don’t need them can cause antibiotic resistance, which prevents these medications from working as they should.

Q: Is it dangerous for my child to have a fever?
A: A fever is the body’s response to infection, and is a natural part of the process that helps the body fight the infection. We treat fevers only because they make a child feel uncomfortable, not because they are dangerous. In rare cases, a sudden rapid rise in body temperature may cause a “febrile convulsion.” While this can be a scary experience for parents, febrile convulsions do not cause any permanent damage.

Q: My baby gets colds all the time. What can I do to “boost” his immune system?
A: Babies, especially those who go to day care, can have as many as 10-15 colds a year. This is normal, and doesn’t mean your son has an immune problem. Being exposed to these viruses can actually stimulate your child’s immune system to produce antibodies against these viruses, which will help protect him from many of these illnesses in the future.

Q: My child has taken an antibiotic for two days for strep throat, and now she feels much better. Can I stop the medicine?
A: Once your child starts an antibiotic, she should take the full course, even if she feels better before it’s done. This helps prevent the illness from coming back. Your child should not return to school until she has been taking antibiotics for at least 24 hours.