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Constantly Congested Toddler

Hello Moms, I really need your help. I have a 17 month old who constantly stays congested. During the day it doesn't seem to bother him, although I know he breaths out of his mouth alot. At night, well that's another story....he sounds so terrible, I'm constantly waking up checking on him to make sure he's ok. He has the hardest time breathing through his nose. He's currently getting over a cold so its more worse now than on an average day. I have tried everything. He has a humidifier in his room, an air purifier, a vick's vaporizer, I've given him saline drops in his nose, and now I'm at my wits end on how to help him. His Pediatrician suggested small doses of Benadryl. That's not helping either. Can anyone offer suggestions on ways to shorten if not get rid of his congestion all together.

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I wanted to suggest along with Emily to try Chiropractic care. My daughter is stuffed up a lot. We were told that she has a sensitive nose and to treat it like it was an allergy. We tried several different medicines for her but nothing worked. When I started taking her to a chiropractor, the first thing I noticed was she wasn't getting stuffed up near as much. And when she does, it doesn't last as long. We are still taking her because it seems to be the only thing that makes a difference.

Hope this helps.

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Did you try taking him to see a specialist...like a ear,nose, and throat doctor or an allergy/asthma specialist. Sounds to me like he needs to see someone right away. He shouldn't have to suffer every night. And you shouldn't have to worry every night if he is okay.

K.

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My son was like this from the day he was born until he had his adenoids removed. He was a new kid after that! Good luck!

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Hi C.,
I had the same problem with my daughter, starting at age 3. She sounded the same, never breathed thru her mouth and at night would have episodes where it sounded like she would 'skip a breath' and wake up gasping for air. Although I agree with allergies having a part in his health, I feel that I must press the issue with the other responses to take your son to an ENT (we also saw Dr. Haupert-wonderful with children!). I was amazed at what symptoms enlarged tonsils/adenoids could cause. When swollen they can block nasal passages and since your son is so young he doesn't have too much room in his head anyway so any enlargement will have some effect. My daughter was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and xrays showed her adenoids and tonsils were only allowing a fraction of airway in her throat when lying down and that they had gotten in the way of all sinus/nasal passages. We had them all removed and the difference has been unbelievable. I highly recommend at least getting an appt. to check tonsils/adenoids then I would concentrate on an allergist. Good luck!

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I would start with completely taking DAIRY out of his diet. It is very often the culprit with upper respiratory issues. NO milk, cheese, yogurt. Give him LOTS of water. Try it for a couple of weeks or so and see if it improves. I would stay away from the Benedryl, as that will only tke away some of the symptoms at best. There is a great group in Grosse Pointe who detect and get rid of allergies...naturally. go to www.ahccenter.com
I would love to know what happens. Good luck!

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Here's some thoughts: Encourage him to sleep on his back so you can elevate the head of his mattress by putting towels or something under it. I've also heard that putting Vick Vapor Rub on his feet (with loose socks) helps. Put him in the bathroom for a steam treatment (read to him while the shower is pushing out a hot blast of steam).

Another thought is to press your pediatrician - is it allergies? Do you have pets? If he allergic to something he sleeps with (pillow, stuffed animal, etc.) If so, get a referral to an allergist so you can find the triggers.

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The first that I would suggest to to take all dairy out of the diet for at least 2-3 weeks. Completely. I have seen too many kids that are so congested all due to a milk allergy. If you currently don't do any diary, you should try a homeopathic dr. I can recommend a great one. There may be something else going on in the body that you don't know about...both my kids (age 4 and 2) have gotten adjusted as well regularly, starting the first week after they were born. my youngest can't have any dairy and has a wheat sensitivity issue. I hope you figure it out.

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This sounds just like my son! He also was at the very bottom of the growth chart, in the 3rd percentile. His nose was runny all the time, even though he had no cold and no sinus infection. It turned out that he had MASSIVE adenoids, and once his tonsils and adenoids came out, his breathing was easier and he actually gained 20% of his body weight in 6 weeks (poor kid had a hard time eating and breathing at the same time). See a pediatric ear, nose & throat specialist--we saw Dr. Glen Green at U of M and he was wonderful. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Your child must have some severe allergies to be breathing out of his mouth alot- his tonsils may be very enlarged, also, and this must be addressed or it will cause his facial bones to not develop properly. His upper jaw will be small, leading to crowded teeth- I was a dental hygienist for 31 yrs. and saw this often. Also, if the problem is worse at night, what type of laundry products are you using? Most laundry detergents are petroleum based and full of chemicals, which he is breathing in all night. Try switching to natural household products, like Shaklee, which are plant based and chemical free. If this interests you, check out my Mamasource business, 'M. Goes Green'.
For an alternative treatment for the allergies, try to find a Chiropractor that uses the NAET system, a totally harmless electric system, which can eliminate allergies- really! My granddaughter has done it and it seems to work. There is a really good Dr.in Birch Run area- contact me if you are interested in his name. He has cleared people of life- threatening peanut allergies and many other things, also. Good luck.

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Sounds strange, but Grandmother did this with all her 9 kids and her grandbabies. I even did it to myself when I was congested and it WORKED! From a medicine squeeze tip dropper: drop one drop (NOT dropperFUL) just one drop of Castor Oil into one side of nasal passage. Let the oil roll in and once it is into the nasal passage then apply one drop to the other nasal passage. The cold will come up and the baby will breathe better so you can get some sleep. My husband and I could not figure out how this home remedy continues to work to this day. Lastly another option may be to change the babies milk from regular to soy milk. So ask your doctor if this is an option!

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You have a lot of good responses, but wanted to let you know this sounds just like my kid. He too had the constant stuffing/running nose and when he lays down he coughs cause it running down his throat...gross. It's Seasonal allergies. He was put on Flonas and has been perfectly fine until this summer, which has been reported on as the worst seasonal allergy season in years, so he was also just put on Claritan. Do either you or your hubby have seasonal allergies? If so, I would take him back to the pediatrician and tell them that you or your hubby have allergies and would like the baby checked out for them too.

Hope this helps ~ Thanks

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Okay, this may be remedial, but have you tried elevating one end of the crib? When my boys had colds/congestion that is what our dr. recommended (they also suffered from acid reflux and this helped a lot!!!!) I know kids tend to roam all around the crib, so if you have a pack-n-play, that may be your best bet for a few days.

I hope this helps!! Good luck and I hope your little feels better!

1 mom found this helpful

Why has your Dr not made a referral? I would check out an allergist to see if it's allergies and an ENT to make sure his airways aren't blocked. Adenoids, tonsils, maybe needs tubes? If the ears are constantly plugged too this can affect hearing and speech. My brother was allergic to tons of things - food and environmental. There are lots of things you can do help alleviate allergies. I have environmental allergies and have ordered things in the past from National Allergy. A lot of their coverings have a lifetime guarantee. http://www.natlallergy.com/

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My son was congested when he was a toddler. It didn't bother him, but he was a "snot nosed" kid. My pediatrician recommended I let him "build up" his out immunities. We didn't do the allergy shots, but it definitely is time for seasonal allergies to kick in. My son (now 10) has built up his own immunities to these allergies. After all, allergy shots are just doses of the allergin getting your body to build immunity.

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hi! I would suggest getting him check by an allergist. He might have allergies that cause the congestion. Also there could be a problem in the nasal passages. He might have some asthma symptoms too. That can be very serious. Please get him checked by a specialist to rule out anything major. Good Luck!

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I bet it is food allergies. Ask your pediatrician if they refer to a dietician to help you modify your baby's diet. I bet that will make a world of difference. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Did you try taking him to see a specialist...like a ear,nose, and throat doctor or an allergy/asthma specialist. Sounds to me like he needs to see someone right away. He shouldn't have to suffer every night. And you shouldn't have to worry every night if he is okay.

K.

1 mom found this helpful

C.,

I agree that it may be food allergies, or rather intolerances that are causing his congestion. However, he may be allergic to the dust mites in his pillow and mattress as well.

I bought a great pillow cover, mattress case, and box spring case from the Allergy Store. www.allergystore.com The prices are even better than Amazon.com and the employees are very helpful and courteous.

We have taken our son off of the five foods he is intolerant to, but he was still very sniffly, even in the summer. After encasing his mattress, box springs, and pillows he wakes up with a clear nose and feels better throughout the day.

If you have all of these encased already you might want to think about cleaning his carpet with a special solution that kills dust mites. He may still be reacting to those allergens in the air.

Good luck!
-C..

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C.,
I can totally relate to your worry about your son. I have a 20mo old daughter who had the exact same problem. It seemed like she could never kick her cold, she had dark circles under her eyes and her nose was always stuffy which made it so hard to nurse. This didn't start until I started feeding her more "real" food around 10mo or so. Initially I only gave her pureed veggies but then I started incorporating bread, cold cereals, pretzels etc..
It took us a while to figure it out but she is allergic to the gluten in those foods. I was so confused because we eat very good, pretty much vegetarian, no dairy, no candy, soda, mostly veggies and stuff, so I just couldn't figure out why she always had a cold.
Once we stopped feeding her products with gluten in them her symptoms cleared right up, her skin looks better, her eyes are so much more clear and she has not been plugged up at all(except for a short cold that she recently got)

I would also suggest that you eliminate all dairy from his diet, I think that would really help as well, that is a major cause of congestion.

Anyway, I would STRONGLY recommend that you read up on gluten sensitivity's, and celiac disease. My husband and I stopped using gluten containing products as well and have noticed improvements in our health as well, plus we don't want her to be the odd child in the family who can't eat what everyone else gets to eat, so we just changed as well and it ended up being wonderful for us too.

I hope that helps, if you have any questions about it feel free to email me ____@____.com

Also, if you live in the Grand Rapids area I go to a wonderful naturopath named Dale Tamminga, his practice is called Healthy For Life and the phone number is ###-###-####
Dale is a wonderful Christian guy who would really be able to help your son.

1 mom found this helpful

We went thru the same situation with our now 6 year old, after a series of testing, it was determind that he has allergies, weather induced asthma, and that his adenoids were too large, his passage way was that of a small coffee straw.. He had his adenoids taken out, is on a daily dose of allergy meds, and has an inhaler/neublizer for the fall winter months. He purrs like a kitten now, as he is getting the REM sleep he was so deprived of. Good luck

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Hi C.,
Maybe your pediatrician can recommend an ear/nose/throat doctor. He may have enlarged adenoids and/or tonsils.

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Does someone smoke inside your house? If so that is why. It can lead to asthma too. My husband smokes but I make him do it outside.

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Hi C.,

What are his eating habits like? Do you include fruits, vegetables and protein in his diet? Also, how much milk does he drink? Milk can add to the congestion. If milk is something he really enjoys drinking, switch to organic or lactose free milk. Regular cows milk has antibiotics and hormones in it and would not help him.

Also, have you tried supplementation (vitamins)? His immune system may need a boost. If you are unsure which supplements are good, you may contact me at ____@____.com Beth

1 mom found this helpful

I wanted to suggest along with Emily to try Chiropractic care. My daughter is stuffed up a lot. We were told that she has a sensitive nose and to treat it like it was an allergy. We tried several different medicines for her but nothing worked. When I started taking her to a chiropractor, the first thing I noticed was she wasn't getting stuffed up near as much. And when she does, it doesn't last as long. We are still taking her because it seems to be the only thing that makes a difference.

Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful

Get a couple things here. First a vaporizer. And if you're smart you'll pick up some eukalyptis drops at a health food store.
The other thing you need to get is a new pediatrician. Sorry but I have problems with a doctor that suggests giving an infant benedryl.
Vick's on the chest would be better than plugging a kid full of Benedryl.

1 mom found this helpful

My son was like this from the day he was born until he had his adenoids removed. He was a new kid after that! Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I had a brother who had these problems and my mom had to take him to a specialist. An Ear,Nose,and Throat man. It sounds like it could be adnoids or tonsils. Good Luck

1 mom found this helpful

I can relate. My daughter went through the same thing. It looks like you have gotten a lot of other responses as well, but my first thought with your child, was enlarged tonsils and adenoids. I thought my daughter sounded so congested all the time, and it turned out both her tonsils and adenoids were enlarged and had to be removed. The outcomes was fantastic and we haven't had a problem since. I thought about all the allergies as well, but that wasn't the problem. Good luck.

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Hi C.
I understand your frustration. I, too have battled this with two of my children starting with my first born. At the age of about 17 months or so he started experiencing sleep apnea which was not acceptable anymore. Going through the allergies, colds and so forth was very stressful on me. His pediatrician said it's just the cold and he's conjested, making feel as if I was doing a poor job taking care of him. I suggest you take him to an ENT specialist (Dr. Haupert at Children's Hospital was wonderful to my children). We found out that my son's adenoids were too large for his nostrile. Not to explain why but this happens in many children. Therefore my son had to have his adenoids removed. Once he recovered from that surgery, my son no longer was prone to constant colds and upper respiratory infections nor did he ever have another asthma attack. Fortunately he has also outgrown most of the allergies he also had. Now I can't say that your son would be 100% cured but I'm sure this may be the answer to all your questions and both you and your son should be able to sleep with ease. Fifteen years later, we can. Good Luck!

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Have him checked out by ear nose and throut doctor, raise the head of the bed with books wood what ever you can keep his head up, not to lay flat, try to keep meds to a minimum, some med's counteract the other. Best of luck to your family. Mother of 4, grandma of 3.

1 mom found this helpful

Take him to your Pediatrician. It may be that he is allergic to something and that is what is causing the congestion. My twin boys just went through colds (again) and my youngest twin had to go to the ER because he was breathing short, fast shallow breaths (mainly at night). Our Pediatrician said that it sounded like he was wheezing in his lungs when he listened to them. We are using a nebulizer machine and giving him 2 breathing treatments per day now to see if that helps, because he thinks he may have an allergy or asthma. It has helped him a lot.

Also, is he using pillows? If so, what kind are they? If they have feathers in them, switch them to ones that don't have feathers. You may also want to put a couple of phone books under the 2 legs of his crib that are nearest to his head so that it creates a bit of an angle - that might help too.

--K. Nuttle
Mom to Alex (10), Aaron & Aidan (almost 2)

1 mom found this helpful

I agree that you need to find out what is causing the constant congestion. It sure sounds like it must be some kind of allergy. My friend gets congested when she drinks milk. My husband was having a terrible time until we got rid of the feather down comforter, etc. Once you know what it is, then you can decide what to do about it. It might be good idea to see an allergist.

Sounds to me like an allergy. Dairy often will cause contstant congestion like that. Wheat or gluten as well.

Start by taking all dairy out of his diet. It can take up to 2 weeks before all the dairy proteins are out of his body. So, you won't see immediate results. Start there... then move onto gluten. If it's not one of those, see if you can be refferred to an allergist.

It could also be dust (alot of kids have this allergy). Try wet dusting his room every day. Of course you have to try each of these independently. If you do everything at once you won't know what causes it.

I would just try to find it yourself... to save the little guy from all those allergy pokes!

Sounds like you already got some input. Yep, could be dairy or could be allergies. Couple thoughts-take him to allergist or ask pediatrician about Zyrtec. Two of my nephews take it and have since very yound and my daughter takes it as she used to have horrible hacking coughs for days at a time that no cough medicine would touch. They have decreased greatly since the use of Zyrtec.

Good luck

I don't know if this will help you, but when my daughter is sick I use the saline drops and then use an electric nasal aspirator. It runs on batteries and sucks everything out! It won't make it stop but it may help. They are about $20 at toy or babies r us. Good Luck!

it's most likely allergies.
I did not breathe through my nose my whole life. I was a mouth breather...always stuffed up...and honestly didn't know any better since that was how it always was.
All of the sudden when I was 21...my nose "started to work"!!! it was crazy!!
I grew up in a typical house, cats and dogs, parents smoked (back in the 70's they all did), we had a fireplace...so any of those things could have caused it.
i was on my own by 21...and bam...could breathe...
now...if i spend a day with a dog i stuff right up! I haven't officially been tested...but I'm at the doctors getting allergy inhalers twice a year at least...

what i'm saying is...it might be helpful to get him tested? or if you have anything that is common for allergies around your house (dogs, cats, dust, mold, smokers, etc) try removing them and see if it gets better.

You might want to think about a milk allergy. My son had chronic ear infections (I know that yours does not) and we took him off milk (he was breastfeeding so I took myself off milk too) and all milk products - anything with whey, milk powder, anything with a hint of something that sounded like milk. When we went back to the ENT doctor the next month, his ears had finally cleared. Maybe you could try it for a month and see what happens. I think that there are milk substitutes out there, I am just not up on what they are. Milk is a very common allergy.

Hi!
I read about the vicks vapor rub--I have allergy asthma and am soooo allergic to vicks! I was little and my mom would rub it on my chest and couldn`t breath! It was awful! We found that vicks was it-along with scented fabric softener, dryer sheets, scented laundry det. etc! I can`t breath! and my nose runs and a terrible cough! About 10 years ago I got really sick and put Vicks in the vaporizor(thinking I was just allergic when it was on my skin) and kept getting worse!
Try not using scented things-and get rid of the Vicks! Try it for just a week or so and after your baby clears up-add something in your normal things you use-(dryer sheets, etc) and see what happens!
Another one I`ve seen through the years is milk.
I vacuum the beds (try to) once a week or so-dust mites,--no curtains, etc...I`ve learned alot the last 10 yrs on allergy asthma-and not NEARLY as sick as I use to be!

Consider food allergies. Sometimes they manifest in this manner.

I agree with the allergy suggestion. My son had (what seemed to be constant) ear infections, we had tubes put in, but he was still congested, along with other things. We took him to the allergist, he turned out to be allergic to dairy, eggs and wheat. Got him off them and he's been healthy, sleeps like a champ.

Hi C.!
Have you considered chiropractic care? We have a good friend who is a chiropractor (Kalamazoo area) and I have been seeing him and also taking my 2 year old daughter for awhile. I have bad allergies and it is amazing what getting adjusted can do for allergies/sinus congestion. I had a terrible cold/sinus infection last Christmas (chronic cough, no voice, horrible runny nose) that lasted for weeks and no amount of medicine that my ear, nose and throat doctor gave me helped at all. I went to see our chiropractor to get adjusted and my cold started clearing up that day! :) I was a bit skeptical about chiropractors at first but now I love it! Hope this helps and good luck with your son!

My daughter is 13 months old and was on Zantac at 5 months for reflux. We recently took her off the Zantac and since have had sleepless nights! I too thought of allergies, teething & colds. For 2 months she has been up all night coughing and so terribly congested. Just yesterday we went back to the Pediatrician to check her lungs and after a close examination the doctor has put her back in the Zantac. The congestion when lying down could be an commonly over looked reflux issue.

Hi C., I was interested to find out if you had (exclusively) breast fed? Just curious? J.

Hi, I would look into allergies. I have had them my whole life and poor baby sounds like me! But my allergies are environmental AND food related. Try an elimination diet and see what works and what doesn't. Also, I recently found out I have a deviated septum on top of it all! Go figure!
Good luck

Doctors always try to treat the symptoms (congestion). You need to find what is causing the constant stuffy nose.

Has your child been tested for food allergies? Gluten (wheat) and dairy intolerances especially can cause chronic sinusitis. Food allergies are very common. I'd suggest having your toddler tested.

A little about me:
A mother to three grown children and grandmother to one with another due in three weeks.

Could your son have acid reflux? Acid reflux can cause congestion. When my son was constantly congested even when taking his allergy and asthma medicines, we found out he has reflux and now takes children's prevacid. This was a suggestion from my ENT, my son was checked and his tonsils and adnoids were okay. It has helped a lot.

Good Luck

HI C.
My husband was the same way as a child. His sinuses were so congested it was a huge blob on dental ex rays. It continued into I married him. Suggested he get off dairy, and he did so much better. The next step was to get him off wheat, and he's even better yet. So if your going to check for allergies do food as well. It took me 18 years to find I don't tolerate wheat, and all the strange ways my body reacted to it.
I also think natural house products are better, but they don't have to break the bank. I also use natural health remedies you can find at the health food store like pulsatilla for congestion.
Good luck, A. H

It sounds like allergies. I would have him checked for allergies. I know with the season changes, I have allergies and what I do to sleep better is put pillows between my mattress and box spring to elevate the head of the bed. This works out well.

MC

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