Cold Season & Natural Home Remedies – Are They Toxic?

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning against giving babies and toddlers over-the-counter cough and cold medicines.  It may seem like old news.  In October, drug companies stopped selling many cold remedies targeted specifically to babies and toddlers.  But today the FDA issued an official ruling focusing on children under 2 years of age.  The FDA warns that "serious and potentially life-threatening side effects can occur."

So what is a parent to do?  Some traditions passed down work.  These natural home remedies are frequently natural, and relatively simple.  Cookie magazine has a good article on all natural cures for various ailments.  I have to agree with using honey to quell a night cough.  A study by Penn State College of Medicine found that a small dose of buckwheat honey provided better relief of nighttime cough and sleep difficulty in children than a cough suprpressant found in many OTC medications.  We used a combination of a humidifier and warm honey to help my daughter through her recent cold.  Actually, we found warm honey with a dash of lemon juice did the trick well.  Warning – do not give honey to children under 1 year because of the risk of botulism. 

But not all home remedies are safe.  Azarcon and Greta, both folk remedies for intestinal illness, are almost 100% lead.  There are reports of children suffering permanent brain damage and death as a result of taking Azarcon and Greta.  Other folk remedies found to contain lead are:  Pay-loo-ah, Azoque, Kohl, Ghasard, Bola Goli, Surma, Sattarang, and Cerussite.  None of these folk remedies should be used.

Isopropyl alcohol is a home remedy used to reduce fever.  From a scientific standpoint it works because it rapidly evaporates.  But, it isn't considered safe.  It is absorbed through the skin and can be inhaled, resulting in alcohol poisoning.

Similarly, whiskey (or other alcohol) has been used to treat teething pain.  Again, it isn't safe because of the risk of alcohol poisoning, even with small amounts.

Asafetida is touted as a treatment for colic.  But it isn't safe to use.  It is linked to a condition that affects the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen.   

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