If you didn’t cough, you couldn’t keep your lungs clean and tidy. Your lungs are lined with cells that secrete mucus to trap the things that float in the air like viruses, bacteria, and pollution. When you get sick, the self-cleaning function of your lungs is compromised. Until you are well again, your lung cleaning goes on manual: you cough.
Doctors don’t believe that cough medicines are very helpful—or very effective. Cough medications tell your brain to stop coughing. There are better sensors in your lungs that make you cough when there is mucus or irritation. The only way to shut these off is through medications that cause sedation. Sedating children and infants isn’t safe: they can stop breathing.
What then to do about cough?
Honey may be one sweet answer. It forms a soothing, protective layer over mucus membranes. It also has antioxidant properties. Researchers gave honey to children with a nighttime cough and found it superior to a placebo made from an extract of dates.
The children who were given 2 tsp (10 milliliters) of honey 30 minutes before bedtime slept better. Their parents slept better too and reported that their children’s coughs were less severe with the honey.
This is one safe option for children over 1 year of age. Never give honey to a baby before their first birthday. Honey can be contaminated with botulism spores and cause life-threatening paralysis of the breathing muscles.
Another source of effective home remedies for your sick child can be found in The Holistic Pediatrician by Kathi J. Kemper, MD.