Are Lemon & Honey Good for Toddlers?
Combining lemon and honey is an excellent home remedy for coughs, especially in children. It is a much safer and tastier option than over-the-counter cough suppressants. The Food and Drug Administration recommends avoiding the use of over-the-counter cough medicine in children under 4 years, so honey is a viable alternative. While honey is safe for toddlers to consume, it is not recommended for children under 1 year, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Giving honey to infants could result in infant botulism, which can be extremely serious. Children older than a year have an immune system developed enough to fight any bacteria that might be found in honey. Ask a doctor about giving honey if your child has any immune deficiencies.
Honey as a Cough Remedy
According to the AAP, recent research indicates that honey can be more effective at soothing a cough than cough medicine purchased over-the-counter. Give toddlers 1 teaspoon of honey as needed to soothe a cough. The honey thins mucosal secretions and loosens a child’s cough. A drop of lemon juice can be used to add some vitamin C. Warming the mixture slightly can be soothing as well, but it is important to test warmed honey and lemon before giving it to a toddler to ensure it is not too hot.
Health Benefits of Honey
Honey can also be used to soothe sore throats in toddlers. It has skin care benefits as well and can often be found in lotions, soaps and bubble baths. Honey is a humectant that attracts and holds moisture. It has antimicrobial properties and contributes to healthy, natural skin care products. The National Honey Board, which is overseen by the FDA, offers a number of recipes for those interested in making their own cough suppressants and skin care products from honey.
A Natural Sweetener
Honey is a natural sweetener and a healthy alternative to processed sugar. It is slightly sweeter than sugar, so less can be used to achieve the same sweetness. It can be drizzled over whole-grain bread, fruit and even chicken. It might just get picky eaters to try something new. However, as with all sweeteners, honey provides a burst of energy, so be prepared to be active after feeding toddlers honey. It contains 17 grams of carbohydrates per tablespoon.
Honey and Allergies
There is anecdotal evidence that honey can relieve seasonal allergy symptoms, but this has not been scientifically proven 3. Honey may have anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce swelling in nasal passages irritated by allergens. Honey may also contain flower pollen, which is an allergen. Allergies are often treated by administering repeated small doses of allergens, so eating honey containing pollen may have similar effects, according to MayoClinic.com.
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- HealthyChildren.org: Coughs and Colds, Medicines or Home Remedies?
- HealthyChildren.org: Botulism
- MayoClinic.com: Can Honey Lessen Seasonal Allergy Symptoms?
- U.S. Department of Agriculture. Honey. FoodData Central. 2019.
- Cianciosi D, Forbes-Hernández TY, Afrin S, et al. Phenolic Compounds in Honey and Their Associated Health Benefits: A Review. Molecules. 2018;23(9):2322. doi:10.3390/molecules23092322
- Oduwole O, Udoh EE, Oyo-Ita A, Meremikwu MM. Honey for acute cough in children. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018;4:CD007094. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD007094.pub5
- Pasupuleti VR, Sammugam L, Ramesh N, Gan SH. Honey, Propolis, and Royal Jelly: A Comprehensive Review of Their Biological Actions and Health Benefits. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2017;2017:1259510. doi:10.1155/2017/1259510
- Aguiar R, Duarte FC, Mendes A, Bartolomé B, Barbosa MP. Anaphylaxis caused by honey: A case report. Asia Pac Allergy. 2017;7(1):48-50. doi:10.5415/apallergy.2017.7.1.48
- American Academy of Pediatrics. Botulism. HealthyChildren.org. Updated November 19, 2018.
- National Honey Board. Honey Varietals. 2020.
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