What Helps a Little Kid’s Nighttime Cough?

coughing babyIt can be tough to treat your young child’s nighttime cough. It’s dangerous for children under 1 to have honey, which is considered to be a natural cough remedy, and over-the-counter cough medications aren’t approved by the FDA for ages 2 and under. (The American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t recommend them for children 6 and younger.)

But a recent study published in JAMA Pediatrics looked at agave nectar, a substance similar to honey, and studied how it helped children ages 2 months to 47 months compared to a placebo and compared to nothing. Researchers found, based on the parents’ feedback, that both therapies appeared to reduce cough symptoms significantly better than no treatment at all.

While several studies have shown that honey does improve how parents perceive their kids’ cough symptoms compared to a placebo, agave didn’t appear to make much of an impact, according to Deena Blanchard, M.D., a pediatrician at New York University Langone Medical Center, who didn’t participate in the study.

“We know honey is good for kids over 1 year, we know it works better than a placebo and cough syrup. But then what do we do for the kids under one year?” Dr. Blanchard asks. “An interesting followup study would be to only get kids who are 6 months to 1 year and test agave with them.”

Because the study was small (119 children), it would need to be replicated. A number of other factors that may have affected the study’s outcome: colds get better on their own anyway, parents often feel better when they go to the physician, and just about any liquid (even just water) can help to soothe a dry throat, Dr. Blanchard suggests.

And until more research is pulled together proving this study’s conclusions, David L. Hill, M.D., a pediatrician in Wilmington, North Carolina, said that in his practice he recommends children under age 1 take corn syrup as a means of relief. Of the study, he said: “I think the take-home for this may be that anything sweet is going to work.”

It’s also important to keep in mind that this study was funded by Zarbee’s, Inc., a company that sells agave nectar. (Of course, this potential conflict of interest is less noteworthy because the study concluded that agave isn’t better than a placebo.).

Does your infant have a cough? Decode his symptoms and consider some other all-natural cough and cold remedies here. And remember, if you have any questions, ask your healthcare provider about what’s best for your child.

When to Worry: Coughs & Colds
When to Worry: Coughs & Colds
When to Worry: Coughs & Colds

Photo of coughing baby courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Common Childhood Infections May Cause Late-Life Hearing Loss

Commons Childhood Infections May Cause Late Life Hearing LossHere’s another reason why your little one’s first years of life are so important in preparing her for a healthy future.

Children who suffer from recurring common infections in early life may be at a greater risk for late-life hearing loss, according to new research from the Newcastle Thousand Families study.

Published in the journal Ear and Hearing, the study revealed that people who had tonsillitis, otorrhea (ear discharge), bronchitis or severe respiratory infections were more likely to develop hearing loss in their 60s.

The Newcastle Thousand Families study began in 1947 with a group of more than 1,100 infants born in the northern United Kingdom city of Newcastle upon Tyne. The group has been a part of numerous tests over the years evaluating their experiences with a range of medical issues from birth to age 67.

Study authors suggested in their research that by reducing the number of childhood infectious diseases, the number of people who suffer from hearing loss later in life could be decreased, though research from more contemporary groups of children is also necessary to confirm this possible link.

Do you know what to do if your baby is sick? Check out these need-to-know tips so you’re prepared to handle any potential health emergencies.

Tonsillitis
Tonsillitis
Tonsillitis

Photo of child getting tonsils checked courtesy of Shutterstock.

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How Your Baby’s Birth Season Can Affect Her Temperament Later in Life

Season Baby Is Born Can Affect MoodIs your child a May or a December babe? And what does that mean for his future? Astrologists and researchers alike have long looked to when a baby is born to answer questions about a range of medical and mood issues and personality traits.

Now, according to new research from the Semmelweis University in Budapest, the season in which your child is born may play a role in his affective temperament. In a news release about the study findings, lead researcher Assistant Professor Xenia Gonda explained that serotonin and dopamine levels can be influenced based upon the season a baby is born,  which has been shown to potentially have a long-lasting affect into adulthood.

The study was conducted by asking more than 350 university students to fill out a questionnaire about decision-making processes and temperaments, collecting their answers and then connecting those results with each participant’s birthday, The Atlantic reported.

The paper’s findings found these statistically significant trends:

  • cyclothymic temperament (characterized by rapid, frequent swings between sad and cheerful moods), is significantly higher in those born in the summer, in comparison with those born in the winter.

  • Hyperthymic temperament—a tendency to be excessively positive—were significantly higher in those born in spring and summer.

  • Those born in the winter were significantly less prone to irritable temperament than those born at other times of the year.

  • Those born in autumn show a significantly lower tendency to depressive temperament than those born in winter.

Of course, it’s both nature and nurture that plays a role in your baby’s temperament and development, and this study was unable to explain the mechanisms involved in causing these differences, so being born in the winter versus the summer shouldn’t be your only rule of thumb for thinking about how your child will grow up.

Pregnant? Try out our Mom & Baby Horoscope Finder

Horoscope for a Libra Baby
Horoscope for a Libra Baby
Horoscope for a Libra Baby

Photo of babies making faces courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Aluminum May Lower Sperm Count: Study

Aluminum Exposure May Decrease Male FertilityIf you’re trying to get pregnant, consider this new piece of research.

According to a small study published in the journal Reproductive Toxicology, aluminum exposure may be the cause of male infertility that has been on the rise over the past several decades.

After analyzing the semen of 62 donors, scientists from the universities of Lyon and Saint-Etienne in France and Keele in the United Kingdom found that “the higher the aluminum, the lower the sperm count,” a news release states.

“There has been a significant decline in male fertility, including sperm count, throughout the developed world over the past several decades and previous research has linked this to environmental factors such as endocrine disruptors,” study leader, Professor Christopher Exley said in a news release.

Unfortunately, the study doesn’t explain exactly how men are coming into contact with these high levels of aluminum—or what could be done to prevent such exposure.

Dealing with infertility issues? Read up on some common causes and how to cope if it’s something that’s affecting you and your partner.

Sperm Meets Egg: Weeks 1 to 3 of Pregnancy
Sperm Meets Egg: Weeks 1 to 3 of Pregnancy
Sperm Meets Egg: Weeks 1 to 3 of Pregnancy

Photo of sperm courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Pregnant? Here’s One More Reason To Quit Smoking

Smoking During Pregnancy Affects Babies' Hormones and DNA Smoking during pregnancy has been linked to everything from miscarriages to low birth weight to a higher likelihood that your child will grow up with behavioral problems and respiratory infections.

Now, researchers from The Miriam Hospital in Providence, R.I. have found yet another reason for expectant mothers (and their partners) to quit. According to a study recently published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, smoking during a pregnancy can lower stress response, cause DNA alterations for a gene that controls the passage of stress hormones from mother to baby, and decrease levels of stress hormones.

That’s not a good thing. Lower stress hormones don’t equal lower stress— in fact, it’s the opposite.

“Our results suggest that these newborns may not be mounting adequate hormonal response to daily stressors. Their stress systems may not be prepared for the stressors of daily life,” lead researcher Laura Stroud, Ph.D., of the Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine at The Miriam Hospital, said in a news release. “This may be particularly detrimental in babies born to mothers who lack resources and parenting skills and whose babies may encounter more daily stressors.”

The small study evaluated 100 newborn-mother pairs and tracked moms through their pregnancy and up through the first month of their child’s life. The researchers tested infant cortisol (a stress-related hormone) levels and found that changes in the gene that passed cortisol from mother to child were negatively affected due to smoking.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 1 in every 10 mothers in the U.S. smokes during the last three months of her pregnancy. If you need help kicking the habit, follow our tips to quit here.

Trying to Conceive: 5 Ways to Get Pregnant Faster
Trying to Conceive: 5 Ways to Get Pregnant Faster
Trying to Conceive: 5 Ways to Get Pregnant Faster

Photo of pregnant woman with cigarette courtesy of Shutterstock.

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