Stories about: Claire McCarthy MD

Why you should only use antibiotics if truly necessary

Four ways that antibiotics can cause real problems

Let’s be honest: most parents feel better when their sick child is prescribed an antibiotic.

There’s just something so reassuring about having a prescription. It’s hard to feel like all you can do is wait and give your child TLC; it feels better to do something. Even when the doctor says that your child has a virus, and explains that antibiotics treat bacteria, not viruses, it’s common for parents to think: but what if there is even a little chance that there is a bacterial infection along with — or instead of — the virus? It can’t hurt to be safe, right?

But that’s the thing: it can hurt. Here are four ways that antibiotics can cause real problems.

Read Full Story | Leave a Comment

Ten reasons to call the pediatrician about a cough

coughs-children

Every child gets a cough from time to time; there’s really no escaping them. It’s completely normal for children to catch several colds a year, especially if they are in daycare or go to school, and common allergies can cause a cough too.

Most of the time, it’s nothing to worry about. Most of the time, some rest, plenty of fluids, honey (for children over a year old) and some patience and TLC do the trick. But sometimes, it’s important to call the doctor. Here’s when you should worry about a cough:

Read Full Story | Leave a Comment

Four things you might not know about fever

4 things to know about fever in children.

Of everything we pediatricians get called about, I think that fever is the most common. Which isn’t surprising, given that fever can be a sign of illness. But despite the fact that it is so common, fever is often misunderstood — and often frightens people more than it should. Here are four things all parents should know about fever.

Read Full Story | Leave a Comment

Don’t Panic About Enterovirus D68

McCarthyClaire_201108_047With all the news about Enterovirus D68 sending hundreds of children to hospitals, it’s easy to panic when you hear about a case in your neighborhood—or, even worse, if your child starts coughing.

But please, don’t panic.

This virus has certainly caused trouble. Enteroviruses are incredibly common, causing 10-15 million illnesses a year—but usually, those illnesses are minor. This one, for reasons we don’t fully understand, is stronger, and is worse for kids than for adults.

I can hear you saying: so why shouldn’t I panic? Here’s why.

Read Full Story | Leave a Comment