Can Honey Help a Cold?

It’s cold season once again and many parents are looking for ways to help a child get through the misery of a cold. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend over-the-counter (OTC) cold and cough medicines for children younger than six due to potentially life-threatening side effects.

So what’s a worried parent to do for that pesky cough? The answer is: honey! Many parents have found that a couple of teaspoons of honey works just as well as cough medicine. In fact, research studies have shown that children with a cold who received honey coughed less, had a less severe cough, and were more likely to sleep better than children who weren’t given honey.

So keep some honey on hand during cold season for children over age one. Children younger than a year old should not be given honey due to the risk of infant botulism. Remember that most cold symptoms will last approximately ten days before subsiding. Always call your pediatrician if your child has a fever over 100.4 for more than a few days, or that is rising, a prolonged cough (more than 10 days), trouble breathing, decreased wet diapers or urination, or lethargy.

Can Honey Help a Cold?

About Michelle Dalal, MD

As a mother herself, pediatrician Dr. Michelle Dalal has learned a lot from raising her two children. “You learn a lot as a parent, particularly in the infancy and toddler stage on how to deal with things,” she explains. “I think being a parent makes a big difference in terms of how you treat pediatric patients. I get a lot of questions about immunizations, I get a lot of questions about how to make sure a child’s diet remains...

View profile View posts by this doctor

5 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. Posted by vixx

    some store-bought versions are organic also – read the label and go from there. Local organic is also great for season allergy relief, b-t-w…

    January 6, 2017 2:36 pm Reply
  2. Posted by Catherine Sefton

    Question: Does honey for a cough work as well for adults as for children?

    January 5, 2017 4:23 pm Reply
    • Posted by Reliant Medical Group

      Hi Catherine. Yes, honey is believed to work just as well for adults at relieving coughs brought on by colds. Two teaspoons per day are recommended.

      January 5, 2017 4:57 pm Reply
  3. Posted by Teresa

    Specify raw organic honey only. Regular store bought honey is nothing but sugar with all the good properties taken out.
    I only use manuka honey from New Zealand and when in season local bee keepers honey.

    January 5, 2017 3:58 pm Reply
    • Posted by Reliant Medical Group

      Thank you for sharing, Teresa!

      January 5, 2017 4:08 pm Reply

Some HTML is OK


Am I eligible to use the Virtual Care Team service?

Are you or the patient 4+ years old?
Are you in Massachusetts at time of video visit?
Do you have a Reliant PCP?
Do you have access to email on the device you are using?
By continuing I’m giving Reliant permission to communicate with me via text or email to complete this visit.

Am I eligible to use the Virtual Care Team service?

Do you have a MyChart account?