34 answers

5 Month Old W/ Severe Chest Congestion

My 5 month old infant started out having a simple cold and it accelerated to a fever and severe chest congestion. We waited three days till we took her to the doctor. Another reason is b/c she started to wheez. At the doctor they gave a nebulizer (0.63 Xopenax) and antibiotic (250 mg of Amoxicillin) for her fever (ear infection). Everything has cleared up except for the chest congestion. We are using the Vicks vapor rub on her chest and feet and a cool mist at night. We took her again for a follow up physician visit and then they said to continue with the nebulizer and also gave a low dose of prednisone. Nothing seems to work b/c you can still hear the congestion and crackling noise. Does any one have any suggestions on what I can do for the chest congestion as it is now going on a week.

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HI I'm a grandma and from the old school i was taught to not use Vicks vapor rub but at night and to wash it off in the morning and not to use it with a cool mist.
I always used it by it self don't know if this will help or not but it did for me I have two boys or men now and three grandkids. V.

Unfortunately, her congestion could stay with her for 2-3 weeks---it takes little children much much longer to get over a cold (even a simple cold w/chest congestion). I learned the hard way! When my children get congested, I use Vick's vapor rub (as you have) and I would keep doing it at night, so she can breathe easier.

maybe a humidifier, baby vicks, saline, warm bath(maybe hold her w/you in a warm shower to help break it up). Be careful w/the vicks. I wouldn't take her outside, especially if it is cold/windy, it could open her up too much and cause maybe pneumonia. the wheezes and thick congestion happens to my daughter almost everytime she gets a cold and these are some things that help. good luck

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I'm sorry she's feeling so terrible and that you're going through this!
Have you gotten some of the vicks vapor bath for her? I pour a whole bunch of that in under running water in the tub, and just let her play in there for as long as she is comfortable. While the tub is filling, I keep the curtain/doors closed to concentrate the vapor to the area as much as possible.

Also, have you ever gotten the Vicks shower soothers? They're giant tablets (they look like urinal cakes-gross, I know) that you put in the shower with you right on the floor where the water hits. The hot water hits them, and the vapors fill the shower. They're WONDERFUL! More intense than the vapor bath. When my little girl is feeling particularly congested, I put one of those in and just sit in the nice warm shower with her. Or even just in the bathroom with the shower as hot as you can so the room steams up. I hope she's doing better soon!!

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My son gets the same thing when he gets a cold.We use the nebulizer and Xopenax, and it has always worked out well for us.You really have to keep up with the nebulizer (at least 3 times a day) and also make sure she wears the mask until all the liquid is gone.I would also keep her away from any smokers, as that is also a trigger for the wheezy chest.Good luck!

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My oldest son used to go through this every time he got a cold. His first time, he was 8 months old, he had a horrible cough with wheezing and very labored breathing. They gave him 2 breathing treatments at the dr's office and then sent him for a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia and rsv. They were both negative and said he had bronchiolitis so they put him on breathing treatments every 4 hours and a steroid to help open up his lungs quicker. You have to be very diligent and use the nebulizer around the clock. We would have to set the alarm and give them to him while he was sleeping too. They warned me that because he was so young when it first happened that more than likely it would be like that every time he got a cold. They were right and he finally outgrew it shortly after he turned 2. He's 5 now and we've had to use the breathing treatments maybe 2 times (about 4 treatments each time) since he turned 2. I also use the PediaCare gentle vapors plug in. It works great! My husband and I even like to use them too. Don't use the children's Vicks plug in though, it doesn't work near as well. Hope your daughter feels better soon!

Your doing everything I can think of but did the Dr. tell you that chest congestion can take a month to totally clear up. Just keep with what you are doing and add some steam showers at night before bed.
Best luck

My son was almost hospitalized at about 9 months for the same thing. Keep doing the neb. I would also put my son in the bathroom, shut the door and turn the shower on hot. I would sit and let the steam help loosen up the junk in his lungs. I would also clap on his back (gently) to help to loosen it up. Exercise also helps to loosen the congestion. Just crawling or moving more may help him. Also remember, the outside air may help too - its not so drying. Good luck.


My little boy had the same type of thing happen. His was a result of catching a new cold every other week from the nursery at Church because parents sent their sick kids into nursery instead of keeping them at home on Sunday. Sorry, it's a sore spot. It took about 8-10 months to get it totally cleared up. My son's ped. put him on xopenex and pulmicort, all together it was a 15 min. nightmare with the nebulizer. My son was almost 2 at the time. After being told to wait it out, even though the congestion, wheezing, coughing and rattling had not subsided, I took matters into my own hands and spoke with an Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist. He prescribed Singulair granules (I'm sorry I can't remember the miligram amount). We put it in applesauce, SOOO easy, and that horrible congestion, etc. cleared up quickly. My suggestion is to find an ENT Specialist and see what they have to suggest. Good luck. I know how your heart just breaks at the sound of your little one having difficulty breathing. Take care, Katie

My child has asthma (now 7 yrs.) and had RSV at 8 mnth. when we started with the nebulizer and those same meds. You can try steaming up the bathroom with a hot shower running and sitting in there holding her for 10 or 15 min. We also had to put a wedge under the top half of his crib mattress so he slept at an angle. We also bathed him with the baby vapor bath - they may have to be 6 mth. for that. We also plug in the Gentle Vapors plug in unit near his bed. We still use that when he flares up. Don't be afraid to keep going back to the doctor to check on the breathing. You can tell distress if she has flaring nostrils, heaving in the chest and stomach when she breathes.
Good luck! I know it is a scary feeling!

Keep going with the Xopenex. It takes time and is hard to endure hearing your baby sound bad, but it gets better. It always takes my girl (6 yrs old now, but dealing with this forever, it seems) about 10 days to 2 weeks to be really better. We finish the antibiotic and it's not all better, but then the Xopenex (or Albuterol, they're mirror-image molecules) does the trick. Good luck!

HI I'm a grandma and from the old school i was taught to not use Vicks vapor rub but at night and to wash it off in the morning and not to use it with a cool mist.
I always used it by it self don't know if this will help or not but it did for me I have two boys or men now and three grandkids. V.

I have not had personal experience with the but I would DEFINITELY get more opinions ASAP! Have you had her tested for cystic fibrosis ( I don't mean to cause alarm but I would have to rule out everything!) Get tested for pneumonia. Breathing is vital and nothing to mess around with, she is to young to wait and see. My mom always says, puppies and babies go down fast. Get more opinions. And we will pray for your little one!

If her skin tastes salty, I have always heard check on the forehead, then ask about cystic fibrosis. i will say a prayer for you that this is not the case. L.

If your baby is on the nebulizer I would stop the vicks on her chest, not a good combinaiton. I dealt with this with my 8 year old since he was 4 months. Get a humidifier and put in her room and keep the door closed when she is sleeping and keep up the nebulizer treatments as often as the dr says, and don't hesitate to call the dr and take her back when ever you are concerned for her. She will get better it just takes time.

dont worry. i myself have asthma and actually am sick right now. however when i start to crackle and wheezing it means my chest is actually starting to loosen up and i dont feel like i have a truck on my chest anymore! the prednisone works wonders and usually makes you start to feel better in about 24 hours...altho she may be a bit grumpy. also the vicks on the feet is a myth so instead of putting it on her feet do her chest and BACK. also if she seems like shes having a really hard time steam up the bathroom and sit for about 15 mins good luck!

it sounds like you're being very proactive with the doctors. I'm one of those that doesn't like to give the really young ones a whole lot of meds, and let nature take it's course. It will pass I'm sure, it's just taking it's time (and toll on you!). I would keep in close check with your docs, but have a little patience with the congestion. If she were older I'd suggest the Robitussin to reduce coughing, but I really don't like giving any meds to infants unless prescribed by the doc. Hang in there!

She needs the mist all of the time. Can you do that? Can you give her mucinex? i DON'T KNOW IF THE CHILDREN'S CAN BE GIVEN TO BABIES. sOUNDS LIKE THE DOC HAS HER ON A PRETTY GOOD REGIMEN.

my daughter had RSV at the age of 2 months we had to do Nib and other things she had chest congestion and nose problems for years she is 4 yrs old at the age of 2 1/2 we finallly slowed down on the nib but anyway.

we did the following
Use an extra pillow at night to help prop up your child while he sleeps

ask the Dr about a expectorant of some kind he may reccomend we used SINUPRET its more natrual one because they dont like to give any children under a certain age medicine.


pat his back with ur hand cupped (for a long time) it helps to break up the mucous

other then these things or what the other girls said you have to ride this out and pay attention and if you feel its getting worse make sure they are seened to make sure it does not turn into pneumonia.

Good luck

You should not be using VICKS on a 5 month old baby. You can bring the baby in the bathroom, close the door and run the shower very hot. The steam should help. We have done that with my nephew and it always worked. We would sit on the toilet seat and just let him breathe in the air. And it doesn't help for adults to get some as well.

My daughter went through the same thing. I continued with the nebulizer every 6 hours and made sure she took her prednisone. She would sound congested for about a month, go a week fine, then start all over again. I pray that she gets better soon.

I just went through a similiar problem with my son who is 7 months old. The pediatrician warned me that it would take 4-6 weeks for the chest congestion to go away. I ran a cool mist humidifier in his room and rubbed him with the vicks, I also discovered that elevating the head of his crib helped him breathe. Other than that we just had to wait it out. It took about 4 weeks for my son's congestion to go away.

You should ask the MD to do a chest xray to make sure baby does not have pneumonia. You might need a specific type of antibiotic if she has pneumonia.

OH and vicks vapor rub will not hurt the baby like some of the others are suggesting. In fact, Johnson's makes one for babies. I've used it myself.

Lay her stomach down over your lap. Pat her on the back to help break up the congestion. Do it as firmly as you can without hurting her of course. Do this several times during the day....this will help.

Hi there,

I hope she is doing better. My advice is to go check out a holistic Chiropractor. Dr. Jennifer Harris, deals with children. She is in Hendersonville, nc. Your baby might have a Sulbouxation (problably spelled wrong). Think of the spine as an electrical grid. If one part is off then either a break down the system would happen or a shut down of other parts. Child birth is one of the most difficult things our bodies experience. Adjusting a baby is sooooo gentle.

My Background: stay at home mom, 1 child 6 1/2 adjusted since he was 4, and 1 child 3yr. adjusted since he was 3 months. They hardly get sick, and when then do it last less time than their friends. Good luck. It cost nothing to call or go see her and listen. best wishes. Oh Doctors lose money through good Holistic Chiropractors, less visit. they do not like that.

I would check with the doctor and let them know that she is still really congested. My youngest had asthma and we went through this type of thing often when he was a baby. The nebulizer would help. In our nebulizer we used a special saline solution with the meds. We could also just used the saline by itself. That would help to break up the junk so he could cough it up. Hope that this info helps. Good Luck

-I'm sorry that you are going through this. It can be very difficult for us moms.
-Are all the sounds that you hear from her chest? Are any from her nose or her throat? Do you have a clean bulb syringe available to suck up stuff from her nose or the back of her throat if necessary? Her airway is tiny and can get blocked with secretions easily.
-Ask the doctor or the doctor's nurses if they want you to be doing chest PT and postural drainage at home and have them show you how.
-You may want to ask the doctor if s/he wants her to have a decongestant, although you may start noticing results soon from the prednisone.
-Do I understand correctly that you have a nebulizer at home while she's going through this? Make sure to use it as ordered. Xopenex opens up her airways.
-Make sure that you clean out the vaporizer frequently. This will help to prevent mold growth to which she may develop allergies.
-I, personally, have never been a fan of Vicks, although millions of moms swear by it.
-Watch for "nasal flaring". Her nostrils would be opening outward with each breath. If you notice this, call the doctor or go to the emergency room. (Unless she's relaxed, comfortable, laughing, etc.)
-Good luck!

I am so sorry your daughter is sick. Two of my girls are asthmatic and had similar issues every time they had a cold as an infant/babies. They both had to use pulmicort as a preventative during the winter months. I would take your daughter back to the doctor if you are not seeing results you expect (or to a different doctor if you don't feel the one you are seeing is helping). The prednisone and neb.'s should be opening her up. Watch for flaring nostrils and/or pulling at her ribs when she breathes. I remember also counting breathes per minute to find out if the lungs were "active" ... ask the nurse or doctor what would be normal for her size/age.
Good luck! It is so hard to sit by when our kids are sick.

Hi Z.,
I have a neice who chest rattle. They had found out she has a deffected lung. She is older and take meds. for different thing she is coping with. She is a challenge young lady. She has special needs.
Also if you are using air condition in your home this might be giving her chills and causing her to brea th in too cold a air. Making the lungs or her breathing tube inflamed. Do you have an air filter? That you might have to use for her. Something in the air might be causing her these trouble.
These are just some ideas. I hoped I helped. And did not worry you.

Take care
Vicki W.

First, I can't believe a Dr. would give such a small baby vick's vapor rub! That one thing would make me question him, enough so that I would be hunting another Dr. My son, which is now 33, had something similar when he was 11 mo. old and it was asthma, so I think I would have him check for that or like I said I would find another Dr. if it didn't clear up in a couple of weeks, if you are doing everything he told you to.

Hope she gets well soon. J.

Unfortunately, her congestion could stay with her for 2-3 weeks---it takes little children much much longer to get over a cold (even a simple cold w/chest congestion). I learned the hard way! When my children get congested, I use Vick's vapor rub (as you have) and I would keep doing it at night, so she can breathe easier.

My son was kinda like that during the spring. So I bought some child's benadryl gave him very little, kinda just enough for him to taste it. He was breathing better after 2 days of it. I gave it to him for about 4 days just to make sure it didn't come back.

Breastfed or bottle fed? Cut wheat and dairy..mosty likely an intolerance to one of the above, they both cause an increase in mucus production. Spent many of days and nights at the dr or in the hospital with my son...until my grandmother told me no dairy and an acupunturist told me no wheat (noticable difference within a week)

maybe a humidifier, baby vicks, saline, warm bath(maybe hold her w/you in a warm shower to help break it up). Be careful w/the vicks. I wouldn't take her outside, especially if it is cold/windy, it could open her up too much and cause maybe pneumonia. the wheezes and thick congestion happens to my daughter almost everytime she gets a cold and these are some things that help. good luck

yes my baby has a stuffed nose and congestion my neighbor told me squeeze some orange juice very good and olive oil mix it and let them drink it it cleans out the throat i tried it yesterday and she threw up all the yellow stuff and water with salt put in her nose and it cleans it, its real hard cause there babys and is sad to hear them gong through that good luck.

If you're not getting much help with MDs you might try NDs, or naturopathic physicians. I had never heard of them until early this year, and have had good results for things that MDs can't or won't help. http://www.ncanp.com/

I guess the dr would have said if she had pnuemonia.
You are going to find that she probably has asthma. My little boy did that when he was little. Sounds exactly like how it started for us. I think that he is too young to take all the tests but if it continues, they will do the tests on her one of these days. That is what we did and it turned out to be asthma. Make sure you don't have animals in the house, and you keep it dusted and vacuumed every day... that helps. Get a humidifier and keep it going in her room ALL the time, even in the day when she is not in there. Any kind of moisture is good for that, like let her sit in the bathtub and play alot or if you go to a place like the Y, the swimming is good for that. (I know she is too young to swim but to put her in the pool with you and play around is good for that..... not until she gets well though.... this is only if she ends up with asthma.)
I had to keep my couch vacuumed and drapes and blinds, rugs and carpets and eventually had to get hardwood flooring, and all my furniture dusted constantly. No it wasn't fun but once you get it all done, it doesn't take long to go over stuff every day. The animals were a BIG set off for my son. We could go into a restaurant and eat and he would come home and be sick for 2 weeks because they allowed smoking in restaurants. I had a cat that I had to get rid of and eventually had to get rid of the couch and get a new one because it had the cat dander on it and he still continued to wheeze even after the cat was long gone.
I hope for your sake it isn't asthma and I hope you baby gets better. Try the humidifier, day and night.

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