In every issue of WebMD the Magazine, we ask experts to answer readers' questions about a wide range of topics, including some of the oldest -- and most cherished -- medical myths out there. For our November-December 2011 issue, we asked Michael Wahl, MD, medical director of the Illinois Poison Center, in Chicago, about the relative risks of eating poinsettia.
Q: I've always heard that poinsettias are poisonous to kids and pets. My husband says that's hogwash. Who's right?
Like the Christmas...
Read food labels carefully. All foods that contain phenylalanine should have "contains phenylalanine" on the label.
The PKU diet may result in certain nutritional deficiencies that can slow a person's growth. It is important that everyone with PKU sees a specialist for nutritional counseling. This is especially important for those considering pregnancy.
Teach siblings, grandparents, caregivers, teachers, and friends about the dietary restrictions. They need to understand that symptoms of the disease will develop if the child does not follow the diet.
As your child grows, following the diet may become more difficult. Some children may rebel against the diet, especially during the teen years, as they gain more independence and are influenced by peers. Give your child some control by letting him or her choose what to eat from a variety of low-phenylalanine foods. Continue to stress the importance of staying with the diet. Explain how straying from the diet can cause both immediate and long-term consequences, such as lower intelligence.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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