LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) – As the incidence of cold, RSV, and flu rises and the availability of over-the-counter medications to combat them decreases, people are turning to home remedies.
According to The Consumer Healthcare Products, demand for fever and pain medications for children has increased by 65% compared to last year. LEX 18 viewers have responded to let us know they are still having trouble finding Tylenol and Motrin.
dr Elizabeth Hawse of Commonwealth Pediatrics helped us figure out which home remedies work and which are all hype.
Hawse says home remedies are the most popular question in her office this time of year.
“My child has a cold and what should I give him or what should I do,” Hawse said.
Contrary to popular belief, she says her answer doesn’t usually make it to the doctor’s office.
There are some remedies that parents can try at home.
“Actually, pediatricians get so many calls…there’s actually a textbook on pediatric medicine on the phone, and it’s actually evidence-based,” Hawse explained.
“There’s been a lot of studies on this — on cough medicine in children, and these studies really show that honey actually works better than the over-the-counter medicines, and as a bonus, it’s a lot cheaper too. ‘ Hasse said.
According to Hawse, honey has antimicrobial properties and is harmless in adults and children over 1 year old.
“I wouldn’t spend my money on it. I would put that in my kid’s college fund and just buy honey,” she said.
Several viral social media posts have claimed that onions, either soaked in water or placed in socks overnight, could help you get better. The idea is that the onions pick up bacteria and viruses. Hawse says science hasn’t proven it.
“Well, in two years, will someone come out with a well-done study that shows, yes, maybe there’s a connection in the onion. But not that we know about it at this point,” Hawse said.
“I don’t think it’s going to hurt, so it’s one of those things – procedures where they’re kind of harmless. They may take up your time, but it won’t hurt anyone in any way, and it’s fun to try…why not.”
When we asked LEX 18 viewers on Facebook, the most popular response was some form of herbal tea.
“I always thought hot tea was good for the throat, so every time I drink tea I’m like, ‘It makes me feel healthier,'” said LEX 18 Weather Forecaster Bayne Froney.
dr Hawse says not every herb is safe for kids, and you don’t want to find out the hard way.
“We don’t know the dosage for children, most of these are really made for adults,” Hawse said.
The same applies to dietary supplements such as vitamin C and elderberry.
“It’s much harder and more expensive to get the FDA to approve a drug than it is to get a dietary supplement approved. So with supplements, you don’t have to prove purity, you don’t have to make sure the dose is actually what the box says is the dose you’re taking,” Hawse said.
ORANGE AND SALT
“If anything, it’s the vitamin C. Oranges are healthy, so I’m not going to argue against giving your kid an orange,” Hawse said.
“It’s really the scent that makes you feel like it’s opening the nasal passages or calming a cough. It may be a placebo, but it won’t hurt,” Hawse said.
dr Hawse says the cure probably only works in your head.
“It probably just makes you feel like you’re doing something. That’s what people’s grannies did. It’s a little Bourbon, it’s Kentucky,” Hawse said.
Hawse says there’s a time and place to call a doctor.
“If they don’t look better by the end of the week, we probably need to see them in the office and listen to their chests, check their ears and make sure nothing out of the ordinary is happening,” Hawse encouraged.