Pediatric cough syrup: Which is the most effective?

Mother giving 2 years old baby boy medicine, cough syrup on a sp

Every winter, one or two of the family members will inevitably have symptoms of coughing. As the virus spreads between different family members, it is often unusual for a runny nose and cough to be particularly annoying—especially when these symptoms prevent you and your child from sleeping all night. To alleviate cough, we have our favourite syrup brand – but which one is the most effective?

Unfortunately, if you follow strict pediatric and family medicine advice, then no over-the-counter cough syrup is really effective! The medical community has gained more and more consensus in this regard: syrup is not only useless but may also bring side effects. For example, many syrups contain antipyretics like Tylenol (acetaminophen). But in many cases, parents will use syrup and “decompression tablets” at the same time. This antipyretic drug includes Tylenol, which will cause excessive medication. Thousands of children are sent to the emergency room every year because of excessive cough syrup, and some of them have life-threatening symptoms. In the United States, an overdose is a very serious problem, so in 2008, the US Food and Drug Administration required all companies to stop providing over-the-counter syrup to children under 2 years of age, for syrup for children aged 2 to 6 years old. Strict control.

I know this may sound frustrating. You will say that the child coughs, I have to do something. But studies have confirmed that the ingredients that cough syrup usually contains - dextromethorphan, guaifenesin, etc., do not have much effect on cough. Some Chinese-made syrups contain clenbuterol or ephedrine. These substances can theoretically clean the respiratory tract. In fact, the effect is weak, and serious side effects will occur after a small amount.

If taking medicine is useless, can it only make the child guilty? In fact, the most effective cough syrup may be lying in your home at this moment. It is honey! A few studies have confirmed that taking a small amount of honey for children over 1 year old (not for children under 1 year of age, or risk of botulism) is very effective and has few side effects. On the one hand, honey is thickly wrapped in a layer, and on the other hand, honey has an anti-inflammatory effect. Some people think that Manuka honey is more effective, but this honey is too expensive, and there is no evidence to support its high price. For children under 5 years of age, try taking half a tablespoon (2.5 ml); children aged 6 to 11 take 1 tablespoon (5 ml); children over 12 years old take 2 tablespoons (10 ml). Adding some lemon juice can also help the throat to reduce swelling and reduce the amount of sputum. If you take it before going to bed, don't forget to brush your teeth after taking it.

My favourite Chinese medicine is a cough syrup containing honey: 枇杷 cream. I found it to taste good and more effective than Tylenol, Whitfield and other medicines. Also, its side effects are small. This syrup contains honey, and some Chinese medicines, including medlar, are plants that Chinese medicine believes have a therapeutic effect on cough.

Of course, there are multiple reasons behind the cough – it may be a symptom of pneumonia, asthma or bacterial infection. If your child's coughing symptoms are more serious than normal viral infections, take your child to the doctor.

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