46 answers

2 1/2 Year Old Coughs Only Late Night..

Hi all. My son is 2 1/2 and for the last 2 nights has been coughing all night. I have been having to get up every 2 hours and rub vicks on him or give him a dose of cough syrup if its been long enough between doses. He hardly coughs at all during the day, but when night comes-it gets pretty bad. I have a call into the doctor, but haven't heard back yet. Has anyone else experienced this?

What can I do next?

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I would try rubbing his feet at night with vicks and putting his socks on to sleep with. Some believe in it, others don't but it's worth a try. It does work for us! Also heard that a half teaspoon of honey helps the coughs for smaller children, not younger than one, a full teaspoon for older kids. Do you have a humidifier? That may help. Also try keeping him on his side and if you can elevate his head and chest while sleeping, like in a hospital bed, this helps.

This is classic croup. Kids almost only cough at night. It's caused by the upper airways getting inflammed and swelling. Worry when his cough starts to sound like a dog barking, and you hear a deep rasp as he breathes in and out. Thats when you need to go to the ER. It's often caused by a viral infection. My daughter is 7 and gets chronic croup, once her airway was almost completely closed from swelling. (Also, I'm an RN) The BEST treatment is cold air, the colder the better. Wrap him up and take him outside into the cold. If it's warm where you live, buy a cold mist humidifier and stick his nose in the cold, that will bring down the inflamation. Some people swear by having the humidifier on while sleeping next to the bed. If he's having a lot of mucous, sitting in the bathroom with the hot shower running will loosen it up, but try that before bed.

My daughter started cuoghing through the night at around two. We tried every kind of cough medicine we could find and nothing helped stop it. After weeks of this the doctor finally diagnosed her with asthma.... the main indicator being coughing through the night...and he put her on singulair and albuterol nebulizer and she finally stopped coughing. I was freaked out with the diagnosis but we have learned to live with it. We still have her on asthma meds, shes almost seven, and we only have problems when she gets a cold. Good luck

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Well call me crazy, but rub the Vicks Vapor Rub all over his feet(especially the bottoms) and put socks on his feet to keep the vapor in. Studies have shown that if you put garlic on your feet you can taste it after a couple of mins. That is because your feet are so pourous. So they tried it with Vicks Vapor Rub on a lady who had a hacking cough every night. And she said within 5 minutes she was sleeping soundly with no cough. She also said that it was like a big warm blanket just covered her.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi C.,

It could well be allergy. When one lays down, the drainage goes down the throat and iritates it at nightime. I would try some Zyrtec. It is now over the counter, and has worked well for my grandson through the past years. Some people have allergies to molds and things that occur during the winter. A pillow helps also. Make sure it is hypoallergenic, though.

The other response is right on. Both of my kids do this from time to time, and I have always used the Vicks vaporizer in their room at night when the coughing or stuffiness starts. Even if they have a cold without cough, the vaporizer really helps them sleep through the night. I haven't tried the plug in yet, but I would definitely steer clear of cough syrups.

I have experienced this with my nephew. If I was you I would have him checked for asma. My nephew started this same way. At night when the child's breathing slow's down it will act up more then during the day. Have you noticed any up and down's in his playing habit's. If so I would make an appointment asap.

Cut out the milk towards the evening and offer only juice or water

My son who is now 12 had the same problem throughout his youth. He would cough all night sometimes to the point that he wouldn't sleep and, when he was older, would have to skip days of school. One night I ended up taking him to an instacare and he was diagnosed with allergy-induced asthma. He now uses an inhaler and a nebulizer to help him control it. It has gotten better and he needs the medication less now, but this season has been a bad one. The air quality is very poor and causes more problems. If your son has this problem, it may be hard for the doctor to diagnose unless he is coughing while there. I had to take my son in during the night when he was at his worst. I would ask the doctor about this possibility if it is a frequent occurrence. Good luck!

C.,
I've got 6 kids and 3 of them have done this, my teenager still coughs at night and in the morning when he first gets up. After numerous dr. visits and even specialists we determined it was a combination of the dryness, like the others said, and allergies. Since we got them on allergy meds the coughing has decreased significantly, unless its right in the middle of allergy season then it picks up a bit. I swear by the humidifier! It works wonders. Good luck

My daughter is nine years old and has been a night cougher since she was small. Sometimes are worse than others, and she still has flare ups when it can get bad. She has allergies and asthma also. We saw a pulmonologist at Primary Children's (which I'm sure isn't necessary for you to do - your family doctor or pediatrician should be able to handle it - we were there for other reasons as well) and he said there were many possible causes but the most likely were sinus drainage and the change in position (lying down) aggravates it, it could be allergies, or it could be reflux. Try to keep a record of when it happens and what if anything seems to help or worsen the problem. That will help the doctor figure out what is going on. I have found that giving my daughter a Triaminic berry flavored cough strip about 20 min. before bedtime has helped on many occasions, sometimes better than a prescription cough syrup, and it tastes better. I wish you luck and hope you can resolve it soon.

It sounds like allergies. My daughter does the same thing. When they lay down their nasal passages drain and irritate the throat. She got to coughing so hard she'd throw up. Ask your doctor which allergy medicine they recommend and get him on it. Allergy season started early this year.

I've heard Vicks VaporRub on the feet with socks on after, works, worked for me, and was recommended for my friend with her child with a cough. Maybe his head needs to be raised, up on another pillow? I'd still see a doctor, though.

Yes, my daughter did this as well. It took years before I got to the right doctor. She did allergy testing and she is now on nasal spray for those. They took out her tonsils and in surgery found that her adenoids were also enlarged and had pus on them which was draining down her throat. Since the surgery, we no longer have that problem.
P.

Good Morning
Well I don't know if this will help at all. But my son had started the coughing thing at night too, not long ago. Well my husband had made the comment that our house seemed really dry. So we bought a cold air humidifier (shaped like a penguin)and started running that in his room at night. And his coughing stopped, my hubby had told me that before the humidifier, he was waking up at night with a sore throat and really thirsty. Since the humidifier we no longer have those problems. I'm not sure if this will help you, but I hope it does.

Hi! I'm a mother of 6 and grandmother of 21. We had this problem a good many times. We discovered that a low-grade sinus infection was the cause. At night, laying down caused dripping down the throat, thus coughing to get it out. Try putting a pillow at the head of the bed under the mattress, and propping your son up at an angle. If that doesn't work, put the Vicks on the bottom of his feet, not on his chest. That's probably not where it is coming from! If those two fail, a good old recipe that worked on me and my six siblings (I'm 53) is plain ol' butter and sugar mixed and eaten from a spoon. It soothes the throat nicely.
You did the right thing having a call in to his doctor. A scratchy throat from dripping is probably a good guess, though, if he's not coughing during the day.
Good luck. The time will fly, and you'll wonder how he got so big so fast!

It might be asthma or allergies. My oldest daughter coughs at night sometimes and it's almost always asthma. She only gets asthma at night. It was never dangerously bad, but she did need an inhaler. Check to see if your son is wheezing at all by having him breath in and out deeply with your ear close to his mouth. Also listen to his chest to see if his lungs squeak.

My other daughter also coughs a lot at night and we finally figured out hers was allergies. We figured it out it was allergies because if we gave her Benadryl the coughing would stop. Many children's cough syrups have Bendadryl in them so that may be why cough syrup works on your son. We put an air purifier in her room and the coughing got better. Also check for black mold in your house. Neither of my children ever coughed much during the day.

This is classic croup. Kids almost only cough at night. It's caused by the upper airways getting inflammed and swelling. Worry when his cough starts to sound like a dog barking, and you hear a deep rasp as he breathes in and out. Thats when you need to go to the ER. It's often caused by a viral infection. My daughter is 7 and gets chronic croup, once her airway was almost completely closed from swelling. (Also, I'm an RN) The BEST treatment is cold air, the colder the better. Wrap him up and take him outside into the cold. If it's warm where you live, buy a cold mist humidifier and stick his nose in the cold, that will bring down the inflamation. Some people swear by having the humidifier on while sleeping next to the bed. If he's having a lot of mucous, sitting in the bathroom with the hot shower running will loosen it up, but try that before bed.

Does he have the barky cough? My son has/had croup and that only came at night. He was totally find durning the day but at night was a totally different story.

At night his sinuses can be draining and that causes more of a cough. Try the Vick Vapor plug ins, it lasts up to 8 hours with the smell of Vicks. He is young to have cough meds right now and try hard to let him cough as it is getting it out of his chest and keeping it out of his lungs. Also prop his bed up a tad to help with the drainage. If he has a fever have him checked by the Dr., otherwise a cough can last a week or more with a virus even after his other symptoms have disappeared. It is a good sign he isn't coughing a bunch during the day, I am betting it is just mucus draining at night when he is laying down. You just do not want it going into his lungs as that leads to pneumonia so try keeping him propped up. A cough is a good thing even though it is hard. When it keeps them from getting a good nights sleep your Dr can guide you with other things to do.
I used to give my kids Benadryl at night if it was drainage, just to try and dry them up a little over night. Hang in there! Good luck.

This is an old wive's tale that has worked pretty well for us. Rub the Vicks on the bottom of his feet (really cake it on!) and put socks over his feet. For some reason, who knows if the body absorbs it better there or what, but it's been such a lifesaver for us for many nights. Hope that will work, I'm sure you're ready to try anything!!!!

This is going to sound silly, but it works!! Rub VICKS on the bottoms of his feet at night before you put him to bed and then put socks on him. That should take care of the coughing!! Good luck...it is awful to have a sick little one!!

It could be croup. It happens at night. Does his cough sound like a barking seal? If so, I would get him into the doctor. You can also do steam treatments, turn the shower on hot and sit in the bathroom for 20 minutes. That helped when my daughter had it.

Try using a cool air humidifier in his room. It could be the dry air. Coughing can also be a sign of asthma. Talk to your doctor about that. That is how I discovered my son has childhood asthma. They can and do grow out of it.

My son has had this a couple of times within the past few months. He had croup. The doctor will need to give you a prescription for the couch, but also get a cool mist humidifer and put it next to his bed.

I would try rubbing his feet at night with vicks and putting his socks on to sleep with. Some believe in it, others don't but it's worth a try. It does work for us! Also heard that a half teaspoon of honey helps the coughs for smaller children, not younger than one, a full teaspoon for older kids. Do you have a humidifier? That may help. Also try keeping him on his side and if you can elevate his head and chest while sleeping, like in a hospital bed, this helps.

My daughter has these symptoms too and her's is allergies. Make sure all the linens are cleaned. Any stuffed animals washed or not in bed. Use a humidifier. There are also special allergy free pillows.

Is it a dry cough? When my son was about 3 1/2 he started doing a dry cough mostly at night and cough syrup did not seem to help. We finally ended up in ER when coughing turned to gagging and vomiting with difficulty breathing. Turns out he has allergy induced asthma and the coughing in some children is the same as wheezing in others. We have an inhaler to use when needed, but it typically happens change of seasons or when it is real windy when airborne allergens are at peak. Asthma (or allergies) is something you might want to ask doctor about. Good luck, hope this helps!

hello, I would like to send you some advice. I think you need to run a humidifier in your house it is probably to dry.

Hello
I just had the same thing happen to me my son is 3 yrs old and coughed alot throughout the night, and i little bite throughout he day but mostly through the night. I was always use a humidifier during the night it really seems to help. Try that, but also my doctor advised me to put him on soy milk because the coughing could be relatived to acid reflex, and it would make them cough alot through the night. I did that, and he's been on it for now three weeks and i haven't heard him cough at all through the night. I sleeps so much better. But of course I am still using the humidifier. Good Luck!!! Val

For our son it was allergies. Nasonex and Allegra together finally took care of it. We're not trying to back off. National Jewish suggested Nasal Washes. Maybe hard with a two year old, but our 4yo begs to do it since he feels so much better. You can buy them at most any drug store.

If it's a cold, have you tried dark honey? A recent study showed it was more effective with coughs than cough syrup. GL I hope he feels better soon!

hello there, we had the same problem with this kind of coughing. make sure eveyone who is sick is well hydrated. keep the heat way down at night time. add a humidifier to the room where they sleep and keep the door closed. also i throw the sick kids in the big tub with vapor bath at night before bed and then have other family members take their shower during the bath(our shower and bath are seperate). all the steam really helps to break up the phlem. milk and bananas are heavy mucus producers so if you can limit these in their diet. they cough because the mucus is draining into their throat when they lay back in bed. so if you could prop up the bed or use an infant carseat if they are small enough. even a recliner would work.

My son had chronic problems for over a year. We tried everything including a humidifier in his room. Cleaning like crazy thinking it might be allergies (allergy tests came back all negative)It was mostly at night when he was sleeping. He kept getting sinus infections. We saw a specialist who found he had abnormal adenoids. He had to have surgery to have them removed. He hasn't had any problems since then.

Two things...a spoonful of honey right before bedtime. No meds, just honey. He is well over a year so the botulism thing is not an issue. It really works, I have used it a number of times on my 3 year old and myself. Another one I recently heard and tried once is to rub that same Vicks you are already using on his chest on his feet particularly in the arch area. I know it sounds weird, but hey, it can't hurt, right? Plus, it is not filling your child with a lot of medication. Hope it helps.

I have a 3 year old who has a cough all winter long and it seems like cough medicines don't work well for her. One thing that I have found that helps was a tip from a parenting magazine. It said to put Baby Vick on the bottom of their feet and then put socks on before they go to sleep. Make sure that it is baby vicks and not the regular vicks. It seems to do the trick.

Put some of the vicks on his feet and cover them with socks. Also a humidifier and have him propped up a bit at night. I found a vicks thing that runs on batteries that has a vicks cherry insert that put it in the air. I found it at walmart on the botton shelf by the kids med's. One of my boys had bronchitis and one pnuemonia this winter- we had to get cough med w/codine in it for nightime . Also have him sit in the bathroom full of steam before bedtime or get him in the shower with dad and let the hot water hit his chest to break up some of the congestion.

My son has/does this often. He was diagnosed with asthma and we do breathing treatments at home. As soon as I hear "the cough" I know he needs a breathing treatment. It's amazing how much it helps. He was also tested for allergies and it all came back negative. Once you get a hold of your Dr. he may suggest testing. Our lives have been much calmed since he was diagnosed and we have a way to help him. Good luck.

Have you tired a vaporizer or some sort of humidifier? I would say to keep the temperature in your house cooler at night. Over heating dries us out.

My daughter had the same problem and it turned out to be a sinus infection. Hopefully the doctor calls you back soon, until then I'd try lots of fluids and propping him up a little when he sleeps.

Try putting vicks on the bottom of the youngsters feet and then put on a pair of warm socks ..EVER NIGHT...wash the feet in the morning to keep the feet comfortable...I have used this for 40 years on 4 boys, 11 grandsons and 2 nieces....and no coughing at night.......good luck....L.

Run a humidifier at night if you aren't already. My son does the same thing just because his air passages get really dried out at night. Otherwise I hope your doctor can offer some solutions for you.

Good luck!

J. (mom to Zach, 2 years, and Talia, 3 and 1/2 months)

My daughter has the same thing. Our pediatrician said it was allergies and recommended: 1) vaporizer; 2) children's Benadryl; and 3) 1 teaspoon of honey or 100% maple syrup (whichever your son will take). Those work wonders.

Sounds like asthma with dust mites as the trigger. I have 4 kids all wth asthma. Asthma is a "wheeze" (cough) on the EXHALE. If you want more info on how to de-allergen his room, private message me. Definitely take him in to your pediatrician.

We had the same problem! Putting a humidifier on in the bedroom all night took care of the cough pretty well.

Yes! I have a daughter who is now 4, but has been doing that on and off for the last couple of years. I think it must be an allergy to something or a tickle in her throat or something. Cause she does it even when she doesn't have a cold. And yes, it is very frustrating to try to sleep when she is coughing in the other room. So we have started a ritual. When she starts to cough (I used to wait to see if it stopped, but now...) we get her a drink of water and give her a cough drop (small piece)... and she usually can go back to sleep, sometimes it takes a little while. I try not to give her cough medicine unless she really needs it. Anyway, hope that helps alittle. At least you know you're not the only one :o)

C.,

I also had that same problem with one of my twin daughters and discovered that it was caused by a post nasal drip. I have been using and benedryl type allergy syrup and and this seems to take care of the problem

Does he have any allergies? My youngest does this if I don't give him a benadryl everynight before bed. He's allergic to pollen and dust. That might help. He could have a sinis infection or drainage. I'd check with the doc if you can. Good luck!!!

I just heard of something kinda weird sounding, but maybe it will help at least with the symptom of coughing, though I don't know the cause of it happening for your son. My sis in law just told me you rub vicks on your feet and then put socks on and it helps you not cough all night. She said she has done it on herself and on her son who is 17 months old. Hope it helps.

My daughter started cuoghing through the night at around two. We tried every kind of cough medicine we could find and nothing helped stop it. After weeks of this the doctor finally diagnosed her with asthma.... the main indicator being coughing through the night...and he put her on singulair and albuterol nebulizer and she finally stopped coughing. I was freaked out with the diagnosis but we have learned to live with it. We still have her on asthma meds, shes almost seven, and we only have problems when she gets a cold. Good luck

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