Parents of children ages 1 to 6 may want to have honey ready during flu season

Why you may have trouble finding Tamiflu and the benefits of using honey to treat the flu

Here's what we know

HOUSTON – According to the Houston Health Department, ER visits for flu-like illnesses are up, particularly among children.

Doctors like Kelsey-Seybold Pearland pediatrician Dr. Melanie Ribbecs recommend getting the antiviral Tamiflu ASAP with a flu diagnosis because it needs to be taken within 48 hours of symptoms.

However, with the season spiking early, don’t delay getting a prescription.

“The drug companies that make the medicine haven’t ramped up production as much as they need to for this time of the year in Texas,” Dr. Ribbeck said.

If you don’t want Tamiflu or miss the window to take it

Doctors say the dangers of flu generally come from complications of dehydration.

  • Drink a lot of fluids.
  • Take fever reducers and get plenty of rest.
  • Adults may want to take cough medicine. Cough medicines are not approved for children under six years old. Dr. RIbbeck said kids one through six, can use honey instead and get the same benefit.

Benefits of honey

“It’s actually been studied, it is effective for cough, particularly for kids under six. There are no FDA-approved cough syrups for kids under that age because the studies don’t say that they’re any more effective than the placebo, and they come with potentially harmful side effects, so honey is your first and foremost go-to,” Dr. Ribbeck said. “If your child wants it straight off the spoon or if they want it mixed into something else, I can’t say enough good things about honey.”

There are bottled products in the medicine aisle labeled as cough relief for kids two and older. The main ingredient in those products is typically honey.

Honey is not recommended for babies under one year old.