Upstate Parent gets answers to those health and wellness questions you’ve always wanted to ask. You ask us, and we ask local experts to weigh in with some answers. Have a burning question? Let us know! This month’s questions are answered by several local experts. Remember that these answers are the opinions of these specific experts and not intended as medical advice. Always consult your personal doctor about your health.

Q:  Settle this question for me. Is it true that twins run in families?

A: The answer is both yes and no. Monozygotic, or identical, twins occur when a single fertilized egg divides into two separate embryos. This tends to be random around the world with no really known triggers.

Dizygotic, or fraternal, twins occur when two eggs happen to get fertilized at the same time. Fraternal twins not only run in families, but the rate also increases with fertility drugs, maternal age, race/geographic area, mom’s size and diet.

— Dr. Jack Cleland, Medical Group of the Carolinas — Pediatrics — North Grove

Q: My baby’s skin gets dry patches. What should I use to moisturize it? Is it safe to use coconut oil?

A: Sometimes, dry patches can be suggestive of eczema, but that is something that deserves an evaluation and discussion with your physician. I tend to recommend emollients to keep babies skin moisturized. Unfortunately, baby lotions are mostly water-based, so they are not great moisturizers. The thicker the lotion, the better. If a lotion can be pumped out, it may not be thick enough to provide adequate moisturizing effects. I tend to recommend products that contain petrolatum, such as Vaseline or Eucerin. They can be thick and greasy, but they really tend to work.

As for natural options, there is medically based evidence that there can be some benefit from sunflower seed oil, which has direct moisturizing and barrier repair properties, and coconut oil for those with atopic dermatitis (or eczema). Coconut oil can decrease staph colonization on skin, so either of these could also be a reasonable option.

— Dr. Marcia Para, Medical Group of the Carolinas — Pediatrics — Westside 

Q: I hear so much about overuse of antibiotics. Should they be a last resort for my child?

A: When it comes to antibiotic use for your child, the simple answer is to follow your doctor’s recommendations for antibiotic use. Antibiotic overuse and resistance is a growing problem. However, antibiotics can be necessary for common childhood illnesses such as strep throat and ear infections. If you think your child may need an antibiotic, see your primary care physician if possible.

If prescribed, be sure your child completes his or her full course of antibiotic to ensure complete resolution of the infection and to prevent antibiotic resistance.

Antibiotics will not treat viral illnesses such as a viral pharyngitis (sore throat not due to strep), the common cold or the flu. If your doctor says that your child’s illness is viral, trust his or her recommendations for supportive care and monitoring. If your child’s illness drags on more than seven to 10 days or fevers continue to climb, this may need to be re-evaluated.

— Dr. Erin Bailey, Medical Group of the Carolinas — Pediatrics — North Grove

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