30 answers

Child Sick with One Cold After Another

I am actually asking advice for my sister. My sister's son who is 7 months has had a terrible cold, if that is all it is, one after the other since October. He has been to the doctor several times and my sister and her husband are always told there is not much they can do and that he is "stacking colds." I only see them about once a month because we live in different cities but it just seems his breathing and coughing are so miserable for him. She has said his breathing hasn't sounded like a bear growling since probably October. They have tried humidifier, sitting in bathroom with steam, Vicks among other things. Luckily he is eating fine and for the most part sleeping ok. He is only breastfed, no formula with also jar food. I know breastfeeding is the best for him but could it not be if she seems to be sick quite a bit too. Any good advice??? My son is a very healthy little guy so I can't help her much and even though I am a nurse I don't work with children!

What can I do next?

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It sounds to me like the little guy could benefit from a chiropractor visit. If you are in a city there are some that specialize in children, but almost all will work with children.

Being properly aligned would allow his system to drain and fight the colds better.

When my first little one was having a series of colds and ear infections they cleared up in 20 minutes of the chiropractor visit.

Could it be allergies instead of colds? Does he go to day care, if so, he may be exposed to one after another until he has his immune system up to par. Does the parents smoke or the babysitter? This will cause kids to seem to have a lot more colds but it actually is an allergric reaction to second hand smoke.

She should be using a suction on his nose to help him breath easier and give him water or watered down juice along with breastfeeding or formula to help thin out the mucus. I use to keep a big pot of water on the stove to give it a warm humidity instead of the cool air humidifiers when the kids had colds. Other then that, without being able to use decongestants and vick, there really isn't a lot you can do other then keep them comfortable and well hydrated and second hand smoke free

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When I first read you question, my first thought and my only thought is. your nephew has allergies. Ask your doctor to do a simple blood test to see. Also, have you tried running an air purifier in the house? Because we all basically shut our home up during the winter, we also shut up the allergents from the past year in our homes and we keep breathing in same stuff all of the time. Until your sister find out what making her daughter this way, try using it.

Hi A.
My first two children seemed to be sick so much also. Now my 3rd child has been using a product called Reliv since he was 3 months old. This has built up his immune system and we have never taken him to the Dr. for a sick visit. With 3 children and not having the flu in our house now for 3 years is amazing to me.
You or your sister can contact me if you would like to learn more about Reliv and how you can get it for free :)

Keep in mind the normal number of colds for infants is 10/year. The length of them may be more of the problem than the number for you sister's children.

My nephew had the same problem when he was a baby. After several months they realized it was from his mom cleaning his toys with bleach. She is a germ freak and thought the bleach was a good thing. Bleach, as well as other cleaners, are poisonous and okay only when used in small doses. I don't know if this is what is going on with your nephew, but it doesn't hurt to check it out.
Good luck!

Get him to the CHIROPRACTOR!!!

Whenever our kids start coming down with something we get them adjusted and they tend to get over it with a day or two. On the times that we've procrastinated and didn't want to leave the warm house to go in the freezing weather, their systoms will last a week and then we break down and take them in to the chiropractor and are better within a day or two.....

We've taken our kids to the chiropractor for ear infections (doctor diagnosed--but we refused antibiotics), colds, sore throats, trouble sleeping, etc. Pretty much EVERY time we think somethings up with the kids. And you would not believe the difference!!!

They have been able to help us EVERY TIME!!! Have her give it a try. It's quick, easy, and realatively unexpensive. Find a chiropractor that takes extra training in infants and kids.

Could it be allergies instead of colds? Does he go to day care, if so, he may be exposed to one after another until he has his immune system up to par. Does the parents smoke or the babysitter? This will cause kids to seem to have a lot more colds but it actually is an allergric reaction to second hand smoke.

She should be using a suction on his nose to help him breath easier and give him water or watered down juice along with breastfeeding or formula to help thin out the mucus. I use to keep a big pot of water on the stove to give it a warm humidity instead of the cool air humidifiers when the kids had colds. Other then that, without being able to use decongestants and vick, there really isn't a lot you can do other then keep them comfortable and well hydrated and second hand smoke free

A., My son and I started taking a supplement called OPC-3. I ALWAYS get sick if someone in the house gets sick. However when my daughter and her father got sick 2 twice, my son and I did not get sick. All I could think was wow I'm not sick! I have now been giving it to my daugher as well. A good friend of mine told me about it. She has her baby girl on it. She is against vaccinations and gives her 6 month old opc daily to build her immune system. I have been so impressed with how well I am feeling I became a business partner. I suffered from extreem migranes and light-headedness and feeling overall mentally drained for years. Best I have felt in 8 years!
Send me a message if you would like to know more.

If he is in daycare he could be "stacking colds," especially if one of the viruses was RSV, which can linger for months. However, I have one child with asthma and one with "reactive airways" and they both started like your nephew. He's a little young for an official asthma diagnosis, but have they discussed that possibility or RAD? Asthma-like symptoms usually get worse at night though so if he's sleeping o.k. he might just be getting one virus after another. Even if he is just having colds an albuterol neb treatment plan might help. If her current doctor isn't giving them satisfactory answers I would try another opinion and maybe even take him to a pediatric pulmonologist. Breastfeeding is best for him, even if she is sick too. Good luck to your sister! I know how frustrating it is to have a coughing baby.

I agree with the earlier post about seeing an ENT. You didn't mention if her son is also having ear infections with the colds, but that may be a good likelihood. My daughter had one ear infection after another when she was about 8 months on. Within a week of being off antibiotics, she would get another ear infection. After about 3 months, we took her to an ENT and had tubes put in her ears and that put an end to the infections.


Take him to an allergist. Most doctors will tell you that children will not develop allergies until age 2, but my son did. We fought until he was 2 1/2 to get him into an allergist and he has several environmental allergies. If I would have pushed harder, we would have had a much easier time as a baby. Also look into asthma. It is hard to diagnose when they are so young, but the breathing problems sounds like asthma. He may not even had an attack, but the narrowing in the passageways is still asthma and can be treated. Tell her to fight for what she believes. If she believes that he's sick too much, keep taking him and asking for specialists. She needs to fight for him. I should have fought harder, but my son is 8 now and is pretty healthy despite his allergies.

I recommend your sister have your nephew consult with an Otolaryngologist (ENT). The following is a link to common ear, nose and throat issues in children: http://www.pediatric-ent.com/learning/problems.htm.

Good luck.

I have two under two. My youngest who is now 13 months was sick almost since the day she came home from the hospital. She and my oldest would then pass a cold back and forth all the time. Then, when they got colds...they would get an ear infection. This went on for a year finally resulting in tubes for my youngest. I was so frustrated since I was at the MD office more than once a month. It seemed ridiculous that they couldn't stop this cycle but...they were viruses and there isn't much you can do. We even go to the point where they ran a bunch of panels and one checked for immune issues. Everything came back normal. Throughout, our pediatrician kept reassuring me that some kids are just like this until they grow out of it around one or so. Right around the time we had to get tubes...she grew out of it and they haven't been sick since. I know this isn't good news but he may just have to grow out of it.

Have they thought about trying chiropractic? Chiropractic adjustments can help boost immunity. The child may have vertebra out of place from birth trauma or sustained positioning before birth. You can find a chiropractor good chiropractor in your area at www.icpa4kids.com Could it also be possible that the baby has allergies?

Hi A.,

I just wanted to warn you and anyone else who reads this:

I googled Vicks Vaporub and babies online and got a bunch of websites telling how reasearch shows it is bad on young children.

Here's what one said:
Dr. Bruce Rubin, the lead author of a study on the ointment, from the department of pediatrics at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, in Winston Salem, N.C., and his colleagues became interested in the effects of Vicks VapoRub on young children when they cared for an 18-month-old girl who developed severe respiratory distress after the salve was put directly under her nose.

Procter & Gamble's product label warns it is not indicated for children under two. But Rubin said some parents may still choose to use it for a sick child, usually by rubbing the salve on the feet or chest.

"The ingredients in Vicks can be irritants, causing the body to produce more mucus to protect the airway," said Rubin.

"Infants and young children have airways that are much narrower than those of adults, so any increase in mucus or inflammation can narrow them more severely."

"Some of the ingredients in Vicks, notably the menthol, trick the brain into thinking that it is easier to breathe by triggering a cold sensation, which is processed as indicating more airflow," he said. "Vicks may make you feel better but it can't help you breathe better."

"This may be of little physiologic consequence in older children and adults, but in infants and small children, this potentially can lead to respiratory distress," the study's authors concluded. "

By chance do they live in an older house that may have mold or other environmental "toxic" build up? They could be keeping the house perfectly clean, but some of the stuff is "deep" in walls etc. It's a long shot, but I know my co-worker's daughter was sick "all the time" including several rounds of pneumonia. Turns out they were using an old mattress (it was hers and her moms at a minimum before giving it to her daughter)--they had a new cover, etc. But she was moving furniture one day and it occurred to her how old that mattress really was (she was guessing at a minimum 40+ years) so who knows who much "junk" was in it--they bought a new mattress and this is the first time in 5 years her daughter has been healthy and pneumonia free for the winter! I also recently saw one of those "medical mystery" shows where a woman had cold and respiratory symptoms that wouldn't go away and gradually got worse--eventually they figured out that there was mold in a shared wall from a water main break in the duplex next door--she was resting on a couch right next to that wall. 3rd example, a child I was treating had a constant runny nose and some mild/funky behavior issues; mom moved "into town (from out in the country, old family farmhouse) and his nose cleared up! Now every time he comes back from visiting his dad (in the old house) he comes back stuffed up and with behavioral issues that were common when they lived there and are fine in town. Like I said--it's a long shot, but certainly worth pursuing if they come don't come up with something else. I think we underestimate the cumulative effects of environmental buildup of toxins. Last example--my mom is a "clean freak" (not a germ freak, just cleans a lot)--had several years in a row especially in the winter where she would get pneumonia and/or bronchitis. She stopped using as many chemicals, stopped using the fireplace, and stopped having her glass or 2 of wine every night--she's been much healthier! (I think it was the combo of all 3 in her case, but who knows, who cares--no more pneumonia!) Okay, enough examples, b/c I can think of many. Good Luck!

I do not know about colds. Our first had several ear infections and ended up with tubes. I can tell you that if you take a child in with in the first 4 days the doctor will call it a cold. If you take a child in after 5 or 6 days a doctor is more likely to call it an infection. I can also say that if your sister is sick then her child will be sick. I do not know why it works that way, but it dose. I can also tell you that brestfeeding has nothing to do with that.

hope this helps

It sounds to me like the little guy could benefit from a chiropractor visit. If you are in a city there are some that specialize in children, but almost all will work with children.

Being properly aligned would allow his system to drain and fight the colds better.

When my first little one was having a series of colds and ear infections they cleared up in 20 minutes of the chiropractor visit.

From the time my son was 4 months old it was one cold/ear infection after another. At 8 months old he broke out in a rash and in those four months he had also had bronchitis and eczema. I looked up an allergist- he was tested for everything, it turned out he was allergic to apples, wheat, rye and barley. The apple juice from four months on gave him his colds and the wheat(8 mo. rash) usually gave him hives.

Our daughter seemed to be sick with one cold after another last winter. She was 3-9 months old during that time. We had colds, pneumonia twice, and 2 ear infections. She was exclusively breastfed too. We had her on antibiotics for the pneumonia and ear infections, but unfortunately you can't do anything for the colds except what your sister has been doing. Just be sure to watch that it doesn't turn into pneumonia and watch for ear infections. For little ones it is easy for a cold to spread into the ears and lungs. I didn't think we would ever get over being sick, but this winter we have only had a couple of small colds. I had lots of friends with kids tell me that until your baby builds up the immunities, they will have lots of colds. Several of them felt it was better to have it now than later when the kids were in school. It will get better!

If this were my kid, it'd be time to see a new healthcare provider or even a new clinic/hospital. I wonder about asthma or an environmental allergy? I'm not convinced it's a harmless cold, and to be "stacking" colds for 5 months is *not* normal, anyway. Even a food allergy or sensitivity could be causing this.

It's time do some investigating on the child's environment: Is he around animals? Does he go to daycare? Does he live in an older home?

Since the mother is breastfeeding, she may want to try an elimination diet to rule out a food allergy/sensitivity. There are different ways to go about elimination diets, but the main food allergens are dairy, soy, wheat, eggs, and gluten, and yes, if the allergy is severe enough, they can respiratory symptoms, especially dairy.

Breastfeeding is definitely best, even if the mother is sick. The child would have been exposed to the illness before she even started showing signs of being ill, and he benefits from her breastmilk because she passes her antibodies from the virus on to him. In that way, it helps him fight off the cold himself. When I was breastfeeding, there were many instances where I would get a cold, and my baby would never catch it, probably because she already had the antibodies to the virus.

Does asthma run in your family or your sisters husbands family? Even if it doesn't, it does not mean that her son couldn't have asthma because it is something that anyone can develope at any age but if it runs in the family, a persons chance of having it increases quite a bit. Asthma runs in my family. My brother has it as did my Grandfather, and at a later age (25), I developed asthma myself. Both my children and two of my brothers children have it (along with allergies as they often run hand in hand).

When my son was small he suffered long term, seemingly non-ending colds, terrible runny noses, chronic cough, and constant back-to-back ear infections. It was all because he had asthma. Asthma, especially when untreated, lowers the immune system causing the person to be chronically ill. My son is now 17 (in 2 days) and when he was small it was believed that a child under the age of 5 couldn't have asthma....I spent two years and went to numerous doctors before one of them believe me that my son had it, in fact, the first thing she asked was if it ran in our family. I could have hugged her but cried instead because I was so relieved to know that my son would finally get the treatment he needed.

What the doctor told me then, and this is why other doctors didn't think my son had it (not just because of his young age) is because he has what is called 'cough induced asthma'....meaning that he doesn't often wheeze, but he will cough and cough and cough. When it isn't treated, ear infections set in because asthma triggers the body to create more mucus (hence the constant runny nose and chest congestion) and it would block his little ear cannals and cause an infection. When we went on vacation I had his ears checked and he was fine, everything was clear, not two days later we were in the ER because he had a high fever and a double ear infection so bad that his ear drums nearly burst. This is how quickly it can affect a person. The thing is, all he needed was to be treated with albuterol syrup (used as a cough medicine for children and adults, not just for asthma) and all this went away and he stopped getting sick. The cough stopped, the runny nose stopped, and most importantly, the ear infections stopped.

Your sister needs to find a pediatrician that specializes in asthma and allergies and take her son there to be looked at. Three years later when my daughter was born, she was 'officially' diagnosed with asthma at 9 months of age because we had a pediatrician who specialized in it. That doctor and the knowledge that my daughter had asthma is what saved my daughters life at age 13 months when she had a severe asthma attack after a prolonged illness. Please, please, please....tell her to find the pediatric specialist and waste no time in getting him in to be seen! Good luck to her....blessings....

She could also try/make sure she is getting her vitamins, along with enough Vitamin C which will power up her immune system naturally and transfer to the child.

I do know that breastfeeding is best, even if the mama is sick. :)

Hi A.,
He could have RSV which is a respiratory virus. My twins had a terible cold and their chests would rattle when they coughed. This lasted for several months until they spiked a temperature then low and behold they developed an ear infection. Went on antobotics and the cough cleared up. RSV is not contagious just coughs alot and sound terrible but there is nothing to do for it unless they develop an ear infection or other illness and need antibotics. Each year for the first 2-3 years they would always get RSV and a few times it cleared up on its own or went on antibotics. They are now 7 and seemed to outgrow it for the most part but I really make sure they have a coat on when its cool outside just in case. Hope this helps and hope your nephew stops coughing soon.

Hi there. I would have to agree with some of the other responses that it sounds like he may have allergies. My oldest son Noah has allergies as well. I have switched all of my cleaners and bath supplies and it has made a world of difference. I am a preferred customer with Melaleuca and it has changed my families life!! No more allergies!! I would be happy to talk to you about the changes I made.

I would have him checked for Asthma and allergies. I know some doctors say that kids that young cannot have allergies but I don't believe that. Also, I would have his tonsils and atnoids checked, it is possible that they are the issue.

No advice here, but it does seem to me that certain kids do seem just a lot sicker than others. My first was super-healthy--in 3 years of daycare, he was only out ONE day total. My second? Well, he caught everything big brother had, and by that time, big brother was exposed to everything...AND we'd moved across the country, so it seemed we were battling everything. I've heard also that 2nd and subsequent children are sicker? Or that the winter after baby is born, sibs are also sicker? Don't know any of the medical rationale for that, or if there is any, but as long as he's eating and otherwise healthy, it IS possible he's just a sick baby--the kids I knew who were sick babies did not stay that way at all--they all seemed to outgrow it!

A. -

He's probably ok. You could have written this about my 9 month old! He's had cold after cold with only a few days in between each round since early October. Our little one is eating, growing and reaching all milestones just fine.

He's been to the doctor many times - and twice he has had a sinus infection. Little ones catch everything that is out there - it's his first winter and you didn't say, but if he's in daycare, they catch everything!!!

We've done the humidifer and propped up our son's crib so he sleeps at a slight angle. These seem to help with his comfort level.

I've learned this year that if an individual cold lasts more than 10 days to go in - it's usually an infection at that point! However, if it's been less than 10 days and he's eating and sleeping well and pretty much acting like himself, he's probably fine! Next winter should be so much better!!


That poor little one and your sister. Great to hear you are reaching out for some info. All I can tell you is my sons used to deal with back-to-back illnesses, but not anymore. I became my own advocate and found a product which has transformed their health. The great thing is anyone can take these products (Pregnant, infant, 104 yrs old) because they are 100% safe. You have got to hear what has happened for Kristin, a mother of 6!
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