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 19 February 2018

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News

Child health professionals still attribute symptoms to "teething"

Health professionals still attribute many major ills to infant teething, despite good evidence that teething is associated with minor and relatively infrequent symptoms, finds a study in this week's British Medical Journal.

News image

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Researchers in Australia surveyed representative samples of the five groups of professionals most closely concerned with the health of children: pediatricians, dentists, pharmacists, nurses, and general practitioners.

41% of pharmacists recommended sedating medication for symptoms.
British Medical Journal

They found that in every professional group, most thought that at least some infants or young children suffer symptoms of teething.

Pediatricians attributed an average of 3 symptoms to teething and nurses an average of 10.

Acetaminophen (paracetamol) and teething gels were widely recommended by all groups, with 41% of pharmacists recommending sedating medication.

These beliefs may prevent professionals from effectively managing some of the common developmental issues of infancy and might lead to late diagnosis of important illnesses.

They also illustrate how great the distance may be between research evidence and professional practice, say the authors.

BMJ 2002; 325: 814
11 October 2002

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