Parental pop quiz: your kid comes home from school with a stomachache — do you limit their Flamin’ Hot Cheetos intake or head straight to the pediatrician’s office?
Being a parent is anything but easy, but trying to treat your child’s mysterious aches and pains can be particularly tricky; especially since kids seem to get sick so often, thanks to a developing immune system and an insatiable curiosity about the surrounding world. As author Mary Ruebush writes in her book, Why Dirt Is Good, “What a child is doing when he puts things in his mouth is allowing his immune response to explore his environment. Not only does this allow for ‘practice’ of immune responses, which will be necessary for protection, but it also plays a critical role in teaching the immature immune response what is best ignored.”
While this kind of exploration is necessary and important, it means kids can get sick a lot and it can be tough to know how to distinguish run-of-the-mill symptoms from something serious. We asked our pediatric specialists to break down how parents can handle four of the most common kid complaints: