BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website!
Read more, and see how you can help:
Advice about Coughing
Berkeley Parents Network >
Advice about Health >
Advice about Coughing
I cough all winter
For the past few winters, I have had the same problem: I cough ALL WINTER LONG. I start out
with a cold (sinus) in Sept/Oct and the coughing starts. I don't have congestion in my
chest (I've seen a doctor), it just seems to come from the irritation in my throat from
non-stop post-nasal drip. Once my cold gets better and I don't really feel ''sick''
anymore, I still have the mucus in the back of my throat every day and that leads to the
coughing (and annoying throat-clearing..ahem). It's very difficult for me to exercise as
that really starts the coughing up quite a bit. Unfortunately, it's worse at night and
keeps everyone in the house awake. I sleep every night propped up on pillows, as that seems
to lessen the ''drip'', but that leads to neck and back pain. Sometimes the coughing fits
get out of control and it causes me to vomit. Two or three winters ago, I started taking
Zyrtec and that seemed to clear up the problem (I do have mild year-round allergies that I
previously did not medicate, but it seemed worth it to stop the coughing). Now, it is no
longer helping enough. I have prescription codeine cough syrup, and that helps, but I just
can't stand the idea of taking codeine every night for months at a time (not healthy and it
gives me a headache). I have tried sinus-rinsing and drink lots of warm liquids and that
helps temporarily, but the mucus comes back an hour or so later. Cough-drops do help a bit,
but I feel like I'm rotting my teeth having them sit in my mouth all night every night. Any
suggestions on how I can just curb the excessive flow of mucus?!
I'm sorry your doctor hasn't been more helpful.
Two soothing strategies:
1 - a good humidifier on all night makes a big difference.
2 - instead of cough drops, suck or chew on whole cloves. Clove oil has the same
numbing effect as menthol. It can really help with coughing at night.
hope it helps
It's time to go back to a doctor and, if s/he doesn't suggest it, ask for a
referral to an allergist. I am not a doctor, but to me this sounds like it could be
allergies. (All 4 of us have them in my family.) Some things I have learned over
the years about allergies:
(1) If nasal secretions are the only symptom (in your case leading to coughing)
without fever, aching, difficulty breathing, etc., allergies are a likely
candidate. Another thing that makes me think so is your history with Zyrtec. Zyrtec
is a diagnostic medicine, meaning that if it helps, you have allergies. It is not
like Benadryl or Sudafed where they will reduce the symptoms no matter what the
(2) Allergies change over the years - they are not a static characteristic of a
person. I never had them as a child (in the desert southwest) but developed them
after several years of living in a humid southern city as an adult. My son had
severe allergies as a toddler that are becoming more manageable with time. So if
you have had mild allergies in the past, it seems a viable hypothesis that you have
worse allergies now, and/or a new allergy to a new substance. Time for a
(3) There are lots of treatment options out there, not all of them OTC. For
example, you may be a candidate for a daily nasal spray that works to prevent
reactions to the allergens. I take one and it is a lifesaver - I now take Zyrtec
only occasionally as a supplement. So just because Zyrtec isn't enough for you any
more doesn't mean you should give up on the path of allergy meds. And of course, if
allergies do turn out to be the culprit, your doctor will also be able to suggest
additional non-drug strategies for reducing your exposure to allergens.
Good luck and feel better!
I had similar problems and would advise two things - one, buy a humidifier and use
it when you sleep. I have the Crane Teardrop one and it works great. The second
is to look into getting flonase. I had post-nasal drip like yours that was causing
throat irritations that led me to lose my voice at the slightest hint of a cold.
My doctor put me on flonase and I've been much better since.
No longer coughing constantly
I suffer the winter coughing season as well. Same story. Get a cold, cough until
Spring. Sometimes the coughing spells made me alarmingly light-headed. At one
point, it was so bad at one point I was sipping cough syrup during my commute to
make sure I didn't suddenly pass out and cause an accident. Codeine syrup helped at
night, but I didn't want to risk becoming dependent on it for relief.
The latest doctors visits concluded that asthma medication would help (inhalers),
but frankly using them alone didn't make any difference. The cold weather and
winter allergies apparently keep my bronchial tubes from being able to recover.
Irritated airways causes coughing, which further irritates my airways, which causes
cou.. sigh. The solution seems to be a balancing act.. taking enough medicine to
reduce the mucus and clear my wheezing so that the coughing doesn't further
aggravate my poor airways. Too dry means painfully squeaky coughing and dizziness.
Too wet means clearing your throat and nasty sounding congested coughing. And lots
of Kleenex. I'm a living science experiment.
So Zyrtec + inhalers + continually sipping hot water (adding honey helps) + cough
drops are my current home remedy. That, and keeping my chest warm and bundled. The
combined regimen seems be gradually helping my oxygen intake. At least I can sleep
now without keeping the entire household awake. Best of luck.
Quite an ab workout
It sounds like allergies to me. Since it's only winter, I wonder if you have some
kind of mold in your heating system. Does it get better if you go away and sleep
somewhere else? You might have a dust mite allergy and since the house is more
closed up in the winter it affects you more.
You could have your heating system cleaned and see if that makes a difference.
Also you could put dust mite covers on your mattress and pillows.
You said that you drink lots of warm liquids and it provides temporary help. My
advice is to just keep it up all day from morning to night. Drink until you're
going to the bathroom frequently. It helped me with exactly your symptoms, and I
used to get bronchitis every winter, no longer do.
For the nighttime coughing, try slowly sucking a spoonful of honey before bed.
Honey helps coughing. For the persistent cough that will not go away, a few
winters ago my doc prescribed an inhaler for me that helped open my lungs just a
little and, wow, what a difference. So another winter I asked for the same -- so
now I've been given booth a fast-acting, and slow-acting ''asthma'' inhaler which
after just a few uses, got me over the cough. You might ask your doc about that
no longer coughing
I have lots of respiratory allergies and was diagnosed in my thirties as having
asthma as well. I used to have some of the same problems as you--and definitely the
moment I lay down, I'd start to cough. I seem to recall this was a year-round
problem. I used to keep keep Chloraseptic spray by my bedside and use that when the
coughing started. It helped but was not a real solution.
However, these problems all stopped when I got on Flonase for my respiratory
allergies (my nose was so chronically swollen inside that I had long since stopped
being able to breathe through it) and Pulmicort for my asthma. Both of these are
essentially topical steroids--one for the nose, one for the lungs. Now my colds are
much milder, I never get bronchitis afterwards, I don't cough when I lie down, I
can fully breathe, and I don't have asthma attacks. Really life-changing results. I
don't even need to buy tissues anymore; my chronic year-round runny nose is over.
I suggest you see an allergist if your regular MD can't figure this stuff out. At a
minimum, maybe you need a different allergy medicine. Or maybe during the winter
you need to be on a nasal steroid. Good luck, and keep researching till you get a
breathing great for years now
If Zyrtec used to work, try switching to another allergy pill. Claritin or Allegra.
It's normal to have to switch brands every year or two, they tend to wear off.
Get allergy covers for your pillows & start washing your bedding in hot water to
reduce dust mites.
HEPA air filter for your bedroom Check your heater's air filter (you can switch it
to a HEPA one too). It could be that you're using the heater more & it's pushing
All those things reduced my congestion a ton! Changed my life.
One word for you... Flonase. If you are doing nasal irrigation on a regular basis
and that still isn't working than get an Rx for Flonase. I use it regularly all
winter, though not necessairily every day. I even use it once a week on my son
before he swims because he gets post nasal drip when exercising. Works like a
This sounds very much like asthma. You don't mention being diagnosed with it or
taking any meds for it. It also sounds like it has the potential for mold
allergies (which can lead to asthma symptoms). Winter is our big mold season, and
you say that allergy medication helped, at least initially. Do you have symptoms
only in your home, or everywhere at all times? Do you have symptoms when you
travel to other states in the winter?
I would try asthma meds combined with allergy meds, but I would also do mold
mitigation in your home - bathroom fan, dehumidifier, make sure the crawlspace is
draining, clean mold off windows. Good luck!
The fact that your cough was helped by Zyrtec says to me that it is caused by
allergies. You say that it is not enough anymore, which just means that 1) your
reaction has increased over time and need a stronger anti-histamine to suppress the
response and (2) you need to see an allergist to find out what is triggering your
cough so you can avoid that allergen and/or get stronger medication. The reason
that none of the cough medicines are helping the is that they are just treating the
symptoms, not the problem.
By the way, while most of us think of allergies as something that mainly occurs in
Spring and Summer, you may be reacting to something else that is worse during the
winter because we are indoors more -- dust mites (spending more time indoors),
canned air/central heating, mold; plus reactions to dy leaves/particles in the air,
or other plants that are active this time of year. Or even something else.
At any rate, you mention going to a doctor, but you need them to refer you to an
allergy specialist who can get to the root of your problem. Good luck - I hope you
This tends to happen to me, too (only since I had kids). Sometimes I cough so hard
I pee my pants. The best anti-cough drug I've found is Tessalon Perles (generic
name Benzonatate). It just seems to stop the itchy-throat/coughing cycle, without
any noticeable side effects, and it lasts eight hours!
I also use cough drops (though I worry that some night I'll inhale one and choke on
it--I try to keep them in my cheek to make that less likely). I like the Ricola
sugarfree (which avoids the tooth decay you were worried about).
I hope you can stop coughing!
I totally hear you. I am quite miserable for most of the winter months with the
same issues, and it's the lack of sleep from the coughing that really gets me.
Instead of cough drops (I agree, feels like I'm rotting my teeth out) try chewing
sugarless gum. I find that just having something in my mouth that makes saliva
makes my throat calm down. I actually keep a piece of gum in my mouth ALL NIGHT
LONG without swallowing it, choking on it, or getting it stuck in my hair. Now
that I write that, I'm nervous that one of those things will happen to you if you
try this...but anyway, it works for me! Consolation prize: with all of the
coughing, I swear I have 6-pack abs. Good luck.
I'm with you, and here's what I've learned. Supposedly, it could be allergies. I
have noticed it helps to have really good dust-mite covers on my pillows, but it's
not the save-all. (I also have dust covers on my bed as well, fwiw). I have also
tried a bed wedge, as I've also been told that the problem of post-nasal drip is
that you need to elevate-as you've done with your pillows. The bed wedge is not
particularly comfortable, I've found, and may or may not help. I just have extra
pillows. I may not have the same intensity of coughing as you--I have Rx cough syrup
w/ codeine but I don't take it much. And I strongly recommend AGAINST sucking
regular cough drops all night. I did do that, and two root-canals and other problems
later, I wouldn't do it again. There are, however, sugar-free cough drops-only in
mint flavor, for some reason--and I've found that I can sometimes suck on one for
even a short time just to get to sleep. Like you, it's just throat irritation and
drip, which can wake me out of a dead sleep into a coughing fit. Other things I try,
w/ varying degrees of success: benedryl before I sleep, flexeril (muscle
relaxant-it's really for back spasms, but also seems to work for putting me to sleep
and relaxing enough to not cough all night. But I wouldn't do that in combo w/
codeine cough syryp. Warm salt water gargles before bed, just to soothe the throat.
And sometimes a run of prilosec, as GERD can also cause coughing problems. I
actually also did the tube-down-the-throat probe with the GI doc (which can be done
at the same time as your colonoscopy, to make it efficient and cheaper)--you do this
once in a lifetime to make sure you don't have precancerous conditions in your
esophagus. I had pretty bad inflamation, though not precancerous, and went on a
course of nexium, which helped a LOT for a few months. For a while I used a nasal
steroid (flonase or veramyst), which seemed to help for a while, but then... not so
much. So I stopped it. I've also had varying success with albuterol.
Bottom line, I think, is that the docs don't have a good handle on it, and they'll
blame it on whatever their first best guess is. Best of luck to you.
Eucalyptus oil has worked well for my children and I. I mix
a few drops with olive oil and rub it on
the back, chest and throat.
To stop the coughing fits, breathe through your nose when you cough! You will look a
little weird but it always worked for me. For years I also had coughing fits all
winter long. Nose breathing seems to stop the spasms since the breathing is slower
and more controlled. Now when my loved ones start coughing I say ''nose breathe,
nose breathe!'' and it tends to work for them too!
For the mucus drip you might also consider acupuncture. Chinese medicine has many
remedies dealing with mucus.
I can totally relate. Post nasal drip irritates the back of your throat and your
body reacts with terrible coughing fits. I would get flush and sweaty and could not
stop coughing. Night time was a nightmare. the answer: i finally went to yet
another ENT and brought up the possibly of having my TONSILS out. I have had sore
throats and tonsil infections all my life but never so many in one year as to red
flag having them out. But I realized that the post nasal drip was only a part of
the problem. The other part was how my throat was reacting to the post nasal drip.
4 yrs ago had my tonsils out ( i was 34). Have never had one of those crazy
coughing fits since. Have coughed here and there but never a fit. Never kept me up
at night. Still get post nasal drip but it is TOTALLY different. Best decision
for me. Tonsils OUT
Simmer 6 whole cloves, a cinnamon stick and some fresh sliced ginger in 2 cups of
water for 20 min. Sweeten to taste with honey and sip before bedtime.
Also prop your pillows up so you're sleeping sitting up a little, and run a
cool-mist humidifier in the bedroom all night long.
'tis the season...
Try cleaning up the air you breathe. Fragrances can be irritating to the airways.
Get rid of perfume, air fresheners, scented personal care products, scented
detergents, smelly cleaning products like bleach, ammonia, pine sol, etc. Open the
windows for at least a part of each day. Hope this helps.
Ugh. It's an annoying problem isn't it.
Flonase up the nose is the answer. A shot in the morning and evening. Takes a little
while to kick in.
I do get this less now that I am not in the Bay Area. (knock on wood) But perhaps
you're not ready to move.
stop the dripping
5 year old's cough, variant asthma, nothing working
Our 5 year old was in the hospital for 5 days earlier this
year and has had trips to the ER for what doctors think is
cough variant asthma. This is NOT the type of asthma
controled by abuterol, and it is life threatening for him.
The issue is that it is not under control: we have to
resort to prednisone (liquid steroid) to keep him from the
hospital once a month. It is a miracle drug that keeps
him breathing but has very bad side effects. I could take
this whole email to say how prednisone changes my son: he
doesn't sleep, has tantrums, yells at us, etc. and how it
impacts growth. His illness always follows same pattern:
cold with runny nose for a few days, small cough, then
wakes up at 2am with cough so bad it won't stop, he can't
breathe well and abuterol makes no difference. IMagine how
often kids (esp. in kindergarten) get sick with colds. I
would love to talk to someone about this and/or get
advice. Here is what we have tried: working with (Kaiser)
pediatric pulmonologist, second opinion from an allergist
(tested negative for all allergies), homeopathy,
acupuncture/acutonics. He is on nasal steriod spray,
singular, regular/non-stop doses of pulmicort (steriod
maintenance inhaler), abuterol. We use a nebulizer. We
take vitamins, probiotics, homeopathic remedies in
addition. Nothing stops the train once he catches what
appears to be a minor cold. We have talked about a
bronchioscope and cat scan. We are going to try starting
the abuterol at first sign of runny nose and doing
something called combivent. Has anyone had unresolved
asthma that required way too much prednisone to control?
Please let me know your stories and hopefully successes.
I had this when I lived in Los Angeles, and the pulmonologist was the
most important resource. I did get some relief from Advair, but I would
always eventually get sick and end up on oral prednisone. The
pulmonologist warned me that ''some people are just allergic to the plant
life in Los Angeles,'' and that influenced my decision to move to the Bay
Area. Where in Rockridge where the air quality is not great I have almost
zero asthma. So I wonder if your son has been to an allergist, home
tested for mold, etc. After three years cycling on and off prednisone I do
have early cataract -- the eye dr. Had mostly seen it in athletes who had
abused steroids. So add UCB eye clinic to your list of appointments.
Good luck and I hope that your son's issues will lessen as mine have.
Well, seems like you have tried a lot of things, but you
have not tried to clean up indoor air pollution. I suggest
you get rid of all perfume, air fresheners, bleach, ammonia,
etc. Not just stop using it, but get that stuff out of the
house. Also, any new carpet in the house? The formaldehyde
in that is toxic. An air cleaner at night might help. I like
the 160R2: http://www.foustco.com/airpurifiers.html. Also,
make sure that his school has clean air rules: no perfume or
air fresheners. It may seem like it is the cold that is
causing the problem, but the airway irritation from toxic
air may be the real culprit.
You've probably already addressed this but you might want
to try and get your kid to a pediatric ENT. My kid went
the full asthma route but it was only once the pediatric
ENT looked in his ears and found huge adenoids (and
surgically removed them and put in tubes for the fluid
that had backed up because of the adenoids) that the
asthma like symptoms went away. He got colds prior to this
all the time that caused us to go down the road of asthma
reactions and they had the source of the problem wrong.
Just a thought for you. Specialists aren't always right.
got rid of those stinking adenoids
Toddler's lingering daytime cough
My 3.5-year-old has a lingering daytime cough that wouldn't go away. His
last cold was 2 months ago but the cough is still there. It's a frequent dry
cough, like a smoker's cough, throughout the day, regardless of whether
he is running around or just sitting on the cough. Sometimes the cough
sounds almost like a sneeze, but it's really a cough. He does not cough at
night. He doesn't sneeze. The eyes are fine - not watery or dry/itchy. His
nose is not runny and doesn't appear to be stuffy - although, when I asked
what makes him cough, he said ''bugs in my nose''... ''what bugs?'' -
''germs, Mama. there are germs in my nose''. But you know what it's like
trying to get answers from a 3-year-old... We've seen our pediatrician
who said it doesn't seem like a classic case of asthma, since there's no
nighttime cough (no wheezing either). We've had a chest x-ray (clear) and
the doc didn't find anything wrong with the stethoscope. He guessed
allergies and we tried children's Claritin for several days, by now I've
concluded it doesn't make a difference. The doctor's next step is to try
Benadril, and if that doesn't help either, proceed with steroid inhalers
because it still might be asthma, just atypical. I am not satisfied with this
course of action, it seems like we don't have a diagnosis, just random tries
of different medicines. Has anyone here seen a case of persistent light
daytime cough in a child, and how did you go about diagnosing and
treating it? Don't worry, I am not the type to try remedies by myself just
because it worked for the next-door neighbor... just looking for ideas that
I would then run by our pediatrician. I've already read the BPN page on
coughs but nothing seemed similar to our case. Hoping for feedback!
My daughter had a daytime cough when she was in pre
school. she dutifully included the ''elephant trunk''
or ''dracula cape'' arm motion to cover up. So her whole
body was involved. I did talk about it with our doctor.
Seemed to be no physical reason, so no asthma. Thought it
might be a physical tick. It went away. And no diagnosis
of Terrets. So perhaps it is just like some folks who
clear their throats all the time. Just a habit. Cross
your fingers, don't make a big deal of it infront of the
child and hope it goes away (of course while still slyly
keeping an eye out for anything serious)
Sounds like it may be allergies or just a sensitive nose.
The problem with Claritin is that it doesn't work for
everyone. My son also goes through bouts of coughs that
come and go because of post nasal drip. What I have found
invaluable for myself and for him, he's 3 yrs by the way,
is a simple saline spray. It's not medicated and it will
rinse out any allergens and dry out any mucus that's making
him cough. The best one I've found that's the gentlest on
their little noses is ''Simply Saline Baby''. They are the
little blue canisters, not the red ones for adults. The
mist is gentle but high enough pressure to get through.
You can find them at a large Target store or some babies R
us carry them. Because it's not medicated you can use them
multiple times a day. Try it out for a few days and see if
it makes a difference. I bet it will.
Sounds to me like he had whooping cough a while back. My
daughter got it and it took about 3 months for the cough
to finally resolve even though she was treated with
antibiotics right away.
i know about scary coughs
I have seen two cases of such a cough. One turned out to
be slow progressing pertusis (whooping cough), for which
there is currently an epidemic. The second one turned out
to be environmental allergies. The first was cured with
antibiotics. The second with creating an allergy free
environment (cleaning carpets, changing linens weekly, air
filters in use when not at home, removing pets, looking
for mold, eliminating dairy and etc.)....and running a
humidifier before bedtime (or during if child tolerates
it). Sometimes dryness is vicious cycle with allergies and
the humidityl creates moisture in cells and breaks cycle.
A good gern free (UVlight and distilled water)humidifier
works wonders in dry climates.
Hope this is helpful.
experienced in coughs/allergies
My daughter (then 3) had the same issue last spring. She
had a cold at the end of winter, and the cough just never
went away for months and months. It sounded exactly as you
describe it. The diagnosis was cough variant asthma, but
the pediatrician wasn't too concerned - her suggestion was
that once the weather dries up and we start spending more
time in the warm sun it will most likely clear up,
especially since we already had a summer vacation planned -
the idea was that spending time at the beach will help.
It seemed impossible at the time, but it did happen. It
took a few more months, but once we went to spend 2 weeks
at the seaside, and spent the days in the hot, dry air, it
went away. Completely.
I hope this helps you.
Never underestimate the power of the sun
This sounds very similar to what happened to my sisters son and it's worth
asking your doctor about it.
Her son had a persistent dry cough for months. Their doctor tried allergy meds,
asthma inhalers etc. before finally telling my sister that her son's cough was just
a nervous habit (he's a very happy relaxed kid).
Thank goodness my sister decided to see a specialist. They did have to knock
him out and put a camera down his throat and into his lungs. They discovered
that he had acid reflux pretty badly and it was getting into his lungs causing the
cough. He had an infection in his lungs because of it and the doctor told her that
had they waited longer the acid could have caused some permanent damage.
Sometimes a cough from a cold can linger but it's better to follow your gut.
I really feel for you with the trial-and-error medicine approach. I
experienced that when one of my kids had a long-lasting rash. Very
Anyway, my child has asthma, and she has had nighttime coughing and
wheezing and the whole nine yards. However, it is my understanding that
although nighttime worsening is common, it is not necessary for an asthma
diagnosis, and I have heard of cough-variant asthma where the child never
wheezes. Personally, I would skip the daytime Benadryl trial. It is way too
much of a sedative for normal daytime use. Better to cough. I would explore
the asthma hypothesis a bit more. Does he ever exhibit other signs of lacking
oxygen like excessive sleepiness? Has the doctor taken a pulse-ox at the
office and was it normal? Can he keep up with his peers in physical endeavors
or does he tire more easily? Any difficulty concentrating (for a 3-yr-old, of
course)? If there is only this dry cough with no other effects, I would think
twice about the steroids, but that's me. My daughter is on them and has been
for years on and off, but she really needs them. She has had life-threatening
asthma episodes and has been hospitalized, and even aside from that, when
poorly treated, her asthma impedes her ability to function normally. So the
drugs are well worth it. But they are not without side effects and risks, and I'm
not sure these would be worth taking if it were only a dry, intermittent
daytime cough and nothing else. Depends, I suppose, on how distressing the
cough is to him and to you.
I would also consider the possibility that it is some kind of temporary
behavioral tic. My own had some of these at around three and some others in
the preschool did as well -- weird little repetitive compulsions like blinking
and nose-picking and face-rubbing and stuff like that. It just occurred to me
it might be a possible explanation in this case, given the apparent lack of
other symptoms and the cessation at night. If it is this, that's good news
because they mostly just go away as the kids gets older. One other idea, for
what it's worth: maybe if he's talking about his nose, you could try dabbing a
little Aquaphor or even olive oil in his nostrils with a Q-tip (not deep!). Who
knows, maybe it is related to a nasal dryness, but it also might be a way to do
something harmless that could make him feel like action has been taken. In
some situations, placebos really do work. Anyway, good luck.
My advice is to do nothing and wait. My son had a persistent
dry cough during the day when he was 3 yrs old. It lasted
for over 3 months! We did the same tests that you described,
including an Xray and also a very frightening asthma test at
Children's Hospital, which was inconclusive. Annoyingly, the
specialist wanted to put him on asthma inhalers anyways -
but I refused. I was very upset that the doctors wanted to
medicate my child based on one inconclusive test.
I know it is very difficult and frightening (and annoying)
when your child coughs all day - mine coughed ALL DAY. But
never at night or when he was fully engaged in an activity
(!) There is a condition called Habitual Cough but it is
usually in older kids that matched my son's situation.
I gave him lots of warm herbal tea with honey and other
throat-coating foods. When I was there and he coughed I
would distract him and that sometimes helped. The cough also
disappeared when we went on vacation.
In hindsight, I think it was a combination of seasonal
allergies, stress for being at a new preschool,
reinforcement because he got lots of attention for coughing,
and just an irritated, enflamed throat. And finally he
stopped coughing. My suggestion is to wait - and don't
medicate as long as he can sleep. And don't stress about it
too much because he will feel your worry and that will make
him cough more!
glad that's over!
My son went through the SAME kinds of symptoms when he was
2 ish. He was allergic to cow dairy. As soon as we
elininated cow dairy (and used goat's milk instead) the
colds/coughs TOTALLY went away. As he got older he outgrew
the allergy and now (he's 20 and away at college) he can
handle dairy (in his opinion).
Your toddler could also be allergic to dust mites, in
which case, there is a blood test for that and yiou can
cover mattresses, pillows w/ dust mite allergy covers, get
a few air cleaners for the house to keep the dust level
down, and vacuum a little more often.
goat milk familiy
14 month old's repetitive coughing
His cough has come and gone for 3 months. He never
completely healed. He previously had continous fever 2 and
diagnosed as pheumonia. Recently he just keep coughing
especially at night. The ped. just say they can do nothing
unless they find an infection. But is there any way to
relieve the symptom?
I had pneumonia as an adult, and when my cough persisted for two months, I
was diagnosed with cough variant asthma and given an inhaler, which helps. I
hear it's even more common in children, so I would definitely ask the
pediatrician if this might explain your son's continued coughing. Good luck!
coughing no longer
My son had a similar experience and was diagnosed with mild asthma after
several months of coughing at night and during the day after exertion or
laughing. He was 18 months old at the time. Perhaps you could ask your ped
about possible asthma? We were prescribed an inhaler for him and it helped a
Yes, there is something you can do! Sounds to me like ''reactive airway.'' In my
family, we are all about the lungs. All of my 3 kids have reactive airway (it's
incredibly common.) They have all used the nebulizer with an albuterol
medicine (Xopenex is one) and Pulmcort. The albuterol is the fast acting
medicine and Pulmacort is the long term medicine. At a minimum, your doctor
should prescribe those 2 medicines for the nebulizer. Take the albuterol for a
few days (2x/day usually; more as needed to stem the tide) then you can phase it
out and just use the pulmacort (2x/day) for a while. Starting when my son was
18 months, every winter it seemed we had to sit through the nebulizer
treatments several times a day. All 3 of my kids had this and now that they are
older, they can use a regular inhaler as needed. It's mostly a winter thing. Your
child does not need to cough. The albuterol will open up the airways and make
breathing MUCH easier.
It's not nice to have our little ones coughing for longer
periods. When my kids are coughing or have snotty noses, I
cut an onion in small peaces, mix it with about one
tablespoon of sugar and put the mixture (usually in a
small bowl) in their bedroom over night. Of course you
have to deal with the smell, but we don't mind and in our
case it helps. I usually put a new mixture in their
bedroom as long as they are coughing.
If that doesn't do the job, you could boil 2-3 potatoes
(we use the yellow ones) with peel, mash it and smear the
mash (about half inch thick) on a small linen, cover with
another linen and but it on the kids chest for about half
an hour. Wrap something (scarf or whatever) around their
chest to keep the thing in place. You have to be careful
not to burn your child, as the potato mash is hot! Put it
on the back of your hand for a while first to test the
The other thing that you could put on their chest is a
linen with warm oil (eg high quality olive oil). Also,
don't burn your child, but put it as warm as possible.
Wrap something around as well and be aware of the fact,
that the oil leaves stains, so use linen that you don't
mind being stained!!
Hope it works as well for you as it does for us!
Indoor air quality may be a problem. Do you use perfume? air
fresheners? Scented laundry detergent? Fabric softener?
Wood-burning fireplace? Those are some of the biggest
culprits when it comes to airway problems, but there are
many others. Not only are they bad for your baby, they are
bad for everyone else, it is just not as obvious.
I would suggest that you try to remove all sources of indoor
air pollution. I suspect the cough will then improve. Even
if it doesn't you have created a healthier environment for
all of you.
Nighttime coughing is often a symptom of asthma. Your ped
did not mention this?
My children seem to have a lot of friends who were diagnosed with asthma
whose only symptom was a cough. No wheezing. One of my close friend's son
just ! got the diagnosis of cough-variant asthma, a few weeks ago. He had a
persistent cough, esp. at night, after getting over a pneumonia.
Their pediatrician missed the diagnosis, but the asthmatologist knew what it was
right away. We just travelled with the family, and the kid's cough is gone, and it
was pretty pronounced and persistent a few weeks ago, when we dined at their
house. He uses an inhaler after a chest cold, from now on. The doctor also told
them to make sure that he wears a ski mask, covering his mouth, when he skis
so that the air is warmed when it reaches his lungs.
4 year old's chronic cough
I am looking for more ideas about what I can do about my son's
chronic cough. Since he was born, he would get a very nasty
cough when he got a cold - a pretty normal thing excepting that
it sounds so horrible that people looked worried/shocked when
they hear it. I'd bring him to the pediatrician and she'd say,
''this is normal, he lungs sound fine, etc.'' For the last 2
months, however, he has the cough without any cold associated
with it. It popped up, out of the blue, and sort of comes and
goes on a day to day basis. I've had him tested for allergies,
autoimmune diseases, asthma, lung xrays. . . nothing of note was
found! His allergist labeled his condition as reactive airway
disease which seems very vague to me. I am just wondering if
other people have children with this condition, how they manage
it (because albuterol doesn't always help the cough), and whether
anyone has an idea of what else could be causing this nasty
cough. I'm tired of having people give me the evil eye when out
with him in public! Not to mention, I worry about the guy. . .
(other than the cough, he is super healthy, active, growing well)
I suggest saline nasal spray. Here's a link to info --
http://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/guides/salinenasal.htm -- I think
you'll have to copy & paste it.
And here's a medical study showing that spray helps alleviate
cold-like nasal symptoms:
My son also developed a chronic cough as a baby that was
particularly nasty sounding and worsened when he was sick with a
cold or the flu. He was eventually diagnosed with ''spasmodic
croup,'' basically a non-viral croup that frequently recurs
without obvious triggers.
I say 'eventually' diagnosed because it took a long time and a
lot of pushing just to get that far. I found that because his
lungs always sounded clear (no wheezing like with asthma, all the
inflammation is in the windpipe) many doctors didn't know what to
make of it, or how to treat it. They'd just tell me to take him
outside in the cold air, or to give him cough syrup. I feel like
if it's not asthma many docs just kinda shrug their shoulders
like ''it's no big deal''.
He went under the care of a pediatric pulmonologist and we worked
out a preventative and crisis-management regime that helped
(including medications like Flovent daily.)
However, while he does have spasmodic croup, it took another
couple of years to get to the underlying explanation for his
chronic coughing...gastroesophageal reflux. He had a bronchoscopy
to determine whether there was an anatomical problem (e.g.,
narrow windpipe) exacerbating his croup and they found stomach
contents in his lungs. He was placed on an acid-reducing medicine
and we changed his diet. Today, he's like a different kid. He
will still sometimes get a bad cough when sick, but we can manage
it. Without the constant irritation of stomach acid in this
larynx and lungs, the coughing (and throat-clearing) has stopped.
We have been lucky to have an outstanding pediatrician on our
side that really listens and has pointed us toward specialists as
needed. But our son (and my psyche) had to go through a lot
before we got to the bottom of things. If your son is healthy
otherwise, I'm not sure wanting people to stop staring is a good
enough reason to head down the path. That being said, every time
I hear one of those coughs come out of a kid, I think, ''I wonder
if that parent really has any idea why they are coughing like that?''
Talk to your doctor, and be clear you are looking for root
causes, not symptom treatment. If he doesn't have asthma but does
have a chronic cough, I'd look into GER. You otherwise might
never know it's there, but all the cough medicine it the world
won't help that cough go away.
Mother of an ex-cougher
With any chronic cough you might consider teaching him how to use
the Buteyko breathing method. Overbreathing, in reaction to
airway irritants, causes one's airway to constrict. At first
there is a chronic cough; later asthma. It is important to learn
how to NOT cough out too much CO2. You can teach your four year
old to use this method. Also, make sure he is well hydrated.
My daughters' never-ending cough
My two daughters, 5, and 19 mos, have had a bad cough for over
a month and just cant seem to shake it. Gets bad at night time-
hacking, resulting in spit-up/vomiting.
Took them to doctor and said incline them, inhale eucalyptus
and sage, lots of fluids- but nothing is working.
try albuterol for the cough.
My six-year-old gets a typical number of colds per year. After a few
days of regular symptoms, his cold becomes congestion and a
rumbling/rattling/phlegmy cough that will last for the next two or
three weeks. The poor guy is miserable during that time (as are we
all, due to lack of sleep), and I'm embarrassed sending him to school
because he sounds and looks so gross. We have seen both pediatricians
and allergists and his lungs are completely normal and healthy -- it's
just the way his colds go. I'm wondering, though, if anyone has any
ideas for how to make the cough move along faster? I'm a little
desperate because he just got finished with a summer cold and it has
reminded me of how terrible this winter is sure to be.
Lung Boy's Mom
My daughter had the same type of coughing episodes starting at
about 2 years. Always starting with a cold, and the cough stays
for weeks. Her twin brother would get the cold, be sick for 3-4
days and be fine. We too, were exhausted, and I really thought
she would not be able to attend Kindergarten because it was so
bad. She was miserable - sick from October thru February all
the time. She looked terrible, too. pale skin and circles under
My daughter was first diagnosed with asthma, and given the
usual asthma meds - inhalers, singulair, steroids when she got
lung infections from aspirating the mucus she coughed. The
asthma meds did not work for her, and did not stop the cough.
We were told by her pulmonologist that the asthma meds are very
effective and if they did not work for her, she probably did
not have asthma.
Finally we were referred to an allergy doc. He told us to try
taking her off of dairy (she didn't have a lot of dairy, been
drinking rice milk since weaning at 17 months) for 8 weeks to
see what happened. It was hard to do, but we were at the end of
our rope. we went off of all dairy - cheese, yogurt, everything.
That was four years ago and guess what, worked like a charm.
She is now eight years old, and is healthy as a horse, rosy-
cheeked and beautiful. She is now allowed dairy in small
amounts, but during cold season we are careful. She also always
gets a flu shot.
It's worth trying the ''no dairy''. There are a ton of dairy-free
products, and really what do you have to lose?
Take your child off of cow dairy for a while. I'm willing to bet
his cough will clear up. You can use goats milkl.Meyenberg
brand is a good brand that doesn't smell/taste goaty. I don't
recommend soy milk. good luck.
been there, figured it out.
I've had very good results seeing Charlene Leung, L.Ac. for
Chinese herbs that helped stop my cough. The herbs she prescribes
are powders you dissolve in some warm/hot water and drink for a
period of a week / 10 days. It really helped me once when I had
a cough that would not go away, and the next year when I had
another cough after a cold, I went to her immediately, and it
helped again. Now, whenever I have friends who have lingering
coughs, I send them to Charlene, with good results. She is
caring and knowledgeable, and kind with children. Her office is
in Albany off Solano ph: 559-9038. I hope this helps your son.
My son went through the same type of thing. What we found worked
for him was an air purifier (target, about 85.). We use it all
of the time and love it. Added to that check list of things to
try was the cold humidifier. This works really well for my
daughter when she has congestion.
Another footnote, I was giving my son a cold medicine that made
him more phlegmy (word?). It really just thickened his mucus.
I don't know why, but it did get better faster when I stopped
the over the counter medicine.
Both my kids have had lingering coughs and chronic coughs. We
went the same route you did--allergists, pulmonary specialists
and got the all clear. Last year a friend who's a homeopath told
me to try a spoonful of raw honey (we bought ours at Whole Foods)
at the start of any cold. It totally worked! It curbed the big
illness and kept the cough at bay. Now we all go for a spoonful
of raw honey when we feel that itch in our throats. Try it!
I am sure you have read or heard what I am about to say but I am
just underlining the importance of the old-fashioned answer:
steam. Steam steam steam. Block the crack under the bathroom door
with a towel, turn on the shower on full on hot water and sit in
the bathroom with your child. Using steamers in the bedroom.
Making steam tents with sheets.
This was the only thing that worked for my mom when she went
through similar times with me as a child. Then I had to do this
with my son. It keeps the phlegm coming out, feels good, and
makes for less scary coughs. I promise he will look so much
better at least for awhile. When my mom did it for me, I actually
thought it was fun. (Note for croup you want the opposite--cold
air). Hope this helps.
It sounds like your child may have cough variant asthma. This
is a type of asthma that doesn't wheeze, frequently has a clear
chest and responds to asthma medicines. You should see a
Pediatric Pulmonologist because this is missed my ER docs,
Pediatricians, and allergists all the time. The children
usually respond to the meds and get over the cold in a normal 3-
5 days rather than 2-3 weeks.
Been there done that
We also suffer from our son's lung-related viruses. It seems that
every cold he gets goes straight to the lungs and stays there for
weeks. We finally spent the bucks for a really good humidifier
[which has definitely had a better result than the 3 cheaper
versions we'd previously tried], which we leave on all night long
during the entire coughing run. We occasionally give him a
prescribed codeine based cough syrup, but only at bedtime, and
only when it's so outrageously bad that we're all about to fall
apart from lack of sleep. The really bad part of the cough now
lasts only a couple of days at the most, although the daytime
aspect of it still must be largely self-controlled [slowing down,
getting water, trying to breathe warmed air on cold days]. I
should say, he only gets 2 or 3 colds a year, so it's manageable.
There are a couple of typically non-Western things you can try:
homeopathy and herbs. There are a number of good homeopaths and
herbalists in our area and they have a wealth of knowledge. You
could even visit a practitioner at Elephant pharmacy (look on
their website first to see who is there and on what days).
A little mullein tincture, or some other lung tonic herbs will
surely help, I know they've helped me many times in the past. I
also successfully used homeopathy to treat a lingering cough when
I was 8 months pregnant and didn't want to take any medicine.
Give it a try!
Lingering phlegm coughs are the worst. I am a local
acupuncturist who sees a lot of this type of cough in adults.
Generally, with Chinese medicine and acupuncture, it can be
treated. However, I don't treat children. Although, I would
highly recommend trying my daughter's acupuncturist Jenny French.
She is wonderful and does both invasive and non-invasive types
of acupuncture, pediatric massage, herbal medicine, diet and
nutritional counseling. Jenny's practice is 90% pediatrics.
She is used to dealing with children and is very clever in how
she gets them to accept treatment. She has done a lot to help my
daughter with her health issues. Jenny works on Peidemont Ave in
Oakland on Tuesdays and Saturdays. You can contact her via email
at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 510-759-3598. Her website is
My son was the very same at that age. Things improved as we
slowly ripped up the wall-to-wall carpet in our house and when
we got a housecleaner who comes every other week, and perhaps
being older helps (he's 11 now). My son seems to like having a
cool mist machine in his room at night.
My kid has the same issue and I would highly recommend
acupuncturist/herbalist Julia Carpenter as someone who could
treat your son's lingering cough. Julia, who has 3 kids of her
own, can use tuning forks rather than needles, and knows all
about how to get the necessary herbs and tinctures into a kid.
She has helped all members of our family, kids and adults alike,
through various ailments. Julia is a lovely person and a very
gifted healer. You can reach her at 510-488-3572. (Her office is
in Central Berkeley.)
One thing that has made an almost 100% improvement when our
kids come down with a cold and the inevitable cough is placing
a humidifier in their room at night. I can't tell you how
significant that difference is. They practically don't cough at
all. It doesn't handle the lingering cough that you describe
during the day, but it does allow their bodies to relax at
night which may facilitate and/or speed up the healing process.
Worth a shot....
Besides the good old vitamin C (lemonade made with stevia is a
favorite), zinc, and avoiding sugar and white flour, you may want
to explore food sensitivities. I, and a number of my clients
suffered from regular colds, which disappeared once we identified
and avoided food sensitivities at the IgG level of the immune
system. Technically these are not allergies, I don't know why
these tests aren't administered more broadly. Hopefully
traditional medicine will catch up eventually. Meanwhile, more
alternative health practitioners such as myself will do our best
to spread the word. Check out this article on my website:
My boyfriend's son, who lives with us 4 out of seven days a
week has been coughing every day for the last 9 months. It
started off as a cold, then the doctor said asthma and gave a
bunch of inhalers and allergy meds. Those cleared up the
constant coughing but he still coughs pretty consistently
during the day and night. He has had allergy testing and the
only thing doctors say he is allergic to is dust mites. We did
everything possible aside from putting him in a big plastic
bubble to clean and eliminate as many dust mites as possible.
Doctors still calling it allergy induced asthma. My question
is: can this cough thing be managed? Has anyone else had a kid
coughing for 9 months straight and no meds/inhalers/ allergy
meds helping? Has anyone had success with any kind of TCM or
other alternative therapies? Has anyone had experience with
something like this and it turned out to be something totally
different? He is 2 and a half by the way. Thanks for any
i am so sorry to hear about your boyfriend's son. My son gets
an asthma cough and I know how irritating it can be for the
child and for those who have to listen to it! I wanted to
suggest you ask the doctors to look beyond asthma and allergies
to an alternative source of the cough. I have a friend who had
a similar experience with her son when he was about 3. After
pushing and pushing the docs they finally went down his throat
into his lungs with a scope (sorry I can't be more
specific/clinical). When they were down there they found he
had inhaled a small piece of twig that was stuck in his lungs.
They were able to extract it during the same procedure and he
was fine after that. Keep pushing and looking for answers,
especially if there is no relief at all from the meds. Good
My daughter coughed so hard and persistently that she ended up
vomiting. Nothing we did at home could ameliorate her coughing.
We were in the pediatrician's office many times where she was
given prescriptions for asthma and allergies. After months of no
improvement we went to Jim Nickelsen for allergy testing, etc.
He looked at her, tested her lungs, and said she did not have
either allergies or asthma, but rather she had whooping cough.
You may want to get this checked out. He told us to expect at
least eight to nine months of coughing which is what happened.
My daughter is 2 and has had a persistant cough almost since she
was about 6 months old. She is otherwise completly healthy.
The coughing does not effect her sleeping nor her play time but
it really is a nasty, mostly wet but sometimes dry cough. She
had x-rays a few months ago to check for asthema and her lungs
were completly clear. Her pediatrician recently suggested we
try an over the counter alergy med but I haven't started her on
it. We put an air purifier in her room which did not really
seem to have much effect. I go back and forth between being
really worried about it, and being not so worried about it.
I'll be curious to see what others responses are to your post.
I'm curious...where do you guys live? We're right on the
It does sound like an allergy and dust mites is a really nasty
one because it is so hard to avoid them.
My daughter was diagnosed at 10 months but her trigger is
seasonal so she gets a yearly break.
With asthma, the key is to get it under control with albuterol
and the like, and then to KEEP it under control with preventative
medications - usually inhaled steroids like pulmocort and H2
stabalizers like singulair.
The preventative medications have to be used consistently - daily
or twice daily as directed whether or not there are symptoms present
Once symptoms start, if they are off the meds, it will take 2 to
3 weeks of consistent use for them to be effective again. In the
meantime you hope the albuterol is enough to keep them out of the
hospital and give them some quality of life.
If, after a month of consistent preventative meds, he is not
better, then it's time to try something new or something in
You say you have him 4 days a week, so all his caregivers need to
be on board with this and consistent with his meds.
I have very little experience with alternative meds but I have an
adult friend who swears by her alternative meds. She sees Marcy
Zelner at 1500 Oak View in Albany.
It is important to remember that if you decide to change meds or
treatment in anyway, not to do it suddenly and to follow the
instructions of your healthcare professionals. Asthma is an
airway disease. Air means oxygen means brain function. Asthma
attacks can be deadly if they are severe enough and not
controlled fast enough. It is especially important that asthma is
controlled while people are young so that growing lungs can
develop well and keep the asthma from following them into
adulthood as much as possible.
I strongly suggest an asthma record with a place for meds,
symptoms and possible triggers plus any other non-asthma related
symptoms he might be having. We have noticed patterns that have
been very helpful in dealing with my daughter's asthma by keeping
a journal. It also helps us keep straight what she's gotten and
what she needs when we are rushing around getting to work, sleep,
etc. ours is very simple and one page is worth about a month of
Ask the moderator for my email and I'd be happy to send you the
document to use for your own kid.
she has asthma but it doesn't have us
My older son (now 17) had a constant cold from the time he was
aboaut 2-3 or so...untill I figured out he had a dairy allergy.
He'd start to get a cold...it would soon turn into a cough,
he'd have the cough for a few weeks, it would almost be better
and then it would start all over again. It drove me crazy. I
never put him on antibiotics cause I did't believe he had a
bacterial infection and the Drs. couldn't tell me what it was.
As soon as I took him off of cow dairy it stopped. We used
Goat's Milk instead (Meyenberg brand). When my younger was
weaned I immediately put him on Goats milk and never even gave
him cows milk. He is actually dairy sensitive so we still use
goats milk. My older son eventually grew out of
the ''sensitivity''...it wasn't an actual allergy, and now can
Same symptoms can also be a sign of gluten allergy. If it is
truely a dust mite allergy (me too), you can give supplements
to boost the immune system so his body doesn't react so
strongly....but check out dairy/gluten first. Good luck,
If the little boy is coughing through the day and especially through the
night, it is
almost certainly asthma, and my guess is that it is almost certainly a
something in his environment. Our daughter was diagnosed with asthma
very early age - before she was one year old. For the next year, she was
inhaled steroids almost consistently. Almost nothing made the coughing
completely, but the controller drug (in our case QVAR, but FLOVENT is
popular one) taken 2x/day definitely helped.
Finally, we did three things simultaneously: we pulled our daughter out
of a day
care we loved, but that may have been the source of an allergen, we
pulled all of the
rugs out of our house, and we banished all the animals an outside house.
I can't tell
you exactly what solved the problem, but I can tell you that she hasn't
asthma medication in almost a year now. Within a month of doing the
chronic coughing was gone. No more inhaled meds, nothing.
Some people think it was the dogs. Her pulmonologist believes it was
the day care that was the culprit - maybe old carpeting, maybe mold.
to know. It's confounding, for sure - but doing everything you can
possibly do to
eliminate the cause of the breathing trouble is the best way to start.
meantime, a stabilizer might be a good idea - especially now heading
into cold &
flu season when kids with asthma are more likely to have colds escalate
something far worse if their coughing isn't under control.
I have had similar symptoms myself and recently started using a
nasal steroid spray along with allegra. It seems to help. My
doctor had another suggestion which was I might have a hard to
diagnose bacterial infection (related to pneumonia) which would
require a long course of antibiotics. You may want to ask your
doctor about these options. Good luck.
Indoor air pollution can aggravate asthma and allergies. Reduce
exposure to perfume, smoke, etc. http://segal.org/asthma/
My experience is with my own coughing. I think most doctors treat
symptoms, and you have to figure out what's working best for you.
I was prescribed inhalers and all sorts of allergy medicines, and
I was told that my cough was a lingering cold, non-existent, etc.
I really only had a bad cough at night, and when I was allergy
tested, dust mites was my only issue as well. I got on Verymyst
(which is fluticosone furoate, or basically the same thing as
flonase, but with a different propellant, as the flonase gave me
headaches). Soon I was sleeping without benadryl (which I think
I was growing dependent on), and I ordered dust-mite protective
pillowcase covers and a mattress cover (not plastic!). What a
difference! After a month or so on it, I actually forgot the
verymyst on my vacation but brought my pillows with me. It's too
expensive to just buy on its own (or even to waste, since it's
not in the formulary), so I just did without it for a week. I
know the allergy places tell you to basically sterilize your room
and wash everything in hot water constantly, but I will say I
live in dust-mite heaven (piles of books in the bedroom, ''stuff''
everywhere), but I can tell you that I sleep well now. No or very
little coughing. The docs also say you're not supposed to stop
the fluticosone, since it's a nasal steroid, but at the moment I
can't think of any reason to re-start (stay tuned for future
complaints?). I think using it helped my poor nose & throat to
heal. BTW, the albuterol states that it can increase congestion,
which it did with me, so I don't use it unless I really cannot
breathe in my lungs. You might try that also. I also
occasionally suck on cough drops (not even to finish them), just
to give my throat a break. That helps too. I have a HEPA air
filter, which may or may not help, and a HEPA vaccuum, which the
doc says probably helps the person vaccuuming...
Bottom line is to deal w/ the dust mite issues that you can
(pillow covers, mattress covers), get the poor kid a little bit
healed (maybe a nasal inhaler?), occasional cough drops, and
whatever else you think works. (more power to you if you can keep
the dust down and get rid of ''stuff''.) And keep trying something
different if that doesn't work (don't automatically assume that
another medicine is the right answer, but if it works, go with
it!) Good luck.
Hello, My son is severy allergic to dustmites. All the bedding
is covered with the special encassement against dustmites. We
have no carpet anywere in the house, a leather couch and wood
only chairs. I change wash his bed very often. No pets, our cat
is now an outdoor cat only. We have a fish.... He takes flovent
every morning, benadryl when necessary and Prednisolone, when is
really bad only about one a year to get in out of the coughing.
He doesn't have a lot of playdates in other people's house. All
his friends come to our house mainly or in parks.... Good luck.
My 2 year-old is coughing all the time. Last night she was kept awake by her
own coughing for about 2 hours in the middle of the night. Obviously we
didn't get much sleep either. As heartless as it seems, I would love to put in
earplugs to block out the sound of her coughing, but I cannot because we have
a newborn who I have to listen for during the night.
Her coughing seems to be caused by a constant stream of snot that she is
producing. It drips down her throat and she coughs. It also comes out of her
nose all day long. She doesn't seem to try to calm her own coughing, and I
don't know how to teach her to do this. Sometimes it seems like she sort of
makes herself cough even more, but this could be my imagination because I
am so frustrated by the constant coughing. My husband thinks she may be
allergic to pollen, but it seems to me more like she has different little colds
from daycare and this is the way her body manifests them. This has been
going on for months now. The pediatrician recommended the saline spray, but
just the suggestion of putting some ''medicine'' or ''water'' in her nose sends her
into a screaming fit, and the spray seems to designed to clear a stuffy nose,
which is not her problem. I am reluctant to take her to an ENT doctor or
allergist, because I don't want them to run a bunch of tests on her, and I am
not sure she can take any antihistamine-type medicines at her age anyway.
Has anyone had similar symptoms in a toddler, and any success in dealing with
them without resorting to traditional medicine? I am starting to get a little
desperate and would love any suggestions for helping her get better.
Need some quiet nights
Have you thought about that your daughter might wake herself up with
This could be the reason for her not sleeping through. My son did cough
at night and this stopped when I took away the sheep skin he was
sleeping on and the crip bumpers.
If your child is only coughing at night, but not during the day, you can
also try to eliminate a few things before seeing an allergist, eg. try
changing the laundry detergent etc.
Try over the counter liquid antihistamine and see if it makes a
difference. I know chloraphenaramine and probably claritin
(lortadine) come in good-flavored versions for kids. If it helps, she
has allergies. Try different ones and see what helps the most.
If this problem is constant and allergic in nature, you may have to
get rid of pets and work hard on house dust(because it doesn't sound
seasonal, so it isn't pollen, or at least it isn't only pollen). Dust
mites eat skin flakes and therefore accumulate in bedding and stuffed
animals; some people react strongly to them (actually, to their
excrement) and if you can eliminate them where the allergic person
sleeps, you give their
allergies an enormous lift. Wash her stuffed animals and
bedding in hot water and eliminate feather quilts or pillows, if
you are using them. Spray her mattress before re-sheeting with
Fabreeze anti-allergy stuff (or better yet, get a special
hypoallergenic mattress cover that you regularly launder or vacuum.
These covers have only microscopic holes--stops the dust mites from
invading the mattress.)
If this makes a difference, you know the problem without having to go
through the skin testing with an allergist & hopefully can deal with it
with attention to special cleanliness and OTC medications when
If not or it gets worse, do see an allergist. The skin tests and shots
are miserable but not nearly as bad as the constant allergies. Three
people should not be miserable over this.
Good luck. Poor family.
Have you taken your daughter to the pediatrician? Why are you and your
husband trying to self-diagnose? Your daughter may well have allergies
or asthma- or allergy induced asthma. I would strongly urge you take
her to your pediatrician, explain your concerns, and then potentially
follow up with an ENT and an allergist.
Your pediatrician could help sort this out. Asthma is not to be ignored
nor its impact on quality of life minimized. As an asthmatic, every
time I get a cold, my asthma kicks up and coughing is one of the biggest
symptoms. Additionally, I have a 2 year old and our pediatrician said
it was OK to give claritin or benadryl for allergy symptoms, so don't
know where you get the idea that your kid can't take antihistamines.
But I wouldn't medicate without first seeing the pediatrician anon
At two years old, your child can definitely take Children's Benadryl (an
antihistamine). Both my 7 mo old and 2.3 yo have the same symptoms -
congestion, coughing, runny nose - (is it a series of colds, is it
allergies, who knows??) and take it at night and it definitely helps dry
up the nose. In fact, the doctor who suggested it might be allergies
said I could give it to them every 6 hours (seems a little much during
the day). I generally don't like giving medicine if I don't have to but
my daughter's drainage problem has coincided with ear infections so
while I'm not sure what is causing what, I think getting the nose dried
helps prevent/keep the ears dried. Side benefit: for many kids, it
knocks them out and everyone sleeps better.
forget the ear plugs!
here is the link to the miracle cough syrup i gave my two and a half
year old son ''apitherapy honey elderberry extract''.
he had a similar problem last month and it's the only thing that helped
we bought it at elephant pharmacy. it tastes great, and aside from a
nominal amount of alcohol, it's completely safe for people 2 years and
up. note: it contains honey, so if your daughter is indeed allergic to
pollen, this may not be the thing for her.
hope you all get some sleep soon
I think it's likely that it's caused by allergies. Another possibility
- could she have asthma? My son has asthma, and it mostly manifests as
coughing. When we treat the asthma, he has much less coughing.
I would definitely get her tested for allergies, even though you're
reluctant - we did this with my son, and it was just one blood test, not
the big scratch test grid they do with older kids or adults. And it
helped us rule that out - we found that no, he wasn't allergic to mold
or dust mites, so that wasn't our problem.
Also - your toddler CAN take children's benadryl, if you think it may
help. Also try a vaporizer or humidifier - that works well for my son.
She is absolutely not too young for antihistamines, and it sounds like
she desperately needs them. You can try benadryl which may work well but
may knock her out. There are non- sedating antihistamines as well. Take
her to an allergist. If they recommend tests you don't want all you have
to do is say ''I don't want that, is there anything else you can
recommend?''. Likely they'll recommend a trial of medications first
before worrying about tests. The saline spray sounds kind of silly for
the severity of her symptoms -- if you were going to do anything in her
nose it should be steroids, but if she can't tolerate that there are
I would urge you to see an allergist. Aside from the discomfort your
family--especially your daughter--is experiencing at the noise of the
coughing, the coughing may be a sign of something seriously wrong with
When my daughter was about a year old, she started having lengthy
coughing fits that lasted longer than the two weeks the doctor said was
normal for a cold. (And she had cold after cold after
cold.) It turned out that the coughing was a sign of asthma. I was on
the lookout for this, because my son, who is 3 years older than my
daughter, had been diagnosed with asthma (although his never manifested
itself as coughing; he gets plain old wheezing).
I would encourage you to see an allergist. Yes, it's a pain. And yes, an
allergist would probably want to test your daughter for allergies. It's
a lot to ask of a 2-year-old. But the testing (skin pricks and/or blood
being drawn) lasts for only a few minutes (your daughter's crying may
last longer). And the information the doctor can glean from it is
invaluable. Also, with a toddler, you can allay a lot of her fears by
explaining everything as you go along (trust me, it's a lot harder with
As far as the possibility of asthma, the doctor will listen to your
daughter's lungs with a stethoscope and possibly check her oxygen
absorption with a monitor that clips to the finger or toe.
These are really easy for a toddler to handle. Asthma is a serious
condition that all too many kids get these days. It can kill. But it
also can be managed. So your kid can be healthy, and the whole family
can sleep better.
For my daughter, the change was immediate. Once she was diagnosed and we
put her on a regimen both to combat the attacks and prevent new ones, my
daughter's coughing subsided. When she does cough now, we ramp up the
asthma treatment. We also do give her over-the-counter pediatric cough
medicine to ease her discomfort Gwynne Young email@example.com
nighttime coughing is one of the most common symptoms of asthma in young
children. please ask your pediatrician to rule out asthma. your daughter
is not too young to consider this diagnosis nurse and asthma advocate
My daughter used to have massive coughing attacks also. Coughs that
would last forever. It turned out that she was allergic to several
things. I took her to someone who did NAET. It's an allergy elimination
technique that uses accupressure. It REALLY WORKS!!! You should try it,
there are no side effects, it's painless and it gets rid of the
allergies, not just keeps them at bay. It's based on Chinese methods of
putting the body back into balance. If she is getting all these colds
her immune system must be low too. I think you will find referals on the
BPN for an NAET practitioner. The person I went to doesn't work on
little little children. It might take a few times, and hopefully you can
find someone who doesn't charge that much. It's SO worth though!! lots
of luck. (BTW-NAET stands for Nampudripad's Allergy Elimination
Technique. She is the one who developed this.) anon
You may want to have your child evaluated for asthma. I don't want to
scare you, but this is how my son was with colds for about six months
and ended up in the hospital twice before we found the right medication
for him. Often, asthma presents itself as a cough, *especially* a
nighttime cough (this is when the body creates the least of its own
steroids, which help control inflammation of the airways).
Please ask your doctor.
My just turned 2 year old daughter had a constant runny nose and cough
at night from January through April. At first, I thought it was just a
series of colds, one after the other, especially since it was winter.
But I finally went to see the doctor in April, and she said it's been a
particularly bad allergy season and that perhaps she had an allergy.
She said to try children's claritin (and to skip benadryl - something
about the active ingredient in that wouldn't work she said).
The trick the doctor said is that you have to give them the medicine
EVERY NIGHT, not just when they have symptoms, and that it can take a
week or so to see a difference. Well, it worked. We gave it to her,
and after about one week, the coughing stopped and after two weeks, the
runny nose totally stopped. I stopped giving her the Claritin for a few
days a couple weeks ago, and the snot started up again! I felt weird,
and still feel a little weird, about giving a 2 year old Claritin every
night, but I much rather do that than have her cough and suffer all day.
And if she is that stuffed up in the nose, I am sure it must give her
sinus pain and other side effects as well. Maybe you could ask your
doctor about allergy medicines True believer in little kid allergies!
Your daughter may have a pollen allergy (grasses are blooming and
EVERYONE'S allergies are worse than ever before ...mine are!!.).
OR she could have a dairy allergy. VERY common in little ones and would
produce exactly the symptoms you're talking about.
You might try to eliminate dairy from her diet for a few weeks and see
if it changes. My son (now 11) had a dairy allergy when he was 3-4 ish.
We thought he kept getting colds at daycare.
Nope!!! As soon as we took out the dairy he stopped.
He's grown out of it now but we had him on goat's milk instead of cows
milk. No cheese, real ice cream, etc. It wasn't such a big deal except
at bd parties. Good luck anon
You *almost* answered your own question! You really do need to stop the
runny nose...you need a decongestant. Stop the production of phlegm
that is running down her throat and the coughing will stop. I went
through the same thing...cough medicine after cough medicine until
finally someone told me to clear up the running nose! We never know if
we're dealing with a cold or an allergy but it's a safe bet that if the
mucos is clear, water-like, it's an allergy. If it's yellow or green,
it's likely a cold.
Good luck and know that we're going through it too! We're in good
company ---hacking, hacking, hacking!
I found your message a little odd. You seem more irritated by her
coughing than concerned enough to really get to the bottom of it. You
won't do what the pediatrician recommended- just because your 2 year old
doesn't want you to? You won't take her to another doctor because you're
not sure she can take antihistamines at 2. Wouldn't a doctor (or just a
research) clarify this? Take her to the pediatrician for her own
good- and I suppose yours as well!
To the mom of the Coughing 2 year old, my 2 year old son exhibited many
of the same symptoms and we did choose to go the traditional medicine
route so I hope my experience helps you, even if it is not the advice
you were originally seeking. Our doctor disagnosed our son with
cold-induced asthma. We took him to a pulminologist who confirmed the
diagnosis. When he gets a cold he ALWAYS gets an ''attack.'' He never
has had an attack without first having a cold. For him the attacks
rarely result in audible wheezing, but always result in the persistant
cough, like one ''bark-y'' cough every 15 seconds. To help with this he
has an albuterol inhaler and a flovent inhaler (steroid). Now, I assume
your doctor has ruled out asthma based on listening to her chest.
If not, check that out again. If so, other things to try are making
her sleep on her stomach (hard to do, but with reminders and turns from
mommy and daddy they eventually get it), humidifiers and sometimes walks
outside for cold air in the night. Asthma is always worse at night, I
can't remember why, but I feel your pain and hopefully she will out grow
Hi, Mom of the cougher,
I understand that night-time coughing can be a sign of asthma (asthma
can take the form of coughing, not only wheezing), allergy, or
post-nasal drip, none of which can be controlled without medication,
although you can certainly make a room more allergy-free. Also, I
understand that if a child is denied REM sleep - deep sleep - they don't
make growth hormone and of course there is the obvious thing of being
irritable and cranky the next day. 2 year olds can take
anti-histamines, Advair, etc. I understand your conservative approach
but I feel like this must be torture not ohly for you but also your kid.
A smart allergist or ENT doc can help you.
P.S. One of my children is an especially big night-time cougher after
she's had a chest cold and the cough lingers like mad. Her doctor puts
her on a short-term course of Codeine and a longer course of Advair.
Works like a charm Mother of a former cougher
It's allergies. Classic symptoms and kids can take antihistamines at age
two. In fact, Benadryl is an antihistamine that actually works great
except it may make him drowsy or amped up, depending on his genetic
make-up. Maybe try it for a week or so. The thing about allergies is
that prevention is key, you can't just give a dose of antihistamine
after the kid has already had a histamine release in his body and expect
it to clear up. It might make it a little better for a while, but as
soon as the medicine wears off, and the offending agent is encountered
again, another reaction takes place. The medicine has to be taken every
day as a preventative. Sometimes people just need to take allergy meds
in the spring (like my husband) or another season, or they need it year
round. If you've ever had allergies bad enough to make it seem like a
continuous string of colds, you would know how bad your kid feels and
treat him. You can also try alternative meds or allergy shots if you
are not into medicating every day.
Generally anti-meds but also anti-suffering
Our son also coughed and coughed all night (and day) long every time he
got a little cold, and was finally diagnosed with asthma. Like your
daughter, he has a post-nasal drip thing going, which makes the snot
settle in his lungs, and so every cold ends with up coughing, coughing
and more coughing. The saline spray helps A LOT, and his nose is never
stuffy, but the spray seems to clear out the post nasal drip. He also
uses preventative asthma medications daily, including singulair, which
is supposed to help with this exact issue when the root cause is
allergies. It is really hard on kids that young to cough so much- they
don't want to cough just as much as you don't want to hear it, but they
need to do it just to breathe.
At least for my son, it's not something he could ''learn to
calm.'' Also, antihistimines just make the cough / cold worse
and can be dangerous if the cause of the coughing is asthma. As for
your question about dealing with this in a non-traditional method, some
people swear by NAET treatment for asthma (if that's what your daughter
has). That's the only non-traditional treatment I've come across, and
I've been looking for a while.
Hope this helps
Mom of Cougher
I don't understand your reluctance to take your daughter to an ENT or
allergy specialist, because I think that those sorts of specialists
would be ideally placed to figure out what is going on with your
daughter and her health. If the coughing is keeping you up, imagine
what it's doing to her sleep cycle. I can't imagine it's good. I would
rethink your stance, and get her to a doctor.
FWIW, I've found the saline helpful to me, with my allergies and
occasional colds, because keeping my sinuses washed out helps dampen my
body's reaction to the allergens/irritants. You might try to rinse your
daughter's nose despite the screaming, and see if it helps the sleep
issue (for everyone).
You can try giving her Robitussin. Don't give her the kid version, give
her the regular one. It's Robitussin Cough DM. It works great. I have a
2 year old too who gets coughing spells.
Give her 1 tsp. I asked my doctor & it's fine to give to a toddler.
No more coughing in my house!
I don't deal with the little ones. but I know about coughing due to
you need to get the snot out. or dry it up. The way to dry it up is
and it seems mainly a problem at night. so you could use over the
counter diphenhydramine. (which should knock your kid out, though some
kids have a ''paradoxical reaction'' and ''get hyper''
Not sure on the dose for a 2 year old. but call your pediatrician's
during the day, over the counter pseudoephedrine. again, ask your
pediatrician for dose Sophia, adolescent medicine MD
It must be hard to listen to all that coughing. My husband sometimes
gets very long lasting coughs during the winter. He talked with a nurse
at Kaiser about some non-drug thing that he could do for it, and she
said drink lots and lots of water (and herbal teas). It worked. He did
drink a lot though, and it took several days of this as I recall. It's
simple and healthy and I hope it works for your daughter :) Miriam
My son and I both get pretty irritating post nasal drip every time we
have colds. Out of everything I have tried, the two most effective
treatments I have found are homeopathic and made by Boiron and Boericke
& Tafel. I have matched these against over-the-counter traditional
cough medicines and the homeopathic treatments win by a landslide. From
Boiron I get their pellets in the little blue tube labeled ''post nasal
and I use that in conjunction with the cough syrups for children made by
either Boiron or Boericke & Tafel. Both are honey based and taste just
like honey, so my 3 year old is more than happy to eat it (it took about
1/2 hour of convincing the first time since he didn't believe me!). The
post nasal drip pellets recommend 5 tablets each hour but I give my son
3 tablets each 15 mintues for the first hour until the effect kicks in.
This combined with a warm bath in a REALLY steamy bathroom before bed
usualy does the trick for my son.
Honestly, I have tried the Simply Stuffy nasal drops for kids on myself
and they clear my nose very well, but it takes both my husband and
myself sitting on my screaming son to get them in, and by then, he's
having another coughing fit and the neighbors are calling Child
Protective Services. So I gave up on that :-) mom of a cougher
I'd recommend going to an allergist, I know you said you're reluctant
because ''I don't want them to run a bunch of tests'' but all they did
in my son's case was a scratch test. My son was having problems with
constant drip/cough/stuffy ears and it turns out he has a bunch of
allergies (including pollen, dustmites, and cat dander). He did very
well with the testing which consisted of bunch of little scratches that
were all done simultaneously.
We also went to an ENT who did no testing, he just looked into my son's
ears (this was to determine why he was experiencing hearing loss, which
was due to the constant mucus). We did not discover this problem until
my son was four, I recommend having your daughter looked at now in case
she does have allergies. It's much better to intervene early. amanda
My daughter went through something very similar to what you
describe: a string of colds that she picked up at daycare and the park
and every place else we've gone where toddlers sneeze. But the main
problem was her incessant coughing that seemed to mostly arise while she
slept. We called the advice nurse and took her to the doctor. They
told us that it was a lingering post-nasal drip that caused the coughing
due to all the colds and possible allergies. They didn't want to do any
testing, but they did prescirbe Albuterol - an asthma medicine. We gave
her 2 doses and the coughing and daily sniffles have totally subsided.
I don't like giving medicine and drugs when she only has a cold or a
cough because I believe it's healthier for her to work through her
symptoms, but this wasn't going away. I strongly recommend visiting the
doctor just to see if it's not a simple thing like what we experienced.
What finally motivate me to take our daughter in was that I realized if
her cough was disturbing our sleep night after night, she must have been
missing her super-important rest too. She's been much happier since
she's slept through the night without coughing!
Take her to an ENT or allergist. It doesn't make sense -- you want to
avoid going to another doctor or some tests for the sake of her comfort,
yet she has been in obvious discomfort every single day for months.
You're the adult and parent, be strong and take her to the doctor. It's
like brushing her teeth -- she may not want to do it but it's for her
own good. She is probably getting inadequate sleep and that's not going
to help her get over whatever it is she has. I think medications, such
as antibotics, were over prescribed in the past and as a result our
local culture has a knee jerk reaction to any kind of western medical
I have learned my lesson about second guessing what looks like simple
cold or allergy symptoms in my son. Last year he was coughing and
coughing for over a month. Sometimes he'd cough and then lay down in the
middle of playing to rest. I just assumed it was a lingering cold and he
was tired. I finally took him in and it ends up he was having asthma
attacks. He was coughing because he couldn't get enough air! And the
laying down was because he wasn't getting enough air to even continue
playing and he had to stop to breath. It's viral asthma, which means he
only gets it about once a year after a cold. The inhalers are a much
better alternative to his brain not getting enough oxygen.
And recently he had an excema rash that we were all assuming was
seasonal allergies. I was giving him homeopathic remedies which
alleviated the symptoms but he'd still have bad flare ups. I finally
took him in after a month -- ends up it is a severe bacterial skin
infection that only antibiotics will cure.
So don't play doctor with a very young child. Go see an expert and get
real advice. If it's allergies, then you can explore alternative
medicines. If it's bacterial or asthma, then that's another story anon
I had a two-year-old with a chronic cough and seemingly never-ending
colds. A couple of times we ended up in the ER for wheezing. I was told
to put my son on albuterol and Flovent every time he got a cold. There
was no way I was going to do that, so I did a lot of research on line
and ended up at Dr. Randall Neustaedter down in Redwood City. He treated
my son with chinese herbs and a couple of other supplements and we've
essentially had a cold/cough-free year. It's really quite amazing. His
website is www.cure-guide.com. I'm happy to communicate with you about
his strong and weak points. tosha
Hi there. My son has had allergies since he was a 1 year old.
He's now 6 1/2. He's seen an allergist during the whole time.
I couldn't imagine him not going to a a specialist. Please, please go
see a specialist. It may help you understand what's happening to your
child and help the symptoms and then help your frustrations. Why would
you not want to have her go unless your afraid of what the outcome might
be? She may have a food, environmental or other allergy that could be
helped. And you have another adult that you can talk with. Many of us
with children with allergies go see Dr. James Nickelson in Berkeley.
Best of luck
mom of allergy kid
I was floored by the reponses of parents unwilling to put their children
on medicine for asthma. We've found great relief using Flovent and
Albuterol (and its varieties). My twin daughters had
''coughing-asthma'' practically from birth but not until we could see a
chronic history, about 18 months of on-and- off coughing, were they
finally diagnosed with coughing asthma. What a relief because we then
started treatment, sometimes aggressively. When flu season struck, we'd
spend the fall and winter with a girl who coughed all night, or for
days, or until she threw up (and sometimes all of the above). Last year
we were in the emergency room at least once a month and one daughter was
hospitalized briefly for low blood oxygen level. But, we could not have
made it without the medicines; they would have been so much worse
without then during flu season. We'd have gone into the emergency room
150% more. The times we managed to get an asthma attack under control,
we could all ''breath easy'' (pardon the pun). Not getting in front of
an attack can exhaust a girl. We are grateful for the interventions.
I understand the hesitation to give steriods to a child; I had them.
But we're talking a potentially life threatening disease. I don't
understand the tendency to assume ''alternative'' therapies as better
simply because they are either Eastern, or not-medicine. Go with the
meds if that is what you have decided. I'd suggest adding to that any
alternative you want to try. But the obvious stuff, like removing pet
dander (we got rid of a cat), dusting and keeping floors clean(we have
no carpeting), no smoking, etc help tremendously.
Our girls are doing very well. No side effects, and this winter, their
fourth on our planet, their lungs started to show sings of enough growth
that their symptoms are subsiding Twins don't cough anymore
Hi, Mom of the cougher,
I understand that night-time coughing can be a sign of asthma (asthma
can take the form of coughing, not only wheezing), allergy, or
post-nasal drip, none of which can be controlled without medication,
although you can certainly make a room more allergy-free. Also, I
understand that if a child is denied REM sleep - deep sleep - they don't
make growth hormone and of course there is the obvious thing of being
irritable and cranky the next day. 2 year olds can take
anti-histamines, Advair, etc. I understand your conservative approach
but I feel like this must be torture not ohly for you but also your kid.
A smart allergist or ENT doc can help you.
P.S. One of my children is an especially big night-time cougher after
she's had a chest cold and the cough lingers like mad. Her doctor puts
her on a short-term course of Codeine and a longer course of Advair.
Works like a charm Mother of a former cougher Anon
My 8 month old son has had an ongoing cough for 6 months now. We
have seen pulminary specialist, done allergy test, CF test,
changed his environment, and given him medicine for both asthma
and acid reflux. Unfortunately, none of these have given our son
any relief. Luckily, he is a happy healthy kid on all other
respects. We are running out of ideas. Has anyone gone through
this? Any information would be extremely helpful! Thanks.
mom in need of help...
When my younger son (now 9) was a toddler he had a cough for
almost 2 years. We tried antibiotics, acupuncture, allergy
testing, vacuuming a lot, homeopathics, etc.
We finally discovered he was ''sensitive'' to dairy products''. You
can have a sensitivity to substances without having an actual
allergy. And by the way, allergy testing is not always very
accurate in young children, I found out.
Once we took him off of all diary, his cough stopped.
He was able to tolerate goats milk (which is closest in
nutritional make up to human breast milk), sheep feta, goat
cheeses, soy products, etc.
Eventually he grew out of it and now can eat cow dairy with no
problem although our whole household drinks goats milk
(Meyenberg brand is tastiest) and he doesn't like cows milk.
Your babe could also have a wheat sensitivity...VERY common, and
unfortunately in MANY things we eat.
Check these out by elimnating one of the two for a few weeks and
see what happens. Good luck. It's very frustrating...been there.
We had the exact same coughing problem with our daugher, who is now four. Went
through all the tests you did, put her on Zantax for possible acid reflux, had a chest
xray, blood tests for allergies, elevated her crib mattress and nebulized her twice a
day (for possible asthma). Nothing worked, except for her getting older. At about 16
months, the cough was GONE and hasn't returned. I think a lot of kids out grow this
type of cough. Good for you for checking every possible avenue. I know a constant
cough in your baby can be really disconcerting.
I could have written the same letter 5 years ago. Our otherwise
healthy and happy 10 month old also had an ongoing barking cough.
We went to all the specialists, had a CF test (very stressful),
treated him for asthma, tried albuterol which just made it worse
- nothing worked. Then he devleoped an ear infection which was
unrelated - he was put on an antibioitic and within 3 days his
cough was gone (it had been going on for 4+ mos!) It was finally
dtermined that he had a minor sinus infection the entire time
that was causing drainage that was making him cough. It
obviously wasn't bad enough to make him feel bad, but it was just
enough to keep him coughing. Evidently it is very hard to
diagnose a sinus infection in a small child. Anyway the
antibiotic for the ear cleared up the sinus problem and the cough
went away never to return. Good luck!!
our son went through the exact same process of elimination for
his cough when he was about 18 months old. none of the different
medications, x-rays and scpecialist visits turned up anything.
he has been healthy for about 4 months now so we are hoping he
has grown out of whatever was causing the cough. i don't have
any answers except to let you know i feel your frustration for
not knowing what could be wrong with your child. one of the
radiologists told me once that some kids are just very unlucky
and happen to catch every little bug that comes there way. good
Recently our 14 month old daughter had a bout with a
runny/stuffy nose that lasted about 10 days. She did not run a
temp, and after giving her some over-the-counter meds
recommended by her doctor this seemed to run its course. Toward
the end she developed a cough that has hung on for about 2
weeks. It is not really a productive cough, she just sounds like
she needs to clear her throat (not easy for a 14 mth old!) Our
doctor has attributed it to drainage down the back of her
throat, and since my husband and I both suffer from allergies,
we thought allergies might be the cause.
The main problem with this is that our daughter may go all day
without a single cough, then she wakes in the middle of the
night with a fairly severe coughing fit. We have tried giving
her Benedryl and Triaminic Night Time before bed (at our dr's
suggestion) but nothing seems to help. She will wake up,
sometimes coughing so much that she spits up, then after maybe 5-
10 minutes, it's over and she goes back to sleep. She also
coughs a lot when she first wakes up in the morning.
I am just wondering if anyone else has experienced this, and if
so, what can be done to lessen the coughing?. I have thought
this might be a sign of asthma but she has not had any trouble
Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!
Your child may not have bronchitis, but still, I think the
advice at this website about limiting exposure to aerosols and
lung irritants may help.
This sounds like it may be night time asthma. Our son developed
a non-productive night cough at about 16 - 18 mos. He never had
any trouble breathing during the day. They thought it was a
lingering sinus infection, but antibiotics never cleared it up.
After almost two months he ended up getting terrible bronchitis
and walking Pneumonia and had to have breathing treatments. At
that point they determined that he most certainly had a mild form
of asthma - his was aggravated by a smoking bar-b-q (cedar chips)
We began using albuteral and within a few weeks the cough went
away. Now whenever he starts the night coughing, it is not
frequent, we give him one or two albuterol treatments and it
seems to go away. We are also very good about vacuuming and
dusting his room abd keeping windows closed when it is very windy
or htere is a high pollan count.
Hi. My 16 month old daughter has been coughing only at night
for the past almost FOUR months. Out of the four months she's
only had probably about 3 nights of peaceful sleep. When this
first started, I took her to the doctor and they didn't seem
very concerned about it. They just said some children take
longer to recover. The doctor also said maybe it could be
allergies. Three months has passed and she is still coughing in
the middle of the night.
I take her to the doctor for her 15 month check up and I let the
doctor know she is still coughing. She says to try giving her
antibiotics (Amoxillian) for 10 days to see if it'll clear up.
If it doesn't try giving her Aubuterol (asthma inhaler) every 6
hrs. Well, the antibiotics didn't clear it up and now I'm
trying to give her the inhaler. It seems a little hard for her
to inhale it because she doesn't like the mask over her little
face. I tried to let her inhale it after she has fallen asleep
and it seems to work but the cough is still there.
I'm wondering if anyone out there has experienced this and if
you have any advice for me? It's been a very tiring 4 months
for both her and I. We'd just like to have a good night sleep.
My daughter had allergies (unbeknowst to me) at about ten months.
She would get this cough that wouldn't go away. I finally went to
a homeopathic practitioner, after trying some horrible cough
medicine from Kaiser that affected her nervous system. Read up on
homeopathy. It's a really interesting form of healing, pretty
tried and true. My daughter has reacted sucessfully to treatments,
even now when she's 12 years old. There are no bad reactions, if a
remedy doesn't work, it doesn't work. Beware though that the first
visit will cost quite a bit as it is longer. They ask A LOT of
questions about all aspects of the child to determine what the
right remedy is for the child. The remedies themselves are not
that expensive and follow-up visits are normal prices. There is
the Hanhneman Clinic in Albany (I liked Matt Vuksinich and a woman
named Christine-not sure if they are there anymore), and many
other practitioners in the Bay Area. Please try this and good
Several possible things come to mind regarding your child (4 months is a
long time for both of you to suffer):
1) eliminate potential allergens in the BR (dust mites, synthetics, poor
air circulation, animal dander, chemicals, stuffed animals. etc.)
2) wash down all surfaces, including mattress cover, with black tea and
place in the sun to kill any mites
3) evaluate the diet carefully as responses to foods can take only 1 minute
and up to 72 hours. What ever was introduced 4 months ago may have to be
until her gut is more developed.
4) probiotics, decimated by the antibiotics and Allbuterol, can help
rebuild your daughter's colon bacteria, an integral part of her immune
system. Babydophilus by
Jarrow may be helpful.
is it possible that
there is dust or mold or something like that which is the
problem? i don't konw what you do about mold, but for dust
you can perhaps borrow or rent a hepa vacuum and do a thorough
attack on the dust. also perhaps an allergy to your laundry
detergent if it is scented, that can sometimes irritate the
Please get your child evaulated for asthma. My 5 yo daughter
had the same chronic nighttime cough for more than six months and
we received the same diagnosis from the doctors (allergies,
lingering cold, postnasal drip). Just this week she had a severe
asthma attack and was nearly hospitalized. The pediatrician
reviewed her charts and immediately diagnosed the kind of asthma
that manifests as chronic coughing and throat clearing (rather
than wheezing, which I think is more common). If your toddler does
have asthma, you can learn now how to manage it now and get the
medications you need to treat it at home, so you will be prepared
if an emergency situation arises. This is, as my pediatrician
stresses, a potentially fatal disease, so it's really important to
find out if that's the problem.
Also, with the inhaler issue--I think--but am not sure--that
Children's Hospital has some sort of support group for families of
asthmatic children. (I'm not sure because this is all very new for
me!) Perhaps there's someone at that hospital who can check your
technique or give you tips.
My son coughed for about 6 months only at night. We followed
the same medicinal path you have and it did eventually go away.
The most difficult part was the abuterol mask thing, but
eventually he got used to it and used to like walking around
with it on his face. I have a lot of allergies so I assumed
that was what was affecting him. So... I washed his sheets a
lot, vacuumed, etc. Not sure if it helped though.
Ugh, that is just awful. I wish your doctor(s?) would work with
you more proactively on this. You and your daughter deserve
As for the albuterol--are they only giving you the clear tube
with the mask, with a small puffer? That is really hard. I
remember when I started giving asthma treatments to my little
guy, at 9 mos. He HATED it.
It did help a lot to put on a video while we did treatments. It
also helped that he got the albuterol from a nebulizer (which is
probably warranted for your daughter at this point), and that one
wonderful tech showed me how to use the adult equipment with a
little one--mine hated the nebulizer mask most of the time, too.
This other way is called a ''blow-by'' and is far more effective
than using the mask on a crying child (I was told that they
breathe more shallowly when they cry). With blow-by, you set your
child up watching a video, and aim the vapor at her mouth. Mine
even grew to like holding the adult mouthpiece in his teeth.
Sometimes he would breathe from that end and then the
In the end, you need more ideas and options. Take care.
Our 2 yr old son had chronic coughing at night for several months
in a row, but is fine now. He had pneumonia twice as an infant,
one of which was only diagnosed on a 2nd opinion, and this may
have made him more susceptible. Your child may have asthma or
alergies if the coughing is truly chronic. What helped our son
sleep without coughing was simply putting his mattress on an
angle, with his head at the highest end. You can do this with a
foam ''wedge'' pillow, or make your own ''ramp''. For more serious
coughs, a steeper incline helped. Over-the-counter cough medicine
was also useful during the serious bouts.
If you think it may be asthma, try to reduce triggers, such as
dust and dust mites, perfume, toxic cleaning products, new
carpet, pets, etc. Here is a link about triggers:
Because the coughing happens at night and because we spend a lot
of time in our bedrooms, it is helpful to keep the bedroom
especially clean. However, exposure to triggers during the day
could manifest in coughing at night.
I am not a doctor, but it sounds like your child may have
what my son was diagnosed with when he was about two
years old, which is reactive airway disease. It is not asthma,
but can be a precursor to asthma, if it's not treated
effectively, says our doctor.
In my son's case, often after he'd recovered from a cold, his
coughing would continue for almost a month, especially at
night, or after he'd been running outside a lot. I've learned
over the years that the cough has a different sound than the
cough he has when he has an actual cold--more
spasmodic sounding--so it's gotten easier to figure out
where the cold stops and the reactive airway disease
In my experience, regular MDs don't show much of an
interest in this fairly common condition until it's
full-blown--i.e., until Albuterol is a necessity. We sought out
a good homeopathic doctor instead--Christine
Ciavarella--who prescribed a homeopathic remedy that he
took once a month for quite a long time. He seemed to
respond well to this treatment--the combination of the
homeopathic remedy and our learning the sound of a
reactive airway cough (which was the trigger for using other
homeopathic remedies as well) lessened the ocurrences of
coughs moving in the direction of reactive airway disease.
He also had a prescription for Albuterol, which we've had to
use on occasion, but my feeling is that we did not have to
use it as often as we would have had he not been on the
remedy. He's 7 now, and it seems like we're out of the
woods, for the most part. We're very happy that he did not
I hope your child has a healthy early childhood, but if he/she
is anything like our son, we found early on that we needed
extra help that a regular medical practice isn't set up to
provide--that of proactive treatment for all the little
things--colds, flu, etc. Good luck!
have you tried a humidifier?
Get a referral to an allergist. Many pediatricians don't have
the training in this area. My son had the same problem so I can
relate to how you miust be feeling. It turns out my son has
allergies to dustmites and mold. His coughing was particularly
bad on foggy nights and windy nights, and often was at its worst
between the hours of 2-5am. Apparently certain types of mold
release their spores around this time. He takes a low dose of
the allergy medicine Zyrtec at bedtime and we are all sleeping
much better! Try to get to an allergist if you can. Good luck!
No more coughing
I understand just what you are going through. My daughter who is
now 13 experienced this same sort of cough when she was about
that age. It was not untill my husband and I took her in to the
doctor many times about this cough, yes they prescribed
antibiotics of (Amoxillian) for her as well which did not work.
This cough was very depressing to her and I and she was so
young I was up endless nights listening to her cough I was in
tears. One Sunday I took her into urgent care and the attending
physician on duty that day saved our lives. She immediately said
this chid has asthma I thought to my self no way I don't have
asthma and neither does her father, however my mother in law was
a chronic suffer of asthma which I had totally forgotten. So he
suggested a breathing treatment for her which was done in the
office on the table for about 30min, after that treatment my
daughter had regained her little life back and from this point
when the cough would occur I would make an urgent app. and tell
the doctor that she needed a breathing treatment. There is also
a few other precautions that I would take when she was little was
keeping her neck and or head covered on days like this if you
live in the bay area mornings and days like this seem to activate
that terrible cough for them. She resisted but I would say to
her remember that ugly cough that kept you up all night and she
would be ok. I literally made her wear a hat on her head if days
were like this it was very important to keep the head and neck
covered when she was exposed to air. As she got older and the
cough would occur I would get her to use her inhaler every two
hours for about two days and she would be just fine. She has
grown out of it but she was just coughing yesterday and I said to
her get your inhaler and use it!
I hope this helps you out! I know just what you are going
this page was last updated: Mar 19, 2014
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2014 Berkeley Parents Network