Q. I think you do your readers a disservice by failing to mention a very old but effective cough suppressant. The pediatrician told my mother about it in 1960, and I have used it on myself and for my own children–nighttime only–when no one can sleep.
I realize that this is susceptible to abuse, but used appropriately it is safe, effective and cheap.
The recipe: equal parts bourbon, honey, and lemon juice. One teaspoon for a 10 year old, and calibrate from there. If you disagree with using this concoction, I'd be quite interested in knowing why.
A. Hot toddies and other remedies containing alcohol have been popular treatments for coughs and colds for years. Decades ago, doctors may well have recommended such remedies. Most pediatricians nowadays discourage the use of alcohol in any treatments for children. They are especially susceptible to low blood sugar after consuming alcohol.
Parents are in a quandary these days because they have been told not to use drugstore cold and cough remedies for children under six. A nighttime cough, however, can keep everyone awake.
Some parents report that Vicks VapoRub on the soles of the feet can ease nighttime coughs. Socks protect the sheets. We heard from one reader, “Last night when the cough was getting a little too wild and the prescription didn't seem to be doing any good I decided to try Vicks on the feet. Long story short, it not only worked, it worked within minutes.”