When a child is coughing as result of a cold or flu everyone has a miserable time of it. Most importantly the child is miserable but parents also suffer as they try to care for the child and battle their own sleeplessness. Anything that provides relief for a childâ€™s cough will be a relief for all concerned and now a new study has shown that a simple remedy is at hand.
Children are far more susceptible to upper respiratory infections than adults and the average child will experience several infections each year. The normality of it however, doesnâ€™t make the experience of the infection any more bearable for anyone. Desperate parents will want to do anything they can to reduce the pain and distress caused by a relentless cough but the acknowledged reality is that over-the-counter cough medicines tend not to work for children under five. That is why researchers wanted to see if something gentle and readily accessible like honey might work.
For the research children aged from two to five years with an upper respiratory tract infection were assigned to one of four treatments. Those treatments were: honey (2.5ml or half a teaspoon), dextromethorphan (a common cough suppressant), diphenhydramine (an antihistamine), or parental care only. The medicines were given before bed time.
Before and after treatment the mothers of the children filled out questionnaires about the childâ€™s cough frequency and severity as well as the sleep quality of children and parents.
The results showed that both of the medications improved both cough and sleep. However, honey led to greater improvement than either medication or the parental care alone.
Honey then, may provide some much needed relief from childhood coughs. There are a couple of caveats to keep in mind though. First, coughing is a normal mechanism to clear infection from the body and so completely suppressing it is not a good idea. Secondly, honey can be contaminated and should not be used for children under twelve months of age.
With these reservations in mind, honey can be a handy home remedy for troublesome coughs in children over one year old.