Most kids turn out all right! That's something Dr. Mehmet Oz says nervous new parents should be reminded of. It's important to let children live! The cardiac surgeon and author, whose latest book You: Raising Your Child (The Owner's Manual From First Breath to First Grade) ($14) is a must read, speaks from experience, as he is also a father of four! But, I recently had the chance to chat with him about hot topics from vaccines to diapering.
LilSugar: Is the threat of whooping cough a huge issue or a highly publicized issue?
Dr. Mehmet Oz: Well, I'm worried about it. These are Victorian era illnesses that we hadn't seen in a long time. My father who is 85 had siblings who died of Whooping cough — these are not rare events in the 20s and 30s. In NYC, there was a huge outbreak of adults and whooping cough, so I got vaccinated because I'm around patients a lot, and I don't want to give them something that could potentially be lethal to them if they were getting heart surgery. I think it also makes sense for children.
My wife and I were very cautious about vaccines. Lisa is very skeptical of a lot of the information that is in support of vaccines. I tend to believe it because it's my cultural background — to look at the information and tend to trust it, but there's schisms within families like mine (let alone in society). But, I do think that if you make sure your child is healthy when they get the vaccine, keep them nutritionally up-to-date, and keep them sleeping well when they get the vaccine, they will tolerate the inflammatory condition which is caused by a vaccine because there will be some inflammation around it. The majority of kids tolerate vaccines well, and for the majority of their life (if not their entire life), they are then immune from an illness that could be life-threatening. It turns out that whooping cough vaccine does not give you life-long immunity for a lot of people, which is why you have to get revaccinated. Certainly as a child, I would get vaccinated; that's not one of these new color vaccines that people moan and groan about. These are old time vaccines that have been in use before I was born (and I'm 50) with a pretty good track record.
To see Dr. Oz's comments on peanut allergies and the cloth versus disposable diaper debate,
LS: Why are peanut allergies so prevalent now? Is there anything an expectant mother can do to prevent her child from getting a peanut allergy?
MO: There are more peanut allergies now. We think part of it might be because peanut oil is found in so much stuff. I'd be cautious as a mom eating peanuts for concern that you might create some awkward inter-uterine response, but the bigger issue now when kids are young is to let them eat it by itself until you are sure they don't have an issue, because its cause is an immune weakness in the gut — that is really where the reaction happens. And, I'm unaware of a solution for that. I don't know why it's so common, but it has increased a lot.
LS: Are cloth diapers better?
MO: We had this debate in my house, and my wife said the amount of chemicals used to clean the cloth diapers was the same as the headache of having landfills filled (with the disposable diapers). I don't have an answer. I don't think one is better than the other. You could let the kid run around naked, and I guess that's the best option I gather (laughs).
Check out other portions of our interview with Dr. Oz here!