Honey as an Alternative to Cough Medicine for Children

Since children's cough medicine has been pulled from store shelves, parents are now looking for alternative ways to treat their child's cough.

Melissa Hendricks is dealing with that.  She is trying to find a way to treat her niece Liberty's cough.

"I had some over-the-counter cough medicine at home but I wasn't sure if I should use it or not. So since her cough hasn't been that bad, I'm letting her cough to try and get over it," said Hendricks, Liberty's aunt.

Researchers say honey may be the answer, or at least part of one. A study published in the Archives of Pediatrics found that a spoonful of honey 30 minutes before bedtime helped younger children deal with a cough and sleep better.

"Honey often times brings relief from the cough and comfort to the sore scratchy throat," said Charlene Seale, a nurse practitioner in Amarillo.

The recommendation to use honey comes with a strong warning: Do not give honey to children under one years old for fear of developing botulism, a rare but serious form of food poisoning.

One clinical pediatric pharmacist in Amarillo takes exception to the study.

"This study does not prove that honey is our silver bullet," wrote Allison Walker, a pediatric pharmacist.

"If you compared giving the child the honey and giving the child a sucker or a piece of candy, the results would likely be the same," said Walker.

Walker wants to stress that honey may not be the only sugary substance that can help alleviate, not necessarily cure, a child's cough.

Doctors say keeping a room moist by using a humidifier is also a good way of dealing with the cough.

Melissa Hendricks says she might try the honey, or she might just let nature take its course.

"Trying to ride it out, that's what I'm trying to do right now," said Hendricks.

The study can be found in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Health by using this link: