24 answers

Coughing Three Year Old - Constant Wet Cough

Has anyone else child been coughing a lot here lately. My son and I for the last 3 weeks, has had nonstop coughing. I'm better with the help of prednisone, antibiotics, nebilizer treatments, and nazal spray. But my son on the other hand is still coughing. He also had drainage from his nose. He's been to the Pediatrician twice. The first time he thought it was just the croup/parainfluenza virus going around, and last week he went back again and he thought he had some antibiotic resistant staph infection/Staphylococcus because of the drainage coming from his nose (rhinitis). I'm a litle scared because he said staph. I've heard so much about staph. But yet my son was given another antibiotic, and still has this constant wet cough. He's winded if he's running around. I make him sit down to catch his breath. When sleeping sometimes he has this noisy breathing that frightens me to death, and then suddenly the noise stops just when I'm ready to take him to the Emergency room.
I have given him a decongestant, given him nebilizer treatments as well, I have used the salt water bulb syringe solution. To no avail he's still coughing. If he can tell me everything that's going on with him, it would be great, but he's only three. I only judge him by his symptoms. He rubs his ear, which his ears were fine last week, and he's coughing. Anyone else dealing with this?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

He's finally getting better. I noticed his breath was bad, so I took him back to the pediatrician, and let him look at him again. He said generally bad breath, and coughing is a sign of a sinus infection. He gave him another antibotic and it appears the cough is getting a lot better, and the bad breath is gone. Thanks for your many suggesttions. It took a lot of time for my family to get over this virus.

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My grandson just went thru this for over a month...he is now on Singular for allergis. He had a loose cough, a runny nose, but no fever or signs of an infection. He is much better since he has taken this medicine daily.
Keep a chart(for a week)as to when the symptoms are worse, in certain rooms??? foods??? etc which may rule in or out possible causes. Many children get under diagnosed when it comes to allergies (I was a school teacher for 10 years so saw this frequently). Hope this helps.

I would take him to see a Chiropractor. It is amazing how many problems can be caused by spinal misalignment (subluxation). This is also a drug free fix so you no mor meds to bandaid the problem.
Dr. Rich Reinhold on Shore Dr. has been treating my nephews for a while, and will treat my baby begining at birth!

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Oh yes, all of us in my house have had this for the past 2 weeks. You are doing all the right stuff, the only other thing I would add is to rub Vicks on the bottom of your childs feet and put socks over them. It seems to help my 5 year old a great deal...takes about 30 min to do. I do it in the morning and just before bed.

Hi S.,

My name is D. and I am a mother of 2 daughters. One is 27 the other is 25. So, I've seen a cough or two. If your son is pulling his ear, eventhough they were fine last week, they most likely have fluid in them. There is so much dust and pollen in the air it may be part of the cause. Most likely some form of allergy. Not sure about that, but keep w/the Dr. I just read an article that talks about the wonders of Vicks...yes, Vicks vaporub. The article went on to say, to stop a constant cough ( and get some rest from coughing ) rub Vicks on one's feet and then cover w/socks at bed time. Doesn't sound harmful so I might be prone to give it a try. A good night's rest for all well clear up a lot in the morning and help a tired mom face a new day. Not sure this was much help but... anything is better than nothing. My yougest daughter also had cough after cough growing up. At particularly bad times, I'd take her in our bathroom, close the door and run a steaming shower. The 2 of us just sat in the room until her cough settled down. Good luck, and remember this too shall pass.

Yes, my son is doing the same thinga dn has been off and on since September. I am quite sure it is allergy related. He seems better when he takes singulair. ALso, believe it or not it helps when we put VICKS on the soles of his feet (then put socks on) at bedtime. I know this sounds strange, but I had heard about it from a friend so I tried it and it does help him!

Have you gotten a second opinion???

My 2 year old son has had the same problem for probably a year now. His nose constantly runs and he also coughs. He'll stop couching for about 2 days and then start right back up again. Have you had your son's red blood count checked? My son was diagnosed with a low red blood count (anemia) when I took him to the ER for his coughing and running nose. The breathing problem they told me was because the red blood cells weren't carrying enough oxygen which is why he is always sick.

I'm seconding Dorothy here: get an evaluation for asthma. My six-year-old has had very similar symptoms, and that was the eventual diagnosis. BUT: if it is asthma, and the doc prescribes Pulmicort, be sure to ask him/her about recent FDA warnings that this could cause growth inhibition in small children. I've got my daughter's inhaler on my desk to ask her doc about this today.

BTW: ENTAA care (in Laurel and Columbia) is a pretty good ear,nose and throat specialty practice. --T. Content

I went through the same thing with my child who is now six, for several years it was the same course of treatment and cough medicines until one doctor suggested allergies. Ever since that day she has taken an allergy and asthma medicine and been fine. I start her in Oct. and end in May. Her only symptom was the post nasal drip which created the cough that wouldn't go away.

Hi -

Have you had him checked for viral-induced asthma? My son spent years up all night when he had coughs (and didn't cough at all or only very little during the day; although usually with runny nose). It was the nighttime, the virus, the lying down that triggered mild asthma attacks. He was never gasping for breath, but he would lose full nights of sleep just coughing and coughing (and it did sound kind of wet). Finally (he was already 7!!) we learned that it was asthma. When asked why I had never had him tested before, I explained that a) I had no idea that asthma could be triggered by regular colds and b) I had the same problem as a child and remember many nights spent coughing away.

A puffer works great and solves the problem right away for us. Good luck!!!!

If I were in your situation, I would get your child to an allergist (maybe even a pediatric allergist). When you've done all that you've mentioned and not seen any improvement, it's time for a change -- and a second opinion. This is not a "slam" on your pediatrician; it's just a realization that their skills and specialities only go so far, and then it's time to move on to a specialist. My pediatrician, who I love for most things, is definitely NOT an expert in allergies and asthma, and kept piling more and more meds on my daughter. When it got to the point that she was taking FOUR daily meds for asthma and was still getting sick, we moved on to an allergist, who promptly took her off of THREE of them!! We did some allergy testing, found her triggers, changed her living environment, etc., and have had a fair amount of success in controlling these kinds of problems since then.

I hope this helps. Good luck in your quest for a solution!

Hi S. maybe you should get a chest Xray for him I had the same problem with my daughter last year and it turned out be pneumonia I went to the doctors alot and they told me it was this and it was that and she almost stopped braething tell them you want an X-ray tell them they tried everything else and you would like that done to have a peace of mind.

Antibiotics are never good for a virus. Antibiotics are to treat bacterial infections only, and when over-prescribed, can actually compromise your child's natural resistance to fighting off microorganisms. There was recently a report of children developing MRSA due to being over-prescribed antibiotics. The best thing for viruses (if it was a virus) is to let it run its course. Because viruses get inside of the cell, the only thing that can really help are certain forms of steroids and antiviral medicine, or treating the specific symptoms, plenty of fluids, rest, and patience.

I truly hope the best for your son. I actually came across your post while searching for a natural remedy or cause for my son's (3 years old) symptoms without taking him to the pediatrician. He is not running a fever, but has developed a dry cough, and terrible breath. His nose just started running today, and he has been extremely tired today. I am hoping it is not a sinus infection, but I will take him in tomorrow if it persists.


My son is 10 now and he sometimes gets very congested in the fall and winter, the doctors say that it is reactive airway disease. Whenever the cold air or change of weather, fall allergies, or he gets sick. As long as their is no fever with it, I would really wouldn't worry about staph. A lot of times when children's bodies are fighting a bacteria infection they will run fevers even low grade ones. My son has been through a lot and we have been to many doctors, as he is just finishing a three year, three month cancer treatment. He had leukemia and is in remission, once a month on the treatment he was to take a strong steriod for 5 days, that would really open his lungs and airways up, it seemed to help a lot. I think that the key to getting rid of the cough is to be consistant with the neubulizer, if prescibed the steriod that work very well also. You must give consistant every 3 to 4 hours treatments, for a least a day or so until he is sounding better, then stay consistant with them also, at least 3 to 4 times a day, full treatments. Somtimes I have to stand over my 10 year old and still tell him deep breaths and make sure he is doing it properly. When he sound really bad he will get the treatment throuh the night as well. You will find that this really helps. Good luck to you, and I hope all works out for the best.


Hi S.,

There is a nasty, long lasting cold bug going around. I have been holding on to this too for the last week.

Right now you want to be sure that you are both getting plenty of vitamin C and use a cool mist humdifer at night.

Also, use a wedge to keep upright somewhat while sleeping and use something like gualfenesin for mucus relief and an antihistamine to dry up the sinuses.


Hi S. I'm kinda going through the same thing that you are. Except my daughter has chronic lung disease due to her being a premiee. Anyway giving cough meds don't work what so ever. My sister went through the same thing a couple of months ago her doctor gave her some Zithromax at the end of the week she stop coughing. Now she is 16 yrs old so they might not give him the same thing as what they gave her but its worth a shot. Putting him on the nebulizer could work depending on what type of meds you giving through the machine. My daughter is on Pulmicort which she get daily. She also takes Albuteraul which she gets as needed. So it depends on which meds you give him. Good luck I hope everything works out and your son stops coughing.

How terribly frustrating it is when our little ones are sick and we can not help them. It is a utterly helpless feeling that you can not make things better for them.

The thing is, we can, we do, and we always will. We are their mothers after all. Thank goodness they created this site so that other mothers can give your an opinion of how they would handle things, or what steps they might take, that we never even were able to think about. Technology is a powerful tool.

My oldest middle child (Bryce) suffered from a wet cough from the age of 2, up until last year. This has been the first year that we have not experienced a wet cough from him from September - April.
At first we were given a diagnosis of Asthma since he would wheeze and have difficulty catching his breath when playing. He was prescribed an inhaler and we did "preventative" nebilizer treatments each night to try and help him. For the most part it did nothing but cause a big problem when it was time for treatment or the inhaler. Each one made him feel "funny" in his words at 2.
From there we did a series of allergy testing. I think this was worse on me than my son. Each week we would go into the allergist and they would stick him in each arm 100/150 times with a host of different foods and such to see what he was allergic to. But after a about 10 visits, we found he was not allergic to ANYTHING! He has some slight allergies to dust and mold, but nothing serious by any means.
He was then tested by his pediatrician for a host of different illness... like Cysticfibrosis and such, just to rule them out. Nothing came of any of the tests (Thank God).
At the age of 3 he began a monthly routine of throwing up violently and causing major dehydration. He pretty much was hospitalized every month this happened as I was just not able to keep the fluids in him well enough. He went through a year of testing with that as well, to have nothing turn up.
I think the part I found most frustrating, was that I was not able to clearly communicate with him to figure out what else was bothering him or even to come to a conclusion of what was wrong.
At the age of 4 we finally figured out the throwing up was due to Migraines he was getting and it was his bodies way of handling the pain.
Because I am a mother, my mothering took over and made me begin a research project. This was also due to some of my own medical concerns.
Which I call MamaJenns Mission. This led me to change our lifestyle to a Organic and natural lifestyle. We first changed our foods, then about 6 months later we switched our laundry, personal care and cleaning products to Organic.
For us, it helped clear up my own medical concerns, as well as help with my youngest (at the time) sons asthma that began to develop. But still was not making too much of a "Dent" in Bryce's cough. (after time we found the migraines were consistent with my monthly deep clean of the house).
Finally last year, I began a morning series of 2 tsp.Tahitian noni juice (a preventative natural juice from Noni plants), 20 drops of a tincture of "kids Cough" made by Whole Foods (a herbal supplement that supports the respiratory system) and 2 tsp of Sambucol Berry flavored kids. when is cough would get bad enough for it to hurt his throat, I would spray 2-4 sprays of Seagate Olive Leaf Throat spray and 1 spray of Colloidal Silver Throat Spray No more than 10 days consistent use!!!). At night I would give him all of this, and an extra added boost of B&T Cough & Bronchial Syrup with Zinc (Natural homeopathic). Most of these products I purchase online!
Every 8 weeks I would have him take a break from it for a week. (as you should with anything you are taking regularly). I
made sure his school had extra water on hand to keep him hydrated during the day and keep that "itch" out of his throat. I can not get him to drink Lukewarm or hot tea.. so this was what I found best to work for him. Last year and this year I have provided all the boys teachers with cleaning supplies to be used in the classroom around them. I provide the cleaning wipes, the cleaning sprays, the hand sanitizers and the soap. (Just a small cost to trying to keep the kids healthy) (although it is not too much of a cost since I have changed the lives of 2 teachers with the products I provided (they now ask me for the products)).

So, not sure how if any that helps you. Just my 5 cents (inflation included) worth of advice for you on the path that we chose to take in life to help our little one. Like I mentioned before. This is the first year we have not experienced a wet cough from him and it is now December (knock on wood). Please feel free to email me with any questions you may have... just send me a short note and I will send you my personal email address. Cant post it on here since I get enough junk email (winks). Have a great day!
Mama Jenn - Bealeton, VA
Step mother to Nich~16 Christian~15
Mama to Bryce~9, Austin~7 and Taylor~almost 2

Take him to see a pulmonologist. They specially in respiratory ailments. He may have bronchitis. My daughter sees a pulmonologist for bronchospasm which was reflux related. She gets albuterol when she gets a persistent cough and it works within a couple of hours. When I think it's the start of a cold, I rub Vicks vapor rub on the bottoms of her feet at night and cover them with socks. Her cough is normally gone by the morning.

YES!!! My family of three has had these symptoms plus more for over a month now. We have all been to the doctor. He has been saying this is just the time of year and we have to ride it out. Just today I took my four year old and 8 month old to the doctor again because they developed fevers. They now have strep which is a form of staph. So I do think its the time of year, and every year seems o get worse. But I do have a few suggestions. Try to avoid over medicating. Doctors don't like when parents object but over medicating could make his sickness last longer because his immune system cant fight it. The other thing you might want to test is mold in your home. They sell in home test kits at CVS and places like Lowes. If you get other suggestions pass them along. I hope our families can get better quickly.

I am sorry to hear about your son. Our daughter, just turned 4 last week; and as usual, this is the only time of the year where she would be sick at least 1-2 times for cold and/or bad cough.

I would rub some Vicks Vaporub on her chest and back. I would do this until she recovers. Day and night, I would bundle her up in thermal clothings and often keep her socks on.
She is in pre-school now, hence, I often make sure that he is well equiped (hat that covers her ears, long sleeves, jackets) and constantly making sure that she washes her hands.
We encouraged her to drink hot tea (with some lemon and honey), drink only lukewarm/room temperature water. At the sametime, avoid from giving her any milk and/or daity product as it creates more mucus in her system. With that said, I often make sure that she is constantly taking her fluid and stay warm.

And whenever she is in bed (napping or night time), we would plug in the ionic air purifier to help her sleep and breath better.

I hope this alternative remedy is a great help to you and your family. Good luck!

R. Davenport
Glen Allen, Va


Have you contacted an allergist or pulmonary doctor? Both of our children have breathing, coughing issues which get worse in the fall and winter. Our oldest we found out has a particular mold allergy which can be found in wet leaves---explains some trouble that heightens in the fall. Anyway, between the allergist and pulmonary specialist, we have been treating for allergies and asthma reducing the number of respiratory distress episodes for our children.

Hope this is helpful.

My son has the same thing...they tried 2 antibotics, his nebulizer everything and we're on our 5th straight week. He finally in the last 24hr has almost stopped. No one know what it is or what, they told me the exact same thing, they swabbed the inside of his nose and cultured it for staph and antiboitic strep but neither was positive, they even tested him for mono. For about 8 days he had a fever of 103-104.5 and nothing helped it. All I can tell you is it's going around at least the Charlottesville area and is rampid in the daycares. My bosses kids got it and they're at different schools and never came in contact with my son. I got it and have been helped by the predinsoine and breathing treatments, not him. All I can say is watch him for him getting worse and ride it out, everyone that's had a child with it has had the same experience. My prayers are with your child and you!!

My 4 year old grandson responded well to the allergy medicine, Zyrtec, when he had a cough like that.

A little about me: Iam a retired grandma of 5 little ones, the oldest being the 4 year old. I see him and his little sister who is 2 years old. I taught elementary school for 39 years in Boise, Idaho before moving to a little farm on the Northern Neck of Virginia.

My grandson just went thru this for over a month...he is now on Singular for allergis. He had a loose cough, a runny nose, but no fever or signs of an infection. He is much better since he has taken this medicine daily.
Keep a chart(for a week)as to when the symptoms are worse, in certain rooms??? foods??? etc which may rule in or out possible causes. Many children get under diagnosed when it comes to allergies (I was a school teacher for 10 years so saw this frequently). Hope this helps.

Have you seen a pulmonologist? It sounds like your son needs to be evaluated for pneumonia and/or asthma (colds are a major trigger for asthma; often coughing is the only sign in kids this age, but with your son's shortness of breath and wheezing, it sounds like asthma is a real possibility). Talk to your ped again and get a referral; your son will likely need chest x-rays. We went through this earlier this year, in the spring, and it's not as bad as it sounds. Good luck!

I would take him to see a Chiropractor. It is amazing how many problems can be caused by spinal misalignment (subluxation). This is also a drug free fix so you no mor meds to bandaid the problem.
Dr. Rich Reinhold on Shore Dr. has been treating my nephews for a while, and will treat my baby begining at birth!

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