25 answers

Advise on 7 Year Old Coughing at Night

HI everyone,
I need some advice. My son goes to bed about 8pm. At some point almost every night (sometimes at midnight , sometimes 3am) he starts coughing….and coughing…and coughing. I will go check on him and have him get a drink of water, which does not help much, and then I will put some Vicks on his chest and tuck him back in. This is the only thing that has seemed to help with the coughing. He does not have a cold and I do run a humidifier in his room at night. Has anyone had this happen? And what can I do to help him so he doesn’t start coughing in the first place? Or to stop the coughing after it has begun? Any suggestions are welcome. Thanks!

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I give my daughter's a sippy cup with lemon and honey water. The honey coats their throat so they stop coughing. You could put his in a sports bottle.

He could have allergies and/or asthma. You should take him to his doctor and they might refer you to see an allergist.

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I give my daughter's a sippy cup with lemon and honey water. The honey coats their throat so they stop coughing. You could put his in a sports bottle.

My 10 year old daughter used to cough every night for about a year and a half. We went and got a full allergy work up. She does have some allergies, so after covering the bed and pillow with dust mite covers and taking Singulair every day, she hasn't coughed since.

Could it not be respiratory at all? Maybe it's reflux. I'd let your doctor know and have him checked out.

I am think allergies as well. My 7 yr old has allergies that have caused asthma. Check the humidifier, sometimes they tend to form mold in them, and he could be allergic to dust/mold. Check with the doctor, and possible get some allergy testing done.

Good luck.

The coughing could be related to cough variant asthma (especially if he also coughs after running around/playing) or acid reflux. If he has acid reflux, elevating the head of his bed might help some. You could try putting wooden blocks under the legs of his bed... Either way, it is probably a good idea to make an appointment with his peds for further evaluation.

He could have allergies and/or asthma. You should take him to his doctor and they might refer you to see an allergist.

I agree it could be allergies, however, it could also be post nasal drip (whether from cold or allergies). Has this just started now or has it always happened? That is one way to try to figure it out. Also, does he lay totally flat in bed? This could cause the post nasal drip to build up and then middle of the night the coughing starts. My son had this problem for 3 months after he had a very stuffed and runny nose. We got him extra pillows to lay against and the problem went away within a week or so. Now whenever he gets stuffy, he takes everyone's pillows. Has your son had a cold within the past month or so before the coughing started?

If he doesn't have a cold, I wouldn't use Vicks. In fact, I am personally allergic to the stuff. What has changed in his room? I probably would not run a humidifier in his room and just keep his room temperature cool. You could be adding some mold in his room. We turn down our heat to 65 but it doesn't have to be that cool. Drinking water is good. Trying to prop him up for a few nights may give you some idea if it is post-nasal drip and may help with the coughing. Yes it could be allergies in his room.

Has he ever been diagnosed with Asthma or has he had some bouts of bronchitis? Sometimes the only symptom of Asthma is night time coughing. I have asthma & allergies and it is under control. Definitely a cooler, dry room with a good amount of (easily washable) blankets at night helps me.

Good luck.

Yes, it could be the humidifier, we had that problem. It could be the Vicks. It could also be the laundry detergent you are using. Are you using a free and clear product or is it heavily scented? Lots of asthma attacks happen at night and studies have shown that it could be related to the fragrances and other additives in laundry detergent.

If he's allergic to dust mites, it would come out other places as well as bedding. The worst time for allergies for one of my kids is winter because of the dust mites (and pet dander on everyone's coats).

I would go through the list, but change one thing at a time and wait awhile so you can see what makes a difference. I would also write down what you change and your reaction so you can keep track. When you go to a dr. you will have all the information available.

Hi T.,

You've had a lot of responses stating allergies and asthma and I'm just throwing my two cents into that ring too. My third son coughed like that when he as about 4 and as soon as they got him on allergy and asthma meds, the coughing went away. I'd have him checked out.

SOunds like typical asthma. Especially the timing of the cough when the body is releasing its naturals lowest part. I would get him to the dr and tell him all these signs or an allergist who specializes in athma like Associated Asthma and Allergists. good luck

Our then 2 yr old now 3yr old went through something similar...we were told it was asthma...she was on albuteral, pulmacort, and singular. Helped for a while but returned. We were at the ENT for our 1yr old and he heard her cough and said that sounds like a bronchial infection. Gave her antibiotics and she has not coughed since. He said many children are misdiagnosed with asthma. FYI

when my older son was 5, we had this same problem. does he have a white line across the end of his nose? if so, he is pushing on it and most-likely has some type of allergy or even asthma. At the time I took my son for allergy testing, they did a chest x-ray and found out he had pneumonia too! I felt like a really dumb mom because he seemed fine, just the cough. he wasn't feverish or anything. so, on top of the pneumonia, they diagnosed him with dustmite allergies and asthma. he never did have any asthma issues and just takes some meds for allergies.

My daughter does this, it's annoying. She has post nasal drip, usually related to having a cold, or getting over one or one that never showed it's ugly head completely but still invaded the sinus cavity. Post nasal drip irritates the mucus tissues causing inflammation resulting in the irritated cough. It can be caused by colds, allergies. Here is what helped my child. Placing a cushion(pillow) under the mattress to elevate the head of the bed a little, loratidine(generic claritin) and guiafinasen(sp? also know in high price as robitussin or mucinex no need to spend the$$$$$$). We also had her drink more water during the day, with a cutoff of 630pm. It ended in 2 nights, but we kept the loratadine and elevation up daily. It has also eliminated her ear infections as the excess mucus drains better and doesn't collect bacteria in the ears.

Does your child have allergies? The same thing happened to my daughter. We knew she had allergies but had NO idea how badly she was allergic to the down comforter on her bed. Is there something in his bed possibly causing him to cough? Just a thought? We were also told to give little pieces of a cough drop or something to help produce saliva to slow/stop the coughing. Good luck!

I'd have to say it sure sounds like allergies to me, although I agree with the other posters who suggested it could also be asthma. I'd have him checked by a pediatric allergist or an Ear Nose Throat doctor.

He might have asthma. This could start as early as 5 yrs. old. I would check w/your ped. doc.

Grammy of a cute 2yr old boy.

Hi there. Have you cleaned the humidifier?
If you dont clean it often, over time bacteria and even mold can build up with all of that moist air.
If there is bacteria and mold and it is running, he is breathing that in and could be making him cough.
Clean that out and see if that helps!
Good luck!

My daughter's night time cough was due to a sinus infection. She was treated with antibiotics and it quickly resolved. We had been treating her for allergies without success.

I probably would take him to the Doc. just to rule out illness as the cause. One thing that may help him to sleep better is Triaminic Strips for cough/runny nose. It is basically benadryl which will help him sleep. Be careful to not pick the Triaminic for stuffy nose because this contains a decongestant. Are you using a cool mist vaporizer...this is what my peds recommended a long time ago vs. warm humidifier. You use cold water. He said the warm could make it worse. I have the cheap one from target(Kaz brand) you have to replace the filters occasionally and clean it out. It may be because it has been so dry in your home because of the heat, so the cool mist vaporizer will help. I put it in a position on the floor where it will directly hit him with cool air(you have to turn it around where the cold air is coming out). If it is a hard cough..try to loosen it with mucinex for kids during the day...they make it in little packets that are like sugar, that makes it easy to put in applesauce etc. I made the mistake of buying the liquid form and it tastes/smells horrible. It did work to loosen his cough. Good Luck! My son had a cough that lasted for a while and my peds gave me allergy medication to try, but I was apprehensive after reading the warnings/side effects. I decided not to give it to him and now the cough is gone after 2 weeks of just doing the mucinex and lots of water.

Sometimes the humidifier is the cause. See if removing it helps.

You could also get an air cleaner if you think it might be allergies. We got a really good one, it's a Honeywell with a permanent HEPA filter (meaning you don't have to go out and buy expensive filters) and that has helped my husband's asthma at night. It was about $125 at Target, cheaper on Amazon.com.

He could be allergic to dust mites in his bed. I'd get his allergies looked at before you go do anything. If he is allergic to dust mites a simple mattress and pillow cover will take care of that. You can also get a special solution to wash your sheets in. But check with the doc for allergies first so you don't waste money.

Hope he feels better soon!

Hi! My son had the same issues last year. Remove the humidifier from the room completely for a couple days and see if you notice a difference. This is what my sons ped recommended as sometimes the hunidifier can put TOO much moisture in the air which can actually make coughing worse. Vapor rub on the bottom of the feet with socks works well also. My son was diagnosed with a mild asthma last year and took meds via nebulizer twice a day. He is now growing out of it however it can come back at any time. Good luck!

Please make an appt. to have him checked for allergies and asthma. My youngest daughter did the same thing, and that is what was wrong with her. It definately sounds like that is what is going on to me. Good luck, and please don't let it go....if it is asthma it can be serious.


HI Tracy,
So basically its only at night huh, and it seems to be constant? I dont mean to alarm you , but last year when i was working in the E.R. we had alot of people come in with "whooping cough" both young and old alike... its something that generally happens at night time... obviously im not a dr. but i know enough to know that a trip to the dr. with your concerns would be the best plan of attack... if everything comes out normal then i suggest to get those adhesive cough suppressent patches and put it on your son at night time... im thinking robitussin makes em but i cant remember i just know when we used em on our sons they were a life saver. My youngest had seasonal allergies BAD and when he would go into a coughing fit those were a life saver or when our oldest had a bad cold so he would not cough so much in school then when he got home i would remove it so his body could have a break. HOpe this helps. Please dont take my word for anything and dont panic, its just my two cents... but a trip to the dr would answer the question for sure... It could just be viral which means it has to work itself out any way... have a great day.

Okay this is going to be the strangest thing you've heard but it works like a charm. Put vick's vapor rub on the bottom of his feet, put a layer on then put a pair of cotton socks on. It takes about 10 minutes for it to be affective but he will be able to sleep after that point. I also us Delsym cough syrup. I give it before they go to bed.

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