Another new study confirms what your mom may have already told you, a teaspoon or two of honey relieves coughing so your child—and the rest of the household--can get some rest. In fact, for children between the ages of 1 and 6, honey may be the safest and most effective cough suppressant.
In the study, children received either 2 teaspoons of eucalyptus honey, citrus honey, labiatae honey, or similar-tasting silan date extract 30 minutes before bed.
All kids had fewer symptoms the second night of the study, including those given the date extract. But children who received honey coughed less frequently, less severely, and were less likely to lose sleep due to the cough when compared to those who didn't get honey.
The parents of children who were given honey also reported sleeping better.
This is good news for parents who don’t have many good options when it comes to relieving their little one’s nagging cough. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, over-the-counter cough and cold medicines don’t work for children under the age of 6 and they carry the risk of dangerous side effects or overdose.
While many parents may already be using honey, it’s still good to know that science backs up mom’s advice. As for the type of honey to use, doctors say it doesn’t matter so choose one that tastes best to your child.
There are, however, situations in which honey should not be used, or when traditional medication is necessary or more effective. Never give honey to children younger than a year old due to the risk of infant botulism.
Also, skip the honey and call your pediatrician if:
- your child has a fever
- the cough persists or worsens
- your child is wheezing
- the symptoms last longer than two weeks
Other Cough Remedies
Other ways to ease childhood coughs that are also endorsed by pediatricians include: saline drops or nasal sprays, humidifiers in the child’s room, and propping up the child’s head at night to prevent postnasal drip from aggravating the cough.