Ever go “oh, I wish I knew that before I came to the ER!” when the doc tells you that little Johnny’s fever of 105 for one day does not indicate impending doom or the need for antibiotics? Ever wonder why little Jenny doesn’t poop every day – and that it is OK? Well, if you have, a book by Lara Zibners, MD called “if your kid eats this book, everything will still be okay” is a good thing to pick up.
First, I can tell you I am not being paid to endorse this book. I have never met Dr Zibners and only know she is an ER doc trained in pediatric emergency medicine. She wrote this book – and honestly, I wish I had her energy to do the same – to inform parents from an EMERGENCY doctor’s position, about their kids health, and when they should and should not bring the little one into the ER. If I had a nickel for every time I explained to parents the proper dose of tylenol and ibuprofen, the alternating dosing regimen to control fever, the fact that how high the fever goes rarely matters (it is the presence of it, the duration, and rate of rise that matter), and that not every sore throat, ear infection, or bronchitis needs an antibiotic, I would be retired in luxury by now! Dr Zibners does it all for you. In fact, I think this book should be given to new parents when they leave the hospital! For some reason, a lot of this info is not imparted to parents by their pediatricians routinely (some do but I know some good pediatricians who don’t explain enough of these things to their patients’ parents), so it is left to us when they are standing there with young Freddie in the ER hallway, having only gotten a quick screening exam and discharge papers.
She goes first by age – discussing newborns and then later by organ system or complaint. She covers lots of things that children do NORMALLY that many parents think are a sign of hidden pathology. Examples include, tugging on the ears, sounding congested, breathing and moving thier bowels’ irregularly. She nicely has important things in highlighted boxes, telling people when a true emergency exists and when it is time to drop everything and call 911. One of my favourite quotes from the book pertains to a safe, recommended home regimen parents can use to make a cold go away faster (compared to frowned upon cold medications); “Stick ten beans in your pocket and throw one away every day. When the beans are gone, she’ll (your daughter) be better. ” Brilliant. I am SO going to use that one. My “tincture of time” recommendation notwithstanding, she has many better (and funnier) things she tells parents. She writes with a good sense of humour and like a NORMAL person, not someone like Dr Oz or some other famous TV doctor who has to watch themselves all the time. She tells parents things like “We really don’t care about x,y, and z, we DO care about a, b, and c though”. Thus parents, with a few exceptions, can avoid giving the ER doc the grisly details of the colour of Baby’s diarrhoea (like “it is GREEN!!!”). Anyway, give it a read and avoid an unnecessary trip the ER at 4am