Ask doctor Cory.Dear Pr. Cory:
Why do we need medicine? And why do we have to take it?
West Haverstraw, New York
Some medicines help us feel better when we are sick. Others help us fight illnesses and stay healthy. Pain medicines ease the discomfort of earaches, sore throats, and headaches. When pain goes away, the sick person can eat and sleep better--helping the body fight infection and get better faster. Antibiotics (an-ty-by-AH-tiks) either kill the bacteria that cause infections or stop the bacteria from growing so the body can fight and destroy the infection. Not treating bacterial infections with antibiotics may lead to serious complications. Strep throat is an example of such an infection.
Pear Dr. Cory:
I got my tonsils removed when I was 5. Why did they do that?
You may have had many throat infections or trouble swallowing. Tonsils used to be removed more often than they are now. But surgery is sometimes considered when children have the following:
* repeated strep throat infections;
* frequent throat infections with fevers that don't clear up with antibiotic medicine;
* enlarged tonsils that stay enlarged and make it difficult to swallow or breathe.
Tonsils are part of the lymphatic (lim-FAT-ik) system and make antibodies to fight infections that enter the mouth by food or air. They help keep the infection from spreading to other parts of the body. Even though you no longer have your tonsils, you may get more throat infections. Other tissues in the body take over the tonsils' job of fighting infection.
Dear Dr. Cory:
I have a huge sweet tooth and am afraid that I am not getting the fruits and vegetables I need to stay healthy. What should I do?
S'mores After School La Crescent, Minnesota
Dear S'mores After School:
It is easy to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. There are even sweet-tasting vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes. Have you ever tried baked sweet potato fries? Try these additional sweet and healthy ideas:
* Help your family shop for fruits and vegetables and choose those that look good to you.
* Help your family wash, peel, and prepare fruits and vegetables for snacks or meals.
* For a quick and easy snack, dip berries or slices of fruit in low-fat vanilla yogurt.
* Keep carrots, celery sticks, and radishes in a bowl of water in your refrigerator for easy snacking.
* Instead of s'mores, try a fruit smoothie by blending frozen fruit, low-fat yogurt, and skim milk.
* Start your own vegetable garden. It's a lot more fun to eat what you grow!
Viruses cause many infections, such as colds and flu. Antibiotic medicines cannot kill viruses. When people use antibiotics to try to get rid of a virus it adds to the antibiotic resistance problem--meaning that antibiotics will no longer be able to fight bacteria to get rid of infections. This is something health care professionals are trying hard to prevent by educating everyone about using antibiotics correctly. If you stop taking antibiotic medicine when you begin to feel better, the antibiotic can't finish its job. This allows the bacteria to become stronger and fight off the antibiotic. The next time you need that antibiotic medicine, it may not work for you. You can do your part in preventing antibiotic resistance by always taking your antibiotic medicine for as long as your doctor says to take it.