Short questions on cramps, SIDS, lumps, spatulas, and suckers
© 2010 Roy Benaroch, MD
A quick-fire post! Time to clear out the inbox…
Michelle: “Is it possible for girls to have cramps before (about a year or so) they start their period?”
I don’t think that’s likely, at least not that far beforehand. Constipation, stress, poor diet (too much processed food, not enough fresh fruits/vegs/water), not enough exercise, and lactose intolerance would be far more likely.
L asked: “Why do some children develop knots in the leg after immunization injections?”
They’re called “sterile abscesses”, which isn’t a great name—they’re not really abscesses at all. The knots are caused by a local inflammatory reaction, and they’re more likely to occur if the needle was too short or if the child jerked away. The knots don’t really mean anything, and don’t interfere with the way the vaccine works. Expect them to gradually go away in a few months.
Sheri: “My 6 1/2 month old recently started sleeping on his stomach. I put him down on his back half swaddled with his arms out for every sleep. He cries, moves around and eventually rolls over on his stomach for the rest of the night. I know this increases his risk of SIDS but I can’t stop him from rolling over. Can I stop worrying?”
Yes. Stop worrying. The “back to sleep” campaign, which has reduced SIDS by about 50%, encourages parents to put babies on their backs to sleep—but never included any instructions to keep babies on their backs. Once your child can roll to him stomach, leave him there. You don’t have to stand aside his crib all night with a spatula, flipping him back over.
Melissa: “Hi- I was wondering what your opinion was on all of the antibacterial products that are available now and so widely used.”
No good studies have been able to confirm that antibacterial-coated products have been able to reduce infections. I doubt they could have any net effect on the germs that children are exposed to, with the single exception of alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Those have been shown to reduce infections among health care works and in day cares. You want to avoid infections? Try:
- Good handwashing
- Frequent use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers
- Vaccines against preventable illnesses like influenza
- Keeping your children away from sick children
- A good night’s sleep
Antibacterial surfaces, special vitamin supplements (including those “developed by a teacher” or sold by olympians), herbs, wands, sprays, magic air ionizers, and plenty of other gizmos and elixirs are big money-makers for some, and big money-wasters for others. Don’t be a sucker.