27 answers

5 Year Old W/chronic Stuffy & Runny Nose

Hi moms! My 5 yr old son has had a stuffy nose for months now. I took him to the doc and found out he had an ear infection and he took a round of antibiotics but his nose is still stuffy & runny. The doc said to try Zyrtec - that did nothing. They did a blood test and told me he has a MILD allergy to milk and to try soy. UPDATE: I've switched my son to Rice milk and have cut out as much dairy as possible - I'm sure he gets traces of it through other foods though. And we've tried Nasonex and there is still no change. He's super congested. So now they want to do a CAT scan of his sinuses to see if it's a chronic sinus infection. I didn't think to ask what comes next if it is . . . anyone know if it's surgery or medications? I'm waiting to hear back from them. I just feel so bad that nothing has helped him breathe better for so long. :( Thanks everyone.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Soy milk is delicious -- and other dairy substitutes are, too :) Shop at Whole Foods for some good substitute items. When I eat vegan, I feel much healthier and happier!!

Hi L., My daughter had the same thing at the same age. It was a dairy allergy. I promise you it gets better. Eliminate what you can in the beginning. It gets easier. I strongly suggest the probiotics from HomeFirst. They are amazing. The doctors there will also help you through this. I will add that because she felt so lousy before we knew it was all dairy she struggled to learn in the 1st grade & then it took quite awhile to catch up to her peers. Learn as much as you can about replacing dairy items in her diet, you will see a new kid soon. Then as she gets older you can reintroduce & she will "get it" on her own when she eats that she feels badly. Good luck & in good health.

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Colds don't last that long, but allergies do. My daughter was sensitive to dairy before turning 2 so she was on soy and we found other things like soy yogurt and stuff. However, I myself have a sensitivity to dairy, but it varies depending on the product. For example there is no way i can eat sour cream, but yogurt and cottage cheese is fine. Different cheeses affect me differently too. Cheddar is better than mozzerella. I would play around with it. The milk is the worst for me so that would be the first thing I would change. Silk has very very vanilla soy milk kids fortified. I love it and my daughter loves it too. He may reject it at first but eventually he will get used to it. Ice cream is another bad culprit. We do sherbert, I think there is a little dairy in there but it is little enough where it didn't bother us. Play around see what is okay and what isn't. Good Luck

I've had allergies for most of my life and have passed it on to my two daughters. What you're describing is full out allergies in my experience. You need to go to a specialist - I have found that regular pediatrician's do not know what the heck they are talking about when it comes to allergies.

For instance when we take my girls to a pediatrician if they are having a full out allergy attack - heavy cold and sometimes bronchitis symptoms - they do not do much to help them. But if I take them to their pediatric allergist she gives them a full list of non-med treatment ideas PLUS she gives them the proper meds to loosen up or dry up the gunk in their chest and nose dependent on what they need.

My children all under went scratch testing - it's really not that big of a deal. One hour in the office and he's going to cry during the process. But it's quick and done. The results will tell you what dozens of allergies he might have. The allergist will be able to then tell you various ways to treat the allergies. Simply put - I highly recommend this. Why would you want your child to suffer any longer?

Here's my pediatric allergist's contact information - Dr. Nirmala Arora ###-###-####. She's absolutely wonderful and my children and I have both been seeing her for the last ten years. PLEASE TAKE HIM!

Take care,


My daughter is on a casien- (dairy) free diet. One of the big bummers is no cheese, yogurt or ice cream. Fortunately there are dozens of rice and almond substitutes out there if your kiddo won't eat soy-based products. Rice milk, Rice Dream (ice cream faux - love it better than the real stuff!), coconut milk yogurt, et cetera. It's a bit pricey, so I can't really afford to buy it for the whole household to eat. How much can a 38-pound human put away, though?

Good luck!

My sister has suffered with chronic sinus infections/concerns for decades. Last year, she altered her diet and eliminated dairy (she was a dairy/yogurt/cheese - a - holic!) , however she made modifications so that she was still getting ample amount of calcium, protein, etc... She has had amazing results! This doesn't mean that your son must always stay on this diet. By eliminating these foods for about 4 weeks, then re-introducing them, you just may (or may not) discover if dairy is his catalyst. Good luck.

It sounds like 5 year molars. that could be why he is chewing on everything? Zyrtec didnt work for my children either but the claritin did and during the real bad months we use singular.

Hi L., My daughter had the same thing at the same age. It was a dairy allergy. I promise you it gets better. Eliminate what you can in the beginning. It gets easier. I strongly suggest the probiotics from HomeFirst. They are amazing. The doctors there will also help you through this. I will add that because she felt so lousy before we knew it was all dairy she struggled to learn in the 1st grade & then it took quite awhile to catch up to her peers. Learn as much as you can about replacing dairy items in her diet, you will see a new kid soon. Then as she gets older you can reintroduce & she will "get it" on her own when she eats that she feels badly. Good luck & in good health.

Hi L.,

I can relate, my 6 year old son started with a sore throat that went away in a few days and a week later he started coughing, which turned into bronchitis, and three days after he was on antibiotics he developed an earache. The doctor changed the antibiotic and he seemed better but a week later the earache came back. The doctor said he had fluid in both ears and the bronchitis was still lingering. The eaustachian tubes were apparentlt swollen and the fluid from the middle ear did not drain. The covering Dr. over the weekend gave him a shot, cough medicine, a new antibiotic and some type of steroid ( I did not give him anything other than the antibiotic from this arsenal. I caled his regular pediatrician after four days because he was still complaining of an ear ache. He STOPPED all antibiotics and had me star givivng him the sugar Xylitol ( I get it at Fruiful Yield, Whole Foods carries it as well) I gave him 1 teaspoon three times and day and I found at the Fruitful Yield also Xclear a saline nasal spray with Xylitol as well I used it 2-3 times a day. This cost me $15-$16 as opposed to the over $200 in meds I paid for three different antibiotics that did not work on the ear. It took bout 3-4 days to see he was feeling better and he did not complain of earache. You can google Xylitol and Xclear it is very informative reading.


YOUR SON COULD ALSO HAVE ADENOIDS, DOES HE SNORE? YOU MAY BE SMART TO TAKE HIM TO AN ENT AS WELL. My pediatrician ( the 19 year old still goes to see him)does nto believe in exposing little people to the drugs unless absolutely necesaary, beacsue when they need them as they get older they will become immune to them, so he takes the simple approach first and then the drug route.

I hope this helps you to at least to start researching a little, I know it is difficult with the other two kids, but some of the stuff above can actually work for thim if you start now.

PS Xylitol is a naturally occuring sugar and you can change it out for the regular sugar you use. I did, it is healthy and even diabetics use it. Chew Trident gum it has it too. Itwont cause cavities and the kids do not act up as much when they are sugared up.

IF YOU PREFER GO TO THE WEBSITE www.liferising.com, My friend referred me, she goes with allthree of her kids, 10, 7 and 4. They were all on inhalers and constantly sick. She took them to him and he got their immune systems up and theya re doing great. he helped me tremendously I was doing terribly for 3-4 years and he got me to atrt feeling like my old self in 1 month. You do have follow his instructions carefully. Dr. Guo is a reg dr, pharmacist, herbal master and also an oncologist. He has 3 offices, you are probably closest to the Westmont. If you chose him, as specifically for him when you make the appointment. You need to know this is not covered by the insurance. But if He helps then the cost is less than years of co-pays at specialists and pediatricians offices.

Hi L.! I have gone through that on a off with my kids. Once with my oldest son, I even went for a nasal cavity x-ray. It turned out fine! I feel that sometimes docs, when they don't know exactly what the prob is, say it's allergies! It's easy for them to fall back on. I think I read somewhere that everyone probably has a mild allergy to some things. With my kids, I usually just let them go through it! As long as they're not miserable, or they don't have a fever. If it is a mild milk allergy, and only mild, let them build an immunity for it! That's essesionally what allergy shots are for! I read an article about how in the late 1800's early 1900's no one really had allergies. They were always working in the fields and stuff like that, so there bodies adjusted and grew immune to the allergins. I think it makes our kids stronger, and my kids are very rarely sick now! Good Luck

Hi L.,

I found a book called IS THIS YOUR CHILD by Doris Rapp, MD very helpful when people tell me their children have allergies. It is about Discovering and Treating Unrecognized Allergies in Children and Adults. It was published in 1991, and covers just about everything you can think of. I listened to a CD recently where a mom with adult children related how no one had children with more health problems than hers and she was a nurse at the Mayo Clinic. She had a child with asthma and was told by Dr. Shaklee that if she eliminated dairy, white flour and white sugar and put her child on certain supplements, she would have a new child within 9 months. She thought it was insane, but she did it. Her child never had another asthma attack, and it's probably been 30 years. If someone is allergic to something and they keep having it, there's a war raging inside. It's important to determine what's going on, eliminate the allergy triggers if there are any, and build up the immune system.

We just went through the whole allergy testing thing...I am a little skeptical with the food allergy stuff. They told us our almost 3 year old is allergic to chicken, pork, milk (which she drinks by the gallon), cerely, onion...the list goes on...After doing some reading about food allergy testing..they said it is rarely done correctly...should only test after an allergic episode. Needless to say, we still eat all those things.

As for the nose thing..we have found that singular works best for 2 of our kids, who have environmental allergies. Good luck...my one year old has had a runny nose since birth...we are on our 4th round of antibiotics and the ENT is in our future.

Try Rice Milk if he won't drink soy. It's a little sweeter in taste. My son has a milk allergy and won't drink soy, but he will drink Rice Milk. His pediatrician had us add a little corn syrup for awhile because he needed to gain some weight and that was a way to add some calories to it.

I am going through something very similar with my 6 year old. Last year he was congested (and mean severly congested) from Sept. - June. Nothing worked doctors gave him 3 different types of antibiotics, Zyrtec and nothing changed. He was sent to the allergist and after more than 30 needles they determined he is not allergic to anything. Then they sent my baby to get a CAT scan and found that everything was fine. Not knowing what to do anymore I took my boy to the chiropractor and after a few adjustments his condition did start to get better......however I don't know if it is due to the adjustments or just the fact that summer was at hand and the weather changed. We only went to the chiropractor for a month....and now...here we are in Sept. and my son woke up this morning very congested. I am dreading another year of this!!! Let me know if you get any results we can try!

I used to sing. One of the standing instructions was for all the singers to avoid dairy before a concert. As I remember it, something about dairy creates nasal congestion. I always breathed easier and sounded better when following these instructions.

I'd suggest going with the doctor's suggestion and see if it works.

My daughter is allergic to the proteins in dairy (not the lactose sugar) so she can't have any milk... She has always had vanilla soy milk or vanilla rice milk, as well as fruit soy yogurt, and loves them. The rice milk doesn't have the protein, but it does cover the calcium and she can get the protein in other places. I'd suggest experimenting. Many products taste really good. She also likes soy ice cream. However, we have yet to find a soy cheese that any of us like.

My son who is now 8 had the same thing. It unfortunately got worse as he got older and now has chronic sinus infections and runny nose. I finally took him to an allergist where he was tested for all the allergens and turned up to be allergic to trees, grass, pollen, dust and cats. I would suggest a full allergy work up to see exactly what it is he's reacting to. The milk may be a component but it may just be causing more mucus as milk and wheat will do that, especially if you have other allergies.
I have used Chinese herbs to help with the symptons. Perhaps you could consult with a reputable herbalist as well after getting the proper diagnosis. I personally don't like putting drugs into my kids unless absolutely necessary.
Children usually outgrow allergies but it can cause a lot of suffering in the meantime. Good luck.

It's a really challenging Fall. I'm in Chicago and after a very bad virus in Sept that knocked me out of whack for weeks, I recently developed one of those scabby sinus things that I am now starting to battle with fervor.
So the weather is a factor, so is the mold this time of year. But there are other things, like the cleaning products you are using, which are contributing to the problem. I don't use any toxic chemicals to clean my house, after raising my firstborn with severe asthma & allergies. He went to allergists his whole life and was allergic to tons of stuff, not a lot of food, just everything else and it all triggered his asthma. The thing that angers me the most about all the money I spent is that I never had any doctor (not ped, allergist, ENT) suggest to me that the cleaning products in my home were exacerbating their problems.
When I did convert to safer products; the runny nose syndrome went away, along with frequent use of the episode inhaler. The dry skin and exzyema (SP?) also cleared up.

I stopped using store brands about 8 years ago, when I had my 2nd batch of kids. They rarely have these problems and my ped is always telling me I have the healthiest kids in their practice. I just tell them it's because they don't have all those chemicals in their house wearing down their immune system.

If you'd like to learn more about it, you can see some more statistics here: http://www.saferisbetter.com/jdh

I also have some articles about it, but I'm not at the pc where I could forward them to you. If you'd like to do an inventory... I can let you know what products I definitely have found to be huge irritants. Get anything away from your kids that contains bleach, lysol, quaternium-15. Please don't use air freshener sprays, they are toxic, ever read the labels?

Don't fear! There are effective alternatives that are better. I wish I had half the money I spent on doctors and meds raising my first 2 kids... when all I needed to do was get these kinds of things out of the house. When I think about all the anxiety I went through working fulltime with sick kids... such a simple switch absolutely changed our lives!
Good luck! The freeze we got last night should go a long way to eliminating the mold outside... but inside, that'll be up to you to fix! Warmly, J.

My 3 year old son we found out had 12 undiagnosed food allergies - even after going to an allergist - who only tested him for two (just happened to be two he DIDN'T have).

We took him to an NAET specialist - its an allergy elimination technique that not only tests (through the parents if a kid) for MANY MANY more possibile allergens - my son tested 90 different food - but then ELIMINATES it. It is pretty amazing.

My son would always get a runny nose - and then if his immune system was low, it would turn into an asthmatic reaction.

Since he has gotten rid of many different allergies - including corn, wheat, gluten, yeast, corn, sugars, food preservatives and coloring - he doesn't even need to be on allergy meds or the nebulizer anymore.

go to naet.com to find a practitioner in your area. We go to Dr. Tam in Lombard - he is fabulous.

What a blessing to have more flexibility with your diet and to help eliminate symptoms like chronic runny nose, etc.

Good luck!

My daughter had a stuffy nose too. We tried a couple over the counter allergy pills including an equaline version of claritin and then claritin chewables. Nothing worked. we finally went to the Dr. and she suggested to get a bottle of saline and gave us a bottle of nasonex(which is a prescription). So use the saline and first, have your child squirt saline into each nostril and then take a couple of little sniffs in. The Dr. called them bunny sniffs. Then wait a few minutes and have your child blow out as much as he possibly can. After that use the nasonex(if you can get some). In a day my daughter fel so much better. I hope this helps.


Okay, I know this is going to sound crazy, BUT there is a treatment out there called NAET. It is a natural method to ELIMINATING allergies. not just treating them, but actually eliminating them. It sounds so far fetched but I have a 14 month old who has a severe allergy to milk and a moderate allergy to peanuts and we have an appointment with a NAET specialist in Feb. If you want to read more about it, there are books on it but if you want to start, there are a couple of websites to check out. http://www.allergyescape.com/allergy-relief.html
this was where I heard about it. I checked snopes and they have nothing on it. I have done research on trying to find whether or not this is a hoax and could find NOTHING to say it didn't work. EVERRYTHING says it is successful. the offical website is www.naet.com
it sounds crazy but I am praying that it will work for my family as well as yours. good luck!
K. :)

My 5 year old daughter has a milk allergy as well as many others; she does not consume ANY dairy products or any foods containing them. We have substituted soy/rice milk products, and she loves them. She has been enjoying these alternatives since she was two. You may believe that your son will not transition to these alternatives, but if you tell him that his chronic runny nose will stop running, he may be willing to try.

Also, you could also keep consuming the dairy and put up with constant nasal congestion - it's not life threatening.

There are all kinds of diary substitutes, and many kids will accept them if they are introduced not as substitutes but just as what is beings served that day. There are rice milk products, soy yogurt/milk/cheese. Even goat's milk yogurt might not induce the same allergies. Be creative and be positive. Don't present it like a necessary evil (kids pick up on these things), but be upbeat about the yummy food being offered. And kids don't need nearly as much milk and dairy as they usually get. Vitamin D and calcium are now supplemented in OJ, cereal etc. (Not to mention being in veggies like spinach, which can be sneaked into sauces and sandwiches if you do it right!)

don't be so sure about soy milk. it tastes like vanilla ice cream, melted. my kids loved it when i introduced it to them. it is all in the presentation.

I love that book that Judy recommended, it is a must on every parent's bookshelf. Her website is www.drrapp.com

Dairy is why your child is chronicly congested. Dairy builds more mucous in the sinus cavity and the digestive system. Ear infections or at least chronic ones is another sign of dairy allergies. The same molecule in dairy is in the mucous in our bodies. Also since he has had a round of anti-biotics, his immune system is now more broken down, it kills the good stuff making our digestive system (where 80% of our immune system is) more weak. So you need to replenish it with probiotics. I give them to my daughter daily at night before bed when the immune system is working the most, she can lick a cold in 1-2 days. Renew Life has excellent products and not all probiotics are created equal and have fillers in them. There is no such thing as a chronic cold. Digestive Wellness for Children is another great read if you want to search further. Soy milk is not for boys anyways or young girls. Give rice milk a try. Much better and easy to digest.

Some other key signs of dairy allergies: Is he going to bathroom at least once a day or is he constipated? Gassy? Does he have dark circles under his eyes? Skin rashes such as eczema anytime in his life? Does he wake up in the morning the most congested? Those are just a few.

Another thing, doctors are not well versed when it comes to nutrition and how it effects the body. They get one course in nutrition and it is an elective/optional course (some schools have just recently changed, but most docs have not had a nutrition course)...you can see a pediatric allergist who specializes in food allergies, however it is always the foods we love the most is what we are intolerant too.

Good luck and let me know if you have any more questions.

Wellness Educator/Lifestyle and Wellness Consultant

Have you ever had his adnoids checked? They could be enlarged which could create frequent(constant) congestion etc. My son (3) is congested more days than not...since birth....and our pediatrician said that for some kids the adnoids are enlarged....but that they decrease in size as the child ages. I am not sure what age everything "should" be in proportion. You could take him to an ear/nose/throat specialist. Good luck.

I would get your son tested for food allergies. There is a blood test to tell if he is allergic to the common food allergens.We had my son's test at Quest on Hammes in Joliet and he did'nt even get upset.My son is on Zyrtec evevry day for seasonal allergies and it helps only if it is taken everyday. It has helped his behavior also :)

Soy milk is delicious -- and other dairy substitutes are, too :) Shop at Whole Foods for some good substitute items. When I eat vegan, I feel much healthier and happier!!

Hi L.,
Products from cows milk cause your body to produce more mucas. As a result, many people get stuffy noses & a cough. It's not a cold. You can try to replace cow dairy products with goat & sheep dairy products. They make some great hard cheeses & yogurt from goat & sheeps milk. The best place to find them are at Whole Foods. You can try adding a little chocolate to the soy milk to help him get used to the taste. You can also buy lactose free milk. Try these alternatives & don't give him any cow dairy products for a couple of weeks & see if his symptoms go away.

this may sound strange but do you use household cleaners that arent eco friendly? you would be amazed at the amount of toxins in household products and it effects children much more so that adults. Especially those kids who put things in their mouths constantly. My daughter had the same symptoms and once we stopped using these cleaners they went away. If you'd like more info. on this or a way to get better products for your home at reasonable prices let me know. ____@____.com good luck

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