Q&A with Dr. Jay

Question: My 10-year-old son was around a friend who has the flu. The friend was tested at the walk-in clinic, given medicine and now is on the mend. My son now has the symptoms. Should I go get him tested?

Dr. Jay: If your son has had the symptoms for 48 hours or less, it would be important to test him if you want him started on an antiviral medication. If your son has been sick for over 48 hours, research has shown that antiviral medications are not as effective and may not do much to change the course of the illness. The flu is a virus, and antibiotics do not kill it. A healthy individual should recover from the illness in about 7-10 days. If your child is not recovering in that time period, you should have him examined because a prolonged battle with the flu may make him prone to other infections. Antiviral medications for the most part are effective if given in the appropriate time, but like all medications, they carry side effects like nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. So, you must decide if the illness is worse than the potential side effects.

Question: Does it really matter what kind of food I start my baby with?

Dr. Jay: Pureed foods for babies are generally started between 4and 6 months of age. It is highly recommended not to start baby food before 4 months of age because of the association with developing food allergies. If you feel like your baby is ready to start, traditionally a cereal like rice cereal is chosen first. Then, vegetables, fruits, and meats last. There is really no research to show that starting a certain kind of food is more advantageous than another. Like a lot of things in life, things are done because that’s the way it’s always been done, not based on science or research. There is even some research on starting our babies on meats earlier that we had in the past (usually around 8-9 months of age). It is important when you introduce a new food, let that be the only thing new your baby has for 4-5 days. That way, if they have a reaction to that food, you will know what it is.

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