Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Gum for a 2-Year-Old? That's One to Choke On

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Gum for a 2-Year-Old? That's One to Choke On

Article excerpt

Dear Dr. Donohue: I need to know if swallowing chewing gum will harm my grandchildren. My husband loves to give gum to the grandchildren. The younger one, age 2, swallows the gum no matter how hard I try to tell him to discard it in the trash. Grandpa insists that "it isn't causing any harm." He also has a habit of giving my dog part of a stick of gum. How much harm is this causing my grandchildren and my dog? Gum travels through the digestive tract with ease, practically unchanged. Its sweeteners are digested, but that's about all that happens. For all practical purposes, it's indigestible.

It doesn't stick to the insides. It won't cause appendicitis - a concern at one time.

However, giving gum to a 2-year-old is flirting with danger. I am sensitive to the issue because I saw a 2-year-old choke on gum that had lodged in the child's breathing passage. On this side of the controversy, I'll back you up all the way. A 2-year-old is too young to be chewing gum. As for the dog, I am at a loss. Instinct tells me that dogs are ill-equipped to understand how to chew gum. They, too, could choke on it. Dear Dr. Donohue: Have you any suggestions for treating cold sores? I get one after another on my lip. I have tried every nostrum known to man, with no success. I'd be eternally grateful if you could come up with a solution. I'm sure you haven't tried Denavir, a safe, newly marketed cream that eases cold-sore pain and speeds healing. You do need a prescription for it, but your doctor should not give you a hard time. Cold sores are the reawakened herpes-1 virus, which never leaves the body once it appears. Dear Dr. Donohue: I don't think the dentist who wrote you totally clarified the antibiotic issue to prevent infections on heart valves affected by rheumatic fever. That goes for artificial heart valves, too. I understand the need for antibiotics, because I have been instructed to take them before any cleaning process is performed. …

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