Honey & Milk for Colds in Children

When your child has a cold, you might be able to use honey to alleviate some of her symptoms, such as a cough or a sore throat. Giving your child milk while she is sick won't increase her phlegm production, but it may thicken the phlegm her body is already producing. Keep in mind, however, that drinking milk will help keep your child hydrated, which can help her body recover from a cold more quickly.

Bowls of milk and honey on wood. (Image: Zoonar/O.Kovach/Zoonar/Getty Images)

Honey Benefits

According to MayoClinic.com, giving your child honey when she has a cough can be just as effective at reducing her cough as a typical dose of over-the-counter cough syrup. Giving your child honey when she is sick can also help soothe her sore throat, helping her to sleep better so that her body can more readily combat her illness.

Honey Considerations

The American Academy of Pediatrics warns not to give honey to any children under the age of 1. For a child older than that, offer between 1/2 and 1 teaspoon of honey to reduce her coughing symptoms while she has a cold, especially if the cough is keeping her from sleeping. If your child is coughing during the day and the cough is not bothering her, refrain from giving her honey or cough syrup so that her body can naturally clear the mucous from her lungs.

Milk Misconceptions

Some medical practitioners once believed that giving a child milk while she was suffering from a cold could increase phlegm production. Research has not proven that, though. However, milk may make the phlegm your child's body is already producing thicker, which could irritate her throat. If the thickness of your child's phlegm is bothersome, consider cutting back on her milk intake while she has a cold.

Milk Benefits

Keeping your child hydrated while she has a cold can help her body stay healthy and fight off the virus. Offer your child ample liquids when she has a cold, including milk, if she is not bothered by excessive or thick phlegm. If milk causes her phlegm to thicken and irritate her throat, switch to water or juice instead. Milk has the added benefit of providing other nutrients, such as vitamin D, zinc, calcium and protein, which can help replace nutrition your child may miss out on while she's sick, if her cold reduces her appetite.

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