Weekly challenge: use honey to calm coughing in kids
Over-the-counter cold remedies aren’t appropriate for young children -- the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against their use in children under age 6 -- because they’re not effective and may pose health hazards. So what to do for children whose incessant hacking prevents them from getting a good night’s sleep?
Honey may be the perfect remedy, according to a study published in Monday’s issue of the journal Pediatrics. Israeli researchers compared three different honey products against a placebo containing date extract on 300 children ages 1 to 5 with colds and found that giving two teaspoons of honey just before bedtime relieved the frequency and severity of coughing better than the placebo.
(All the remedies, though, provided some relief in coughing compared with the night before, probably due to the placebo effect and the short duration of colds.)
One caveat: Kids under age 1 shouldn’t be given honey because it has been associated with infant botulism, which can be life-threatening.
Honey should be administered straight from a measuring teaspoon, like cough syrup, because it coats the throat better when its undiluted and viscous.
While this research was performed in young children, there’s no reason why older children and adults with colds can’t try honey too -- as long as they’re not allergic.
Deborah Kotz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @debkotz2.
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