Many of us have seen articles in the news about how effective honey is as a natural cough suppressant. As a pediatrician I am relieved to be able to offer a safe alternative to children who present to the emergency department with a persistent sleep disruptive cough. This is especially because the “traditional” cough suppressants that contain dextromethorphan are ineffective and potentially dangerous.
For children over one year of age, honey is a safe effective cough suppressant. This has been shown in several double blinded randomized control trials. But you can’t just tell parents “go home and give your child some honey”. How much are you supposed to give? What kind of honey are you supposed to use and and when should you give it?
What kind of honey? Many studies that look at honey as a cough suppressant use buckwheat honey; however many other types of honey are also effective.
How much and when? You can give 2 teaspoons at night before bed time (but don’t forget tooth brushing afterwards). Remember that honey can contain botulinum spores. So honey should not be given to children under one year of age!
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