There are no small amount of health scares that persist in this day and age – as adults we see them ourselves in cases of epidemics and “epidemics”, some of which are credible and some which are, to be charitable, less than helpful. In the case of babies’ health there is no less controversy, and there have been more than a few scares that have been shown to be unfounded. This has the highly unfortunate and undesirable effect of making people naturally skeptical, which can cause harmful indecision in times of genuine illness. Pediatricians are understanding and well-trained, so if you have a cause for concern it is worth taking it up with them.
One example of scare mongering having a negative effect is one that happened in Britain, when a medical paper written collaboratively by several doctors included a single line that raised the possibility that the MMR vaccination that had been in circulation for quite some time may be linked to autism in children. Although this line was written by one doctor, who had not even definitively claimed that the link was real and provable, the national press picked up on it and made it into a huge story. Although the other doctors involved in the study distanced themselves from the claim and it emerged that no evidence existed for any such link, the press had their story, and many parents were understandably reluctant to have their child immunized with the vaccine. When it comes down to it, getting medical advice from the media is not advisable.