20 answers

My Son Seem's to Always Be Congested!!

I honestly feel like our son has had a cold/cold on his chest since last September!! I have brought him to the dr numerous times, his chest and lungs are fine, each time they tell me it's normal for kids under 2 to go through runny noses, congestion, etc. They have a habit of making you feel like you're worrying for nothing a lot of the times. They tell me to do the humidifier and steam baths, etc...which we do from time to time (we feel like that's not even doing anything). I've even tried a bowl of boiled water with a few dashes of Eucalyptus oil in it on top of the heater. Every night I put the J&J Vapor Bath in his tub, I also rub his chest and back with Little Remedies Rub nightly as well. He's always dressed warmly, always wears slippers in the house, I stopped washing his hair every evening when he takes his bath (around 7:30pm), he takes Polyvisol vitamins daily, he eats well...nothing seems to really be working, I don't know what else to do!! He's not in any distress or complaining, but you sometimes hear it in his throat or feel the rattling on his back and we have to tell him to "cough" to clear it out. I guess it seems to be bothering us more than it appears to be bothering him. Then when other people notice it, it makes it worse. When he's up, you sometimes hear him holding in his breath, but when he's asleep, he doesn't do it, so it's weird. He sometimes snores at night, which his father is a pro at. He sneezes once in a while and coughs too. You can hear the mucous in his throat. I asked the dr if it's the dairy since I heard it produces more mucous, they told me no (he loves milk and cheese). His nose isn't snotty or running or anything right now. I'm starting to think it's allergies since I have so many (dust, dander, grass, etc), so I've promised myself to start dusting a lot more around the house, which I admit I don't keep up with (I'm thinking of buying Pledge after work today!) I haven't used saline drops (Little Remedies again) in a while because he started giving me a hard time, I mean a real hard time, but I tried last night and he thought it was fun and wanted me to keep doing it!!

Any thoughts or suggestions? Maybe natural remedies, etc.? I tried honey and lime a couple times, not sure if that did anything. A neighbor told me about marshmallow root tea that they use in her country (Russia) that she gives her twins that are about 6mths younger than my son, which I also gave him twice, 2 teaspoons or something (can't remember the exact dose, but it wasn't a lot). I don't normally use things I'm not familiar with, but since she said she's used it and it wasn't a drug, I tried it.

04/16/09- 10:32am
Thanks for the replies and messages so far. Question, should I go to an allergist first, an ENT dr or do my own thing of removing items around him one by one (ex, stop dairy, laundry detergent, etc.) When removing items, should I do it 2 weeks/item? Like no dairy for 2 weeks and check results, if no change for the better, then change his laundry detergent, etc...?

He has his 18mth check-up next month and I'm almost sure his dr's are going to say it's nothing again. I don't know if I need to change dr's, because they're checking what they need to check, I just think I need to go a step further than a general pediatrician and see a specialist.

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It could be his diet. Try removing sugars, processes foods, and white grains from his diet for two weeks. It might make a huge difference (it did for me!).

If it's that bad, cut out the dairy products. Seriously, they create mucous and prolong those colds, etc. You can get calcium and all the nutrients from vitamins and other products like soy milk. My son has been off dairy for over a year and when he gets a cold it only lasts a day, if that. He's 4 and the soy milk he drinks is fortified. Give it a try.

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Hi there! My daughter had similar issues for a long time, and I've had her on Sinupret for Kids for a while now. It has helped immensely. Check its availability in your area on their site: http://www.bionoricausa.com/product-details/sinupret-for-... I didn't see this in the other responses and wanted to pass it along, and I've done all of the allergen-stripping from the house like the other moms have done. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Wow - I can understand how frustration that must be.

There are many things you can try to do. First off I would not buy Pledge - switch to non-toxic cleaners. This removed all congestion from my children when they were young. Here's some to look at www.shaklee.net/healthmatters4u/getclean/index . Completely gauaranteed if you are not satisfied. Changing the laundry cleaners is imperative. He is breathing in those chemicals all day on his clothing & bedding.

I disagree about the dairy. It most certainly can contribute to increased mucous production. That is one reason I removed dairy when my daughter was little. I have access to many, many resources to share with you so you can educate yourself and make the best choices.

I raised 2 healthy children with no sick visits. See more at www.nosickvisits.com

Feel free to contact me - I love share information to help people make decisions to raised healthy kids.

Important Note *** Allergies are a symptom that the immune system is over reacting - medicating the symptoms will not solve the underlying issue - the need for a healthy immune system. Be cautious - when you medicate the symptom away - the body will give another message (sickness or symptoms). Solve the underlying issue and you raise health kids!


1 mom found this helpful

If it's that bad, cut out the dairy products. Seriously, they create mucous and prolong those colds, etc. You can get calcium and all the nutrients from vitamins and other products like soy milk. My son has been off dairy for over a year and when he gets a cold it only lasts a day, if that. He's 4 and the soy milk he drinks is fortified. Give it a try.

hi K.,
I think you're right about allergies. My son was the same way --it was like he was born congested but it never seemed to bother him. He didn't look like a "classic" allergic child either; his nose rarely dripped and his eyes were clear, but his nose was always always always itchy and his head was always plugged up. We had the food panel done at 2 and he tested positive for peanuts and tree nuts. They said wait until he was 3 to do the rest because they can change so much, but really I think we wasted our time waiting. After finding out he was allergic to maple, birch, oak and ash trees, as well as pollen in general, grass/ragweed and cats, we shut the windows, gave the cat away and cleaned the house. Then, still stuffy! In the fall I brought him in again and requested a down/feather test because that was truly the last thing left that was possibly allergenic in the house. The allergist was doubtful, saying that kids usually don't develop a down problem until they're older, which was exactly what he said when my son tested positive for all the environmental stuff at 3. Anyway, the prick test was negative but the under-the-skin test was quite positive. Out went the comforters and finally, this winter, for the first time in his 5-year-old life, he breathed easily. You just never know and there are so many things that could be causing a problem. It's just a long process of elimination. I wish I could offer up some wisdom about treatment; they want our son to have shots and this month he started Veramyst nasal spray to help him through the pollen season. I hate the idea of medicating him six months of the year but nothing else, none of the over-the-counter stuff anyway, seems to help and I don't want him locked inside the house all summer.
good luck!

My husband and I joke that our son (11 months) has had a cold for the last eight months! We were in the "clear" for the last month, but then seasonal allergies hit. Our son is in day care, so he gets whatever they have despite his babysitter's best efforts.

If he's not bothered by it, then just leave it alone. We were so hypervigilant in the beginning that my son would scream when anything resembling an aspirator came near him. Just keep "steaming him" and encourage him to blow his nose. Our doctor encouraged us to keep his fluids high when the congestion was at its worst to keep him from getting dehydrated.

We also really like the "Boogie Wipes". You can get them at Babies R Us online only. They are saline wipes and they keep his little nose from getting chapped!

I had a similar experience to Danielle R. I switched pediatricians because the group I was with basically gave me the brush off as well. Listen...you are the MOM!!! You know your child. Don't let the doctors intimidate you. On the first visit to the new pediatrician, they diagnosed my daughter with a problem like asthma (RAD--Reactive Airway Disease). She also has allergies, but mostly to DUST. She had been tested already by an allergist, I suggest you go to an allergist b/c they can test like 50 things at a time on your son's back; including food. The RAD caused her to have what sounded like congestion 24/7. We did the prednisolone, nebulizer, humidifier, everything...that was when they said nothing was wrong. This dr. put her on Singulair and she's been perfect ever since. Good luck to you and let us know what happens!

Hi K., I would have him checked for allergies. Once you know why the congestion starts, I Agree with the natural way. The less meds we take, the better. Do you have any pets? Best wishes, Grandma Mary

It sounds like his adenoids. He needs to have an x-ray of his sinuses to see if there is an infection and then maybe a CTscan of his sinuses. I have been through the same thing with both my children and they both had to get their adenoids out.
The snoring itself is a great indicator it's his adenoids.
What helped alot with my son is Flonex spray for his nose and we would also give him a half teaspoon of benadryl before bed. He's only 3 so we give him the absolute least dose.
Although some natural remedies aid in relieving the discomfort nothing will get rid of this if it's really his adenoids. I would tape your child snoring and take it in to the Dr. for them to have a listen.
My oldest child has asthma and their Dr. also treats my youngest for it too even though he hasn't been properly tested. He too has the cough that worsens at night and we nebulize him before bed which helps a great deal too.
Good luck and I hope this helps.

I agree allergies.

My son was 1 yr old when he started sounding congested. I took him in to the doctors and they did just as yours did, "don't worry about it. It is just a cold." Now mind you I am a nurse and never take my kids in unless symptoms are increasing and over a couple days old. His were 7 days old and slowly increasing. Then 1 more week goes by, I am doing everything the baths vaporizers humidifiers, chest percussions, decongestants, ect. He said you are wasting your time it is a cold and it will pas(14 days front he start of symptoms) then 1 more week goes by I made an appointment to go in and a new appointment with a new pediatrician. We went in and he said the dame thing, but now his nail beds are blue and so are his lips. So we went to the new doctors and he rushed him to a radiologist and did a nose and throat culture to see pneumonia, he put him on antibiotics and oral albuteral. Nothing helped. He started him on stronger antibiotics and they did not help, he started singular and it did not help. He then did a blood panel for allergies BING Egg yoke, Peanuts, Soy, Milk, Dogs. So he referred us to an allergenist who did a skin test, he was allergic to egg yoke and white, but none of the rest. 1 year later we see he is allergic to dogs and cats too. We go again in 6 months.

It sounds like reactive airway, now the task is to what.

Get an allergy test and Switch doctors. Not all doctors are the perfect fit for you and your family.

Good luck and please keep us updated.

I would take him to an allergist and have him tested for food and any other allergies. My son was little when I had him tested and it was good to know what he was allergic to. I think it can be done with a blood test rather than pricking his skin multiple times. Also a naturopath can do it with a lock of hair.

Hi K.,

My son who is now 19 had similar problems as a toddler and the dr's said the same to me! Turns out it was dairy and corn surup. I went to a naturalpath that helped. They told me to take him off everything that might be the culprit then see how he is. Try soy milk or rice milk. Rice milk works for my son. You tend to crave or like what your alergic to. Trust your gut!

Hi, I know its been a couple of years since you posted this question. My 2 year old son is going through the same thing now (for the past 6 months).
None of the home remedies mentioned in this post really worked for my son.

Did your child grow out of it? Did it turn out to be allergies?

Just off the top of my head - don't wait, remove the potential allergens all at once - and slowly reintroduce. Maybe find replacements for things like milk, which he needs calcium, so maybe soy or something else like broccoli. Goat cheese is very tasty, but my DS won't touch goat milk unless it is cooked into something else. (he doesn't like cow's milk either).

A friend's son was congested ALL the time. They said it didn't matter HOW many times they vacuumed his nose, it always came back.

Not much, but I think you'll figure out what works for him soon enough - if he isn't sick and he doesn't get worse, it may just be a low-grade allergy. You might wind up sticking with the allergen because you haven't found anything to replace what it gives him.

Good luck!

A huge "amen sister" to everyone who has said this sounds like allergies, especially those who mentioned dairy. My son had chronic colds and ear infections, plus a speech delay and depressed mood, from trace amounts of milk in his diet. We got him completely milk-free, and within a week his nose and ears were mucus-free for the first time in about six months. His speech caught right up to that of his peers, and his mood brightened up.

I really recommend trying this, but it does mean reading every ingredient label like a hawk. Look not only for milk, butter, etc., but also whey and casein. And if you're still breastfeeding, this means getting all traces of milk out of your diet.

I also recommend consulting with a naturopath, as someone mentioned below, though unfortunately this isn't usually covered by insurance. But naturopaths are trained to look at the underlying cause for a problem, and to look at whether symptoms may be linked, not just to prescribe medications symptomatically. Naturopaths also take parents seriously when a child's symptoms are at the low end of what's considered normal, if that makes sense.

Best of luck!


It could be his diet. Try removing sugars, processes foods, and white grains from his diet for two weeks. It might make a huge difference (it did for me!).

My son (23 months) has had the same problem all winter. Runny nose, cough (which goes from dry to wet and back again) and sneezing. We use vicks vapo rub during the night, especially, but also during the day before nap time because laying down is when he is the worst. That really helps with the congestion and cough. We also use a diffuser for some different essential oils (eucalyptus, lavander) which also help a great deal and are all natural. We don't leave it running for more than 15 minutes before bed time. Vicks makes a little warming machine that you can put a little medicatied pad on which seems to help too. We also were told it was just a cold and there is nothing we can do because he is so young. I guess you just have to try and make sure he is comfortable and let go of your anxiety (easier said than done, right??) But it is common and it will pass. Just a caveat, ,be careful of the head congestion because it can lead to ear infections. I was sent home from the ped's office being told it was just a cold and two days later we were back with a fever and an ear infection. All that congestion is a great trap for bacteria. Sorry there is no miracle cure that I have, just some understanding for your plight and some simple things that may or may not work. Hope you all feel better!

Wow you have lots of responses! Yes I think it is allergies, with the snoring, sounds like a post nasal drip and sneezing. I have asthma/allergies and my boys ages 4 and 2 have allergies. In our case we are pretty set in our home to prevent allergies. It is not dairy in our case. It does help at times to *double rinse* the laundry and use only vinegar as the fabric softner. It is recommended for babies to double rinse and use vinegar or no fabric softer anyway. But my children have been on zyrtec since they were about 1 year. It works wonderful, they take it everyday. It takes about 1 week or so to kick in and the same time if you discontinue for symptoms to reappear if they are going to. I did take the oldest child to an allergy doc and he had testing (quick, easy, harmless, but not always accurate in kids) and they allergist agreed with zyrtec. I would recommend working on your house first. First get your child out of the house while you clean it really good, get rid of all the dust! When you vacuum keep him out of that room because the duist can get mixed around in the air. Make sure the matress and pillow have a protective cover (most allergens get in those places). Outside play is fine, but bathe him and change his clothes shortly after and keep the windows shut (especially this time of year with the high pollen). And ofcourse none of the big triggers like animal dander, cigarette smoke, or other harmful checmicals. You can probably find some other helpful or more spcific ideas if you google.

STOP using Vicks!! http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2009/01/13/vicks.html
"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, Vicks may make you feel better but it can't help you breathe better."
I would stop using all medicine including saline drops and allow his nasal passages to work for themselves, especially since he isnt bothered. Make sure his room is hydrated with a vaporizer with NO menthol, better yet buy house plants. House plants breath in harmful materials that leech from the household stuff (paint, plastic, rugs etc.) See my blog of April 8th http://mammakat.blogspot.com/

dairy may not produce more mucus (unsure if that is true), but it certainly doesn't help the mucous he already has to go away. i would probably not give him immunizations until the extreme end of the timeframe allotted (if you give immunizations at all). and when you give them, if you do, give them one at a time, not all shots together. the dr. can get them seaprately, and it will probably cost you more money, but your childs health is worth it, right? also, if he is in nursery school or day care, it is very usual to have a constant runny nose without having allergies. he may also have seasonal allergies. i wouldn't go to any specialist right now. but it's of course up to you. good luck.

Have yo had him checked for asthma? My son coughed for months and months. They always said he had a cold , but the poor kid couldnt play without coughing terribly. I finally told the doctor we needed to do something else. They had tried antibiotics, prednisone, vaporizors and a rescue inhaler. After ONE week on a preventative inhaler he stopped coughing!! We gave it to him 2 times a day and after a month he is only on it once a day. It is rare that he coughs now and when he does it's usually b/c he does have a cold. Maybe look into that. Good luck.

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