23 answers

Dry Persistant Cough

Hello mommies,

My 17 month old has had this dry annoying sounding cough for the last 2 weeks. Everytime I have called her pediatrician I have been told the same thing: she's too young for anything other than Children's Tylenol or Children's Benedryl. I alternate between Tylenol during the day and Benedryl at nighttime. I also keep a humidifier running in her room as well, but nothing is curing this cough. I feel terrible and am getting frusterated, not with the cough, but the fact that nothing can be done to rid of it sooner. I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night to her gagging.

Are there any suggestions that you can give me? Other than the cough, my daughter is acting "normal" and happy and full of energy as always.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

If it is just a cough ... meaning you have gotten a second opinion from another doctor and you have taken her in ... advil or motrin works better to take the swelling down in her lungs and works better than Tylenol. But I would take her in because it could be more than just a couch.

Does the cough last all day? I would definitely have her looked at by another doctor... Try steam showers (close the door to the bathroom while shower/bath is running), it is like a neubulizer (just with saline) treatment. It might help. I have had similar issues with my sons over the years with bouts of croup and mild asthma and in lieu of medicine this helped. Good luck.

More Answers

I went through this with my son when he was younger. Every cold he would get, the tail end, he would have this dry constant, constant cough..... I can remember calling the DR saying he was coughing every 3 seconds........ I get colds the same way!! The obvious things help, like humidifier and stuff like that. She is too young for stronger medicines, there is a good 12hr cough suppresant out there, but she is too young.

I highly reccommend you call your DR back, insist she be seen again and something be done for her. If it is this bad you post a question to us, then you need to call the DR. If he doesnt help, just go to the ER and they will do a nubulizer treatment right there........ We once had to do that.

Best of Luck ..... And Please, Please post and update on what you did and how she is doing....

1 mom found this helpful

Sounds like either bronchitis or asthma; my daughter was fine, other than the cough - happy, energetic: the usual. Her dry cough started around allergy season and at first, I wasn't concerned. What concerned me was when the cough didn't go away after allergy season was over. She had a touch of a wheeze when she breathed. I kept on the doctors and nurses until they tried a breathing treatment on her. Once she had the breathing treatment, her breathing improved. Granted, the albuterol caused her to be a bit more active, but she was finally getting the air her little body needed to function normal. Whatever is going on with your daughter cannot be treated until you know what it is.
So Jen, my advice to you is to keep on the pediatrician's office as it sounds to me like either bronchitis or asthma.

Humidifier for the dryness; a teaspoon of honey to coat the throat; and vicks (on the chest or in the humidifier or buy the vicks plug-ins or put it on the soles of the feet & cover with socks). These have worked for me and for my kids.

For yourself or older kids, I've also used a heated magic bag at my neck to keep my neck warm and it seems to stop the cough reflex, but I wouldn't recommed it for your baby as she's too young.

Try a humidifier. Sounds like she's drying out, and this time of year it's so much worse with the dryer air and heat going on everywhere. Make sure she's getting enough water to drink too! Vicks makes a humidifier that you can also put a menthol solution in the help as well.

have you introduced any new foods/drinks within these past few weeks? could it be a food allergy?

My daughter was 2 years old with a dry persistant cough that only happened at night when she was sleeping. She would gag and even sometime vomit. No meds helped her. The doctor finally sent her to an ears, nose, throat specialist and she had to have her tonsils out. They were to large for her and when she layed down they would drop and cause her to cough, choke and gag. Ever since her tonsils were removed - never happened again. Check to see if her tonsil look big, you can tell by looking yourself.

If it is just a cough ... meaning you have gotten a second opinion from another doctor and you have taken her in ... advil or motrin works better to take the swelling down in her lungs and works better than Tylenol. But I would take her in because it could be more than just a couch.

Hello,
This is going to sound crazy, but get some Vick's rub and put a thick layer of it on her feet at night, then cover with socks. My husband had heard or read this somewhere and we tried with my 2.5 yr old son when nothing else worked, and it was amazing!!! It really works. I also put a little on his chest too. Another thing that helps and can be given anytime, unlike medicine where you have to wait 4-6 hours, is honey. Just give her a little bit on a spoon and it coats the throat. When my son had his cold, we gave him cough medicine at night, even though we weren't supposed to, but he couldn't sleep at all, so neither could we, it was awful... I'll tell you, the honey and Vick's worked much better than the cough med, which didn't do much at all. Good luck!!

Does the cough last all day? I would definitely have her looked at by another doctor... Try steam showers (close the door to the bathroom while shower/bath is running), it is like a neubulizer (just with saline) treatment. It might help. I have had similar issues with my sons over the years with bouts of croup and mild asthma and in lieu of medicine this helped. Good luck.

Has the pediatrician looked into other issues - air too dry in the rest of the house - or the humidifier spewing out mold or something? Reflux (would account for gagging)? Asthma?

This same kind of thing happened with my son. He's now 4, but when he was two he had a dry cough all day all night,that made him gag. Nothing else seemed wrong with him. Then I noticed how quickly he was breathing one day and decided to take him to the doctor. Come to find out, he had walking pneumonia and a mild form of asthma. I had to put him on a nebulizer 3-4 times a day for a few days. After that and some antibiotics he was fine. I've tried honey for the cough and it seems to work pretty well. Good luck.

Hi J.!
Have you tried a nebulizer?? My son had one for RSV a few years ago and my daughter had the dry, persistant cough you wrote about a few weeks ago. I used the neb 3 times a day, morning, lunch and before bed and it definitely gave her some relief. Have they mentioned checking for Pneumonia?? That's what my daughter ended up having...

I have no advice for what your daughter may have, but is your pedi aware you have had her on tylenol. I understand they can take it, but am not sure why in this case. If she has no pain or fever it's not doing anything for her. Benadryl will at least treat her symptoms. Just a thought I had as I read your question. Good Luck I hope it clears up soon.

Hi J.,
I had a similar problem last week with my 2 yr. old. We went to the Dr.'s and was shocked to find out he had the croup and an ear infection. He had a dry cough with some gagging, but no fever. He kept his energy up, and seemed otherwise normal. I would go to another doc to get another opinion. Maybe a round of antibiotics, some type of inhaler/ nebulizer will work. Best of luck. Jen

Hi J.
My daughter has this cough every year as soon as we turn the heat on and start the wood stove. I have found that Eucalyptus essential oil helps I put a couple of drops on her P.Js every night before bed. It just seems to sooth her enough and she will usually sleep for quite a while. She is now 7 she also sees an allergist. I have not been thrilled with there diagonisis. I have also heard that Eldeberry syrup works. I am headed for that next because the allergy pill she is on I dont think works that well anymore.
The drs. just want to keep our kids on pills all the time I am really starting to question there decisions.
DarleneD

My son always had a dry annoying cough when he was a small baby and later found out when he was almost 1 that it was asthma I would take her to the dr. and get it checked and get atleast 2 opinions about it.

Hi J.,

I've always gone to Natural Marketplace in Salem, NH when my kids have had anything like colds or coughs going on. There are some natural remedies that are safe for babies. My son had bronchitis when he was about 18 months I think and they gave me some herbs and it cleared right up. My oldest is 5 1/2 and they've always been able to help with whatever ailments my kids have had. The Tylenol and Benedryl just mask the symptoms - they don't get to the root of the problem, what's causing the cough. If you live near Salem, it might be worth the trip. I hope your daughter gets better soon.

Jen

Ever think of whooping cough? N.

This is going to sound a little strange but it's from the peoples pharmacy on NPR. rub vicks on the bottoms of her feet before she goes to sleep (or while she's sleeping is easier for me), put warm socks on her. You will be amazed. Also a humidifier this time of year is really crucial too.
Would love to know if it works for you, it's been a miracle for us.

J.

I have put a few good sized books under one end of the crib mattress so it is on an angle. That has seemed to help me in the past. I also like the vicks plug ins. They work really well.

I have also heard that "woofing caugh" is going around. I'm not sure what is done for little ones. If you think that is the case have her checked out.

Good luck!

Not to scare you but your daughter my have a touch of asthma..I would seek out another doctor for another opnion..she could also be alergic to some thing that is causing her to caugh...any thing from laundry detergent to soap..
but always remember ..
Your doctor works for you ..your the boss ..your paying them..so if your not getting the answers you seek ...GO TO SOMEONE ELSE. There is a reason for the body to react, weather to sneeze or caught ..it is a reaction to some thing.

Good luck I hope she feels better soon!

Make sure to change the filter in the humidifier often - when I started mine up this year, it actually gave me a horrible cough from the mold that accrued over the summer.

I've also found a mentholated liquid (I'm pretty sure it was Vicks) that you can pour in the humidifier. That worked wonders for my daughter.

I suggest running a humidifier in every room she's in, not just her bedroom at night. and try increase her fluid intake if possible.

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