13 answers

My 6 Yr Old Constantly Clears His Throat!

Hi Moms,
This is a strange request. My 6 year old is constantly clearing his throat/lightly coughing about every 30 seconds. He started doing it months ago, then stopped for about a month, now he's doing it again. I know it is desruptive in school and its annoying to listen to at home. I've tried asking him not to do it, tried giving his cough drops, musinex mini-melts, water, nothing seems to help. The strange thing is I took him on a Cub Scout camping trip to Indiana last weekend and noticed he didn't do it the entire time we were there, but it started up again about 15 minutes from home. Maybe it was just a coincidence. Could it be that he's alergic to the air in Chicago??? A friend of mine said she used to do it when she was a kid, but has no idea why. Has anyone ever heard of this problem?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

It sounds like a nervous tic. I had one when I was little, and I wasn't a super stressed out kid or anything. I eventually just grew out of it so I don't have any good advice, but maybe just talk to him and see if anything is bothering him at home or school. It's intersting it went away while you were away from home. Good luck!

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check your house for mold. The mold spore causes this sometimes to seem like cold symptoms because it messes with the mucous membranes. I go through this a lot. Also it could be something else. It wouldn't hurt to discuss it with a doctor.

1 mom found this helpful

B., my 8 year old does this, too. It's possibly allergies (such as what one of the moms noted). Also, know that tics WITHOUT Tourette's are more common in children than what many know. Other factors need to be present before concerning yourself with Tourette's. Random childhood tics come and go, change (maybe it's eyerolling, head jerking, too) and kids with such tics literally grow out of them, so he might simply be experiencing uneventful tics.

If he does this during times of any kind of stress (even good stress), it could be a behavior he's developed that helps him focus. Kids with certain types of sensory issues need proprioseptic feedback to regroup (there is a deep feeling in the chest when coughing/clearing the throat that can be comforting to such kids). Mine falls into that category. Likewise, these tics magically go away in the summer - and guess what he is doing: enjoying summer camp with a full day of running, swimming, climbing, all which help his sensory issues. We ignore the tics, let the teachers know it's part of how he is wired and try to keep him physically active. That said, check in with your doctor, follow your instincts. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Sounds like post-nasal drip is making him gently cough and clear his throat. I'd take him to the doc to see if his throat is irritated. Could also be allergies (dust, dust mites, something in the Chicago air), so I'd talk with the doc about that, too.

Good luck,

1 mom found this helpful

My brother did this when he was little, and continues to do it to this day, which can be very annoying! (He's 25 now). Yes the dry air in Chicago could contribute to it, but we grew up in humid Louisville, KY, and certainly didn't have that dry air factor. One thing I would suggest (we never did this with my brother but I think it would help) is to tape him doing it and let him listen to it...if he's acutely aware of how it sounds, he might make a more conscious effort not to do it. Certainly don't make him embarrased about it, but just aware of it. Secondly, my brother also doesn't do it at all when he's playing sports, or doing something he's really into. It seems to only happen when he's bored or sitting around just watching tv - which would make you think it's a behavioral trait, not necessarily anything medical going on.

Good luck and be gentle with the situation - don't let him confuse your annoyance with that habit as an annoyance of him personally. :)

1 mom found this helpful

My husband does this, mostly in the winter, and it drives me crazy!! There are 2 aspects to it. He is definitely congested most of the time, and says he must do it to clear phlegm from his throat. I can hear his congestion, even when he breathes. However, he also admits that part of it is pure nervous habit! And like your son, my husband can manage to not cough at all when he's entertained or distracted, or during a 2 hour play or symphony.

I doubt seriously your son is doing it for attention. I would consider having him checked by an Ear, Nose and Throat doc. My daughter suffered from constant congestion and an ENT discovered that her tonsils and adenoids were huge. They were taken out, and it's like night and day. My husband also uses a netti pot (google it if you don't know'), and it helps, but getting your son to use one might be challenging!

Beyond that, I would try some good old-fashioned positive reinforcement. "I noticed you haven't coughed at all during breakfast--that's great!" Works for my husband also. : )

Good luck. I feel your pain!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi B.,

I was amazed when I saw your question because our six year old son did the same thing. He also has an anxiety disorder so at first we assumed it was due to anxiety. Then I decided to take him in for food allergy testing. Through the IgA and IgG blood tests we found out that our son was intolerant to over 40 foods which included dairy, soy, wheat, gluten and nuts!! Since we changed his diet, he has completely stopped clearing his throat. We also suspect that our son has a yeast overgrowth which is not that uncommon but does require additional changes in diet and supplements. If this is something you would like to explore more, I would recommend that you speak to either a nutritionist or an allergist who believes in blood tests (not just the skin prick testing) for food allergies and yeast overgrowth. I hope this is helpful.

1 mom found this helpful

HAve him checked for allergies/asthma, and acid reflux disease. Especially acid reflux and allergies. I have constantly cleared my throat for as long as I can remember, some years better than others, and was always told it was bad sinuses, asthma, etc. well turns out I have had acid reflux disease for probably a very long time because I have tremendous permanent damage in my esophagus, and throat clearing is a sign of it. Have it checked out, because it could also be allergies that cause him to reflux too. Hang in, and I hope you get to the bottom of this soon :)

Could it be tourette's syndrome? My brother had tourette's and his first "tick" was clearing his throat. Next he did eye blinking. I'd ask your doctor about it. If it is tourettes, do not ask him to stop doing it, as he physically can't. It will only cause him anxiety and the ticks will get worse. Good luck.

My daughter did this a few years back. Does your son also have dark circles under his eyes? Both are classic symptoms of allergies.

Hi - the most likely cause is post-nasal drip due to lingering cold symptoms or allergies. I would have you pediatrician look in his throat to make sure he does not have chronic irritation (it would have a cobblestone look). If he does, there are meds he can take temporarily to help with the problem & it should clear up (unless it's chronic allergies). Good luck.

L., RN

It sounds like an attention thing. Like he's doing it for attention. If you've taken him to the Dr. and all is well, try ignoring it, keeping him engaged, like it may have been when you were on you scout trip, too busy to bug him about it and him too busy to do it. My 7 year old does odd little things for attention, I'm sure of it. Take care.

It sounds like a nervous tic. I had one when I was little, and I wasn't a super stressed out kid or anything. I eventually just grew out of it so I don't have any good advice, but maybe just talk to him and see if anything is bothering him at home or school. It's intersting it went away while you were away from home. Good luck!

Perhaps he's allergic to dust or some other indoor allergen.

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