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Honey "better at treating coughs"

Natural honey is better at curing children's coughs than over-the-counter medications, a new study suggests.

The study, published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, looked at 105 children with upper respiratory tract infections, aged between two and 18, who were experiencing symptoms during the night.

Comparisons showed that honey yielded the greatest improvement, followed by Dextromethorphan (DM), which is the active ingredient in many cough mixtures.

Dr Ian Paul, who led the researchers from Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pennsylvania, said: "Our study adds to the growing literature questioning the use of DM in children, but it also offers a legitimate and safe alternative for physicians and parents.

"Additional studies should certainly be considered, but we hope that medical professionals will consider the positive potential of honey as a treatment given the lack of proven efficacy, expense, and potential for adverse effects associated with the use of DM."

But Sheila Kelly, executive director of the Proprietary Association of Great Britain, which represents over-the-counter medicine manufacturers, said: "Parents faced with a child who is suffering from cough and cold symptoms know how distressing it can be. Having access to safe and effective paediatric cough and cold remedies is essential.

"Those on the UK market have demonstrated their efficacy through decades of use and their acceptance by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)."

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Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine

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