15 answers

Rad-lingering Cough After Cold

Hello all. My son is 5 and was diagnosed with Reactive Airways Disease last year (a fancy term for asthma, they won't diagnose kids under 6). He had pneumonia right at birth and was hospitalized the first month and on oxygen until he was about 3 months old, so his lungs have already taken a beating. He started kindergarten a few weeks ago, and he has already gotten sick. He is finally better and acting like himself, but the same thing that always happens when he gets sick, has happened. He has a chronic cough. He coughs so hard, it makes his eyes water and he holds his stomach. He is so active, and he can't play without going into a coughing fit. Even when he is telling a story, he starts coughing. I haven't taken him to the Dr for it lately, usually they just tell me use a humidifier, and try and wait it out. I had asthma when I was younger, and remember the feeling of coughing uncontrollably. In fact, I still get a lingering cough after a cold.

Is there anything that you moms have found that helped? He has a Neb with albuterol, but that only helps when he's congested, not the dry hacking cough he has. The humidifier only sometimes helps. Any ideas that works with your kids with RAD or asthma? Thanks!


1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks to everyone that responded! His cough is still there, but greatly improved. It seems like it didn't last as long this time! His pediatrician had told me they don't generally diagnose asthma is kids younger than 6, because there are certain tests (breathing, etc) that a young child cannot do or cannot comprehend the instructions to attempt. Also it seems 6 is the magic age that the asthmatic issues start to clear up on their own. If all the symptoms are there for asthma, they will treat with the same type of drugs and call it Reactive Airways Disease. It seems that RAD and asthma are used interchangeably too. I remember going through breathing tests at a young age for treatment purposes, when I was diagnosed with asthma at 2 months old! I have also personally used Singulair without much help, but I am going to take him back in and see what new battle plan we can get. I am still very interested in natural remedies to ease the post cold cough, it seems the most helpful things for him has just been the humidifier and vicks rubbed on his feet every night:)

Featured Answers

Hi V.,

I have to say that doTERRA essential oils are extremely effective. For asthma, I have seen equal parts of lavender, lemon, and peppermint work wonders. Many people apply those to the soles of the feet as soon as they sense an asthma attack looming, and it stops it in its tracks.

Blessings ~


It does sound like he has been through a lot.

I would look at the chemicals in the house that he is exposed to. The vapors from cascade and the like are not good for asthma same with Lysol and other cleaning sprays.

I help moms get safer products into their homes. If you want more information or a pamphlet let me know.

click on contact me

More Answers

Hi V.,

I have a question for you. WHO said that they cannot diagnose asthma in kids under 6? I'd run, fast, to get another opinion! My daughter was hospitalized when she was 4, the cause? ASTHMA! (She's been hospitalized several times since, but its finally under control.) I too am an asthma sufferer, and I have that horrid chronic cough, which would be a whole lot worse without my medication. As for your 5 yr. old, yeah, I'd get another opinion, maybe from an allergy specialist if for no other reason than to rule out asthma, its a dangerous disease. Good luck!

Hi V.,
I know you have heard a lot but, PLEASE READ THIS.
My son who is now 5.5 was dx with RAD at about 1. Every cold he has turns into the dry hacky cough. The nebs work most of the time to break that up. As soon as I start to hear a cough we start albuterol nebs...so we don't get to the dry hacky stage. If he jumps to the dry hacky stage I have to make sure he is doing the nebs every 4 hours (sometimes even at night). In a few days it loosens up. He also was on singular for about a year to two and it worked GREAT. It kept colds away....yes it was like a miracle drug. In addition to the albuterol he has been on a "long term med" to keep colds away (I can't remember if we did this with the singular or not...(I think so). Anyway, so he was on pulmacort but, last year he was referred to a pediatric pulmonologist (who is now with Childrens pulm...Tania Kahn...we loved her) and she put him on an inhaler for the "routine daily med...even when your not sick med...that helps the lungs longer term" and she switched us from the nebulizer pulmocort (because of the time consuming and he was old enough to really do a MASK inhaler) ...sorry can't think of it. We stopped the inhaler over the summer but have started back up again with school now in session. So I STONGLY recommend a pediatric pulmonologist to follow your son. Your pediatrician may have one they like to refer to. Your son does not have to be in so much pain and have such a chronic cough. It may also be allergy related in addition to the RAD...see below.(you can stop here but, the rest is the rest of our story).

WE did get the referral to the ped pulm. due to frequent stridor episodes and er visits that were probably allergy related (we were in an apt temp between houses that allowed pets so although we did not have one, we both felt terrible while there). That is when we found he had allergies. Good luck and let us know what happens.

I don't really have time to read through all your responses but ask your doctor for singulair. It for allergies/athsma and it works well. My daughter has had a lingering cough that lasts weeks and weeks after the cold is gone and the singulair has helped a lot.

I can't say for sure in your case, but I will share my own story. I got sick at some point many years ago and had a lingering cough - so much coughing, I would vomit at the end of a coughing fit (incidentally my 8 month old has this right now). I had several tests, and after deciding it wasn't anything they could measure, it was asthma. I used inhalers. I went to a specialist after a few years and he explained to me that they didn't really know how or why asthma happens, and it can stop and start any time on it's own. I left that doctor's office resolved that it was no more. I trained for a marathon, and I took yoga. Yoga has several lung expanding poses that did amazing things for my breathing. Kids can do yoga too - you could try a mommy and me class. I highly recommend this.

I never had asthma again. I can go into details about waking up in the middle of the night unable to breathe ad scared to death - it was real - but somehow it just "went away"... perhaps it is through strengthening the lungs through running, and yoga exercises. I am not sure, but it may be worth a try.
Good luck.

Hi V.-

I wonder if your son may also have allergies- My son had a lingering cough this summer and was diagnosed with allergies, which can be treated with meds. I really wonder if that dry cough really is just asthma, and not allergies as well. If I were you, I would get a referral for a specialist at Children's, or at National Jewish, that specializes in respiratory medicine-the top resp. hospital in the US, actually. Anyway, they would be able to give you more information than just "wait it out." I hate hearing that from doctors b/c they don't know how to treat something. At least then you could be sure you are doing to right thing. Good luck!

Hi V.,
This might sound crazy, but a diet high in whole foods and apples especially apples help with lung health. I have a great article I could send you if you are interested. If at this age it's hard to get your child to eat fruits and veggies, i would recommend Juice Plus a whole food supplement with 15 fruits and veggies in a gummies, chewable and capsule form. It has been clinically proven to help support the immune system, plus so much more. To learn more go to denverjuiceplus.com. if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

My sister's son would end up in the hospital every time there was a weather change with a severe asthma attack, with being on juice plus, NO hospital visits!!!!!!!The have saved soooooo much money on hospital visit, just by adding jp to their diet.
I hope that helps!

You didn't say where you're getting your care, but I'd go to National Jewish. We just moved to Denver because we couldn't get our son healthy. The doctor's are so great there! As far as not diagnosing Asthma, our son has been diagnosed with it since he was about a year. For our son, what works is reflux medicine (that's the base cause of his issues), and Flovent 44 mcg each morning (it is usually dosed for 2x a day, but our doctor feels no need to over medicate if less is working). When he gets sick, or gets a cough we up the Flovent to 2x a day, and sometimes 110mcg twice a day in really bad circumstances. We always carry a Xopanex inhaler with us, although we've never used it except once when I was too tired to nebulize. We also have Xopanex in two strengths for the nebulizer. We use that maybe once every few months now. He used to be in and out of the ER turning blue, etc. I think his initial diagnosis was also RAD as asthma isn't his issue. They had to switch diagnoses for insurance reasons. Xopanex is Albuterol in a different form. It works much better for our son. The Flovent has taken care of the cough. We also do Singulair if we're going somewhere humid, as well as Allegra, but with the Flovent, those don't seem necessary anymore. We're still working on the reflux end of things to get him off so many meds, but I love our doctors there! We've worked with two different ones for pulmonary and allergies. They are great! GL! I know it's frustrating. Another thought -- the allergist there said a constant cough is a very serious sign and needs to be treated. Our son with allergies now takes Nasonex each night and his cough is gone!

Both my 8 year old son and I have this same set of symptoms, though not as severe. We have both been diagnosed with RAD. Allergies this summer were really triggering RAD symptoms for my son, so I took him to the doctor and he was prescribed Singulaire and Albuterol inhaler. Ironically, this is exactly what I was prescribed when I was first diagnosed, and it worked very well for me.

Since Mike's symptoms are not nearly as severe as your son's, I can't say that I have seen a radical difference since he began treatment last month, though we have had only one instance of increased coughing due to exercise, which was immediately calmed by the inhaler. Thus, I wanted to be sure that you don't rule out the inhaler - I have found that for both me and my son, even one puff on the inhaler before coughing gets into that vicious cycle can stop the symptoms. I used to think the inhaler was only for wheezing and tight chest, but I have since learned to use it at the first sign of the RAD cough, and nip it in the bud.

The other important lesson I have learned is to get the flu shot religously. Every November I used to get the flu, which kept me coughing for at least 8 weeks after recovery. Since I started getting the flu shot, I really haven't had many instances of that lingering, post-illness cough you mentioned. Also, since your son has a history of lung problems, be sure to get him vaccinated for the swine flu as well. I was advised that both my sons need this shot, based just on the fact that they have EVER had a nebulizer treatment (apparently kids with normal lung function should never need a nebulizer treatment).

I also just re-read the other posts and wanted to add that when I was first diagnosed I also took Flovent (I think this is a steroidal inhaler?) and it worked so well that I really didn't need to stay on it (or the singulaire, for that matter). I agree with the others that I would get multiple opinions, and try to get into National Jewish if you are close enough to Denver.

Hope this helps!

I have a four year old that they have diagnosed with asthma. He has the same problem you are talking about. The doc have given him pulmacort and albuterol for the neb. We have to use the pulmacort everyday and the albuterol when needed. My 6 year old daughter had the same problem also until they removed her tonsils and adnoids a couple years ago now she is not so bad. Good luck, hope you get some releif for him cause I too have asthma and it is not fun.

I actually work with a product called Vemma. A friend of mine put her son on it 6 months ago and it is amazing, he has only used his inhaler 2 times since. And before that he was on a liquid steroid and his inhaler all the time. They spent a few days a week at the doctor and it was always hard for him. Vemma is just a liquid vitamin and antioxidant so it is just amazing nutrition for kids as a whole, but the antioxidant we use is mangosteen which is a major anti-inflammatory. This like asthma etc are ALL related to inflammation so if you can lower the inflamation in his body it will really be amazing. We just launched a kids only formula this week called Vemma Next. You can check it out on my website www.vmalifestyle.com

For every box of Vemma next we sell we are donating one to a needy child and part of the proceeds are going to the children's miracle network. I can;t tell you how amazing the product is. I put my kids on it a year ago and then a few month later quit my job to work with the product because I saw what it can do for kids..and adults. Just take a second and check it out. tell me what you think.

Hi V.,

You probably already got the answers you needed, but I had to pipe in, too!

My daughter was diagnosed young with RAD as well, and now is diagnosed with asthma (after age 6, as you point out).

Besides the coughing, the thing with her was that she never got a plain cold- it always turned into bronchitis, so she was always on antibiotics.

I was reluctant to put her on anything, but as the doctor pointed out, she was already on antibiotics all the time, so this was a better alternative. Anyway, she started taking Singulair- a non steroid medication. It has been wonderful. No more coughing, no more bronchitis. I do go back every year just to evaluate her as they say they can grow out of it sometimes. I hope she won't be on it forever, but it has been great.

National Jewish is where we go, they are wonderful with the kids. And to your other question, we did and do use a nebulizer with albuterol when she has been sick. Just quiets the cough a bit. Also a spoonful of honey before she goes to bed.

Good luck!

Hi V. - you might consider taking him to an asthma specialist if you are just visiting your regular pediatrician for symptoms. The cough is caused by lingering inflammation in his airway and they will have some recommendations for you for medications and treatments that your regular doc may not have in mind. They will also probably do a spirometry test which shows exactly how much air is going out of your son's lungs. If your son has RAD/asthma, the test will show it.

Your son should be able talk and play and do everything he needs to without having such a hacking cough. There are treatments out there that can help him.

good luck!

Hi V.- sounds like he is in pain. Please take him right away to a different doctor. We've had an outbreak in Pertussis (whooping cough) in children around here and in a kid with asthma type symptoms it can be very serious. I just got a Pertussis (DPT) booster for myself as a mom as you have to update them every so many years as they wear off. While I could fight it off and deal with the 6-8 weeks of all-night coughing, I might be around a child with asthma or other respiratory problems via playgroup or preschool, etc and don't want to risk passing along something deadly to a little one who can't fight it off due to asthma, etc.

my son was actually diagnosed with asthma at the age of 4, his doctor put him on singulair and then anytime he is going to be doing something really active like riding his bike or running around outside I have him use his inhaler before he starts playing (that is what the specialist suggested). It is so hard seeing them struggle like that, my little guy would get so out of breath and it was awful, now he runs, jumps and plays and is doing so much better.
Make sure he is never around cigarette smoke, vacuum more often and dont let animals sleep in his room this also helps a alot. If you have any other questions feel free to call me ###-###-#### or email ____@____.com

Good luck!

Hi V.,

I have to say that doTERRA essential oils are extremely effective. For asthma, I have seen equal parts of lavender, lemon, and peppermint work wonders. Many people apply those to the soles of the feet as soon as they sense an asthma attack looming, and it stops it in its tracks.

Blessings ~


Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.