Any family knows that a hacking cough can echo throughout the home and keep the entire house from getting a good night’s sleep.
Plus, parents can be just as stubborn as children about taking the necessary cough medicine. A late-night wrestling brawl won’t ease the cough, but it will increase exhaustion and stress.
The Mayo Clinic reports that the common cold is the leading reason why children miss school. It’s estimated that children catch six to 10 colds a year, while adults catch two to four, and coughing is a primary symptom. It’s also the symptom that most often prompts patients to consult a doctor.
As explained by Dr. Jim LaValle, for healthy people, coughing is a useful reflex that keeps airways clear. However, coughing also spreads germs and interrupts sleep. This further weakens the immune system, which makes people more vulnerable to secondary infection. LaValle, clinical pharmacist and founder of LaValle Metabolic Institute, offers three general tips for treating family coughs:
Honey: Myth or truth? A study found in the “Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine” affirms your suspicions: Grandma was right. A teaspoon nightcap of honey before bedtime seems to ease the cough so you sleep better. Honey is rich in antioxidants and soothes irritation.
Opt for expectorants rather than suppressants. Coughs should be treated with an expectorant to clear out mucus. An expectorant encourages the body to get rid of phlegm quickly. Suppressants, on the other hand, suppress the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
Read the labels. Manufacturers of decongestants, antihistamines and cough suppressants recently relabeled these medications, instructing parents not to use them in children younger than age four. The relabeling followed a U.S. Food and Drug Administration panel that questioned the safety and efficacy of these medications’ use in kids under six years old.
LaValle recommends one of the safest over-the-counter options mixing honey and homeopathic medicines–Chestal. From the makers of Oscillococcinum, a natural flu medicine trusted worldwide, Chestal is safe for everyone two years of age and older. Also available as Children’s Chestal, the child-friendly honey base soothes the throat while a blend of homeopathic medicines loosens congestion.