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Mommy Truths: February 2008

Mommy Truths

The Hard Learned Lessons and Eye Opening Realities of Raising Young Kids

Friday, February 15, 2008

Taming Coughs with Honey

Uggggh, I've been holed up at home with my two toddlers for two and a half weeks while they've battled four (4!) illnesses. What a rough February! First, my son came down with croup. I though he needed to have a cold first but our pediatrician said the standard course is croup, cold, then possibly ear infection (yep, he got them all). When his cough wouldn't subside after a week, she recommended children's nighttime Triaminic. I balked. Weren't children's cough medicines banned recently by the FDA, I inquired? He's old enough, she said. (The FDA banned them in Oct for children under two years. They are continuing studies for children ages 2 to 11 years.)

Contrary to my pediatrician's prescription, I remembered warnings for children under six so I cautiously read the ingredients in all the childrens' cough medicines at the pharmacy. Many had an anthistamine plus dextromethorphan or Pseudoephedrine (commonly found in Sudafed). I'm okay with the antihistamine. When the warnings first came out, a doctor told me it's the safest choice since it's natural. Plus, it's recommended for bronchitis and is the only medicine that's ever helped a bad cough of mine. I couldn't justify the other ingredients. Sudafed makes me and most adults I know pretty crazed, how can I give it to a child? Plus, most reports have confirmed that standard cough medicines containing dextromethorphan simply don't work. I left the pharmacy emptyhanded.

Instead, I tried honey. A colleage of my husband's recommended a mixture of honey, oil (to smoothe it for stirring) and lemon juice. I tried honey and a little warm mater to mix it in the bottom of a sippy cup. Then I filled it with OJ. Both kids drank it down (by this time, S. was sick, too) and it seemed to work. I can't be sure but a recent study reported in the New York Times indicated that a touch of honey makes a better cure than cough medicine. (Note: Do not give honey to infants under one year because of the slight risk of Botulism.)

Lucky me, their bout with croup, then double ear infections were followed by vomiting then diarrhea (from the antibiotic for the ear infection). I don't have a solution yet for ailments of the gut other than lots of towels, laundry detergent, and patient motherly love. Here's to a healthier March!

Disclaimer: Please check with your own pediatrician before giving your children any over the counter medications including antihistamines!