The Best Remedy For Your Kid's Cough Will Surprise You

Photo by Amanda Worrall / Stocksy

We're well into fall, and along with fun Halloween costumes and back-to-school activities comes the seasonal cold and cough—which can seemingly last forever. So what's the best medication for these symptoms? You might be disappointed to hear the answer, but there's no magic pill that will relieve your kids' cough, sniffles, and sore throat and super speed their path to healing. In fact, many of the common options parents turn toward could do more harm than good.

A new study, published in BMJ analyzed the effectiveness and potential risks of common over-the-counter cough and cold medicines for kids. They found that there's really no evidence that these medications help, and many of them can have concerning side effects. In fact, according to the NYT, "The Food and Drug Administration originally recommended against any over-the-counter cough and cold preparations in children under 2; the American Academy of Pediatrics has extended the recommendation to apply to all children up to 6. And after manufacturers voluntarily withdrew products marketed for infants, and changed labels to recommend against use in young children, researchers found a drop in children coming to emergency rooms for problems with these medicines, which in past studies ranged from hallucinations to cardiac arrhythmias to depressed level of consciousness."

To all those parents who want their kid feeling better STAT, this news can be frustrating. It can also be frustrating to hear that over-the-counter options you thought were safe might not be the best choice. So where do you turn? According to pediatricians, stick to mild remedies that will help keep symptoms at bay—in the gentlest way possible—and support the immune system. Some safe places to turn are plenty of fluids, honey (just not for babies), saline nasal drops, and a fever reducer when necessary. So there you have it! The best treatment for the seasonal sniffles is really no treatment at all.

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