| A Better You |

Under the Weather

Safer and more effective alternatives to give coughing kids some relief

Under the Weather
Dr. Jennie Berkovich

When our little ones are battling a cough or cold, we often reach for over-the-counter medications, hoping to bring them some relief. But did you know that these medications may not be as effective as we think? In fact, they can even pose risks to our children’s health. The good news is there are safer and more effective alternatives to give coughing kids some relief.

Over-the-counter cough and cold medications often contain several active ingredients that promise to relieve symptoms like cough, congestion, and runny nose. Unfortunately, studies have shown that these medications have minimal benefits for children, especially kids under the age of four. Although they are not effective, they are heavily marketed, and stores and pharmacies continue to sell them. They are ineffective at best and dangerous at worst.

Cough and cold medications also come with a range of risks and side effects. They can make children drowsy, dizzy, and even irritable. Some kids may experience tummy troubles, and in rare cases may experience an allergic reaction. Prescription cough medication has even been associated with kids having breathing difficulties.

What’s scarier is that these medications can be accidentally misused. Imagine this: We give our child one medication, then another, and maybe even a third, not realizing they contain similar ingredients. This mix-and-match approach increases the risk of accidental overdose. Considering these risks, it’s crucial that parents exercise caution and strictly follow dosage instructions.

What can be done to help a coughing little one? Honey has been shown to be effective in decreasing cough duration and even the severity of cough in children.

Honey has fantastic natural properties, including antimicrobial and soothing effects. Research published in the journal Pediatrics found that a small dose of honey before bedtime was more effective at reducing cough frequency and improving sleep quality than the cough suppressants we’re used to. You can either give your child honey directly or add it to a warm cup of herbal tea for that extra soothing touch.

Remember that while honey is a great alternative to over-the-counter cough medicine, it’s important not to give it to infants under one year old due to the risk of botulism.

As parents, it’s important to stay informed about the risks associated with cough and cold medications and consider friendlier alternatives like honey. Always consult with a health care professional before giving any medication or alternative remedy to your child.

A cough that lingers beyond a week, makes a sudden onset, or one associated with any difficulty breathing should be evaluated. While most causes of cough are viral, there are less common ones like asthma, pneumonias, inhaled foreign objects, and more.

Dr. Jennie Berkovich is a board-certified pediatrician in Chicago and serves as the Director of Education for the Jewish Orthodox Medical Association (JOWMA)


Moving Right Along
Abby Delouya RMFT-CCC, CPTT

WE spoke about how summer is one big change in schedule — but even within the summer schedule, we have micro-shifts — before and during the Nine Days, bein hazmanim, then the start of the zeman and school for different family members, depending on age and gender. And that’s just little ol’ summer.

How about life transitions? New schools, jobs, moves, marriage, births, simchahs, or illness and loss, Rachmana litzlan, all bring new dynamics with them. While some of us are better than others at just rolling with the punches, transitions can often feel uncomfortable and unpredictable. How can we help ourselves stay grounded when things aren’t the same?

  1. Develop a routine: Even if you can’t predict exactly what the day will bring, you can institute your own routine, whether it’s saying Tehillim five minutes a day at a certain time, practicing mindfulness, going for a quick after-dinner walk, or something else. Engaging in a ritual habit can feel familiar and comfortable.
  2. Set small goals: During a transition, take things one step at a time. Ask yourself, “What is one small thing I can do right now?” It might be making one phone call or packing away one box. Slow and steady….
  3. Stay Connected: Support is crucial; connecting with friends and family members can help ease the isolation and loneliness that can suddenly descend in the middle of a chaotic transition.
  4. Change your mindset: Try reframing stressful transitions to feel more like a challenge and a time of potential growth. It’s possible your most poignant memories or character development phases were born from a transition.
  5. Remember times that you successfully navigated a life transition well: As you face a new challenge, let the knowledge that you’ve managed to cope before give you strength.
  6. Prepare as much as possible, and then let go and let G-d: We can’t control everything — take this time to tap into your emunah and bitachon as spiritual fortification.

Abby Delouya, RMFT-CCC, CPTT is a licensed marriage and individual therapist with a specialty in trauma and addiction.


When Giving In Isn’t Giving
Dina Schoonmaker

Sometimes we may find ourselves confused by the difference between the Jewish value of vitur (giving in) and the unhealthy pattern of people pleasing. Let’s clarify.

Vitur is a gift I choose to give someone, and it comes from a place of choice. It would look like this: I know it’s a viable option to do things my way, but I would like to adapt and do it your way as a form of nurturance and care.

Gifts are given and received with a good feeling. A person who is incapable of saying no is not nurturing others when he says yes.

Dina Schoonmaker has been teaching in Michlalah Jerusalem College for over 30 years. She gives women’s vaadim and lectures internationally on topics of personal development.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 856)

Oops! We could not locate your form.