Growing up, I remember singing Mary Poppins’ song, “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” While I didn’t understand the song, I knew that it was catchy. And while I still cringe at the thought of taking cough syrup, especially because of the high fructose corn syrup that can be found in most bottles, it seems sweet relief is on its way. According to a new study, as reported by FoxNews, a spoonful of honey could help kids and parents both cope with nighttime coughs.
The new study, published in Pediatrics, shows researchers from Israel took 300 kids, ages 1 to 5, and had them try 1 of 4 nighttime cough treatments. Parents would give their children 2 teaspoons of honey or one of three placebos 30 minutes before bed. The following week, on a 7-point scale, parents rated how their children slept. The study, led by Dr. Herman Avner Cohen of Tel Aviv University, found children who were given honey slept better and reduced their coughing more than those who took the placebo. Parents also reaped the benefits by sleeping through the night!
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Whooping cough, also know as pertussis, is a bacterial infection that affects the upper throat, causing one to cough. It is highly contagious and can be contracted from being in the presence of someone who is infected, because the bacteria can be transmitted in tiny particles of saliva emitted by coughing. Pertussis usually takes three to 12 days for symptoms to appear, and the symptoms can last for six to ten weeks. The infection progresses in three stages. The first stage consists of mild cold symptoms (mild cough, runny nose, watery eyes), but this is when one is the most contagious. In the second stage, the cough gets worse but other symptoms clear up. In the third and final stage, the coughing becomes more infrequent, but can relapse if one contracts another illness.
Immunization is the most common form of prevention. The vaccination for whooping cough consists of a series of five injections, which are usually given in combination with vaccinations for diphtheria and tetanus. It is recommended that the first shot is administered to babies starting at two months. Hand washing is also an important form of prevention, for pertussis and other infections, particularly if you have been around anyone with a severe cough.
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This story on MSN.com was of particular importance to me, because I have coughing issues. I’ve been diagnosed with mild asthma and possibly an allergy of some sort. It’s a life-altering condition, because when a cough attack comes on, it can be uncontrollable and breathtaking, in the most literal sense.
Not to get too much into my psyche and the opinion I have of HMOs, doctors, etc., but I definitely want to be treated and diagnosed by specialists. I just feel like the diagnosis is based on very minimal inquiry. I got a breathing test to see what my lung capacity is, a steth0scope to the chest and back, and that’s it.
Maybe that’s all that can be done. But, I feel like the docs are just sort of guessing based on minimal testing and then treating symptoms with a pill. Again, maybe that’s all that can be done. But if there’s a natural way of treating it (like avoiding something I may be allergic to) or even an alternative like acupuncture, I’m game.