17 answers

What causes my 18 months old to cough without a cold?

My 18 month old has just developed a "rattly" cough but has no other symptoms. I looked up croup but I don't think that is it. Any thoughts? Everything I am reading says a cough usually comes after a few days of cold symptoms. But we have no runny nose, stuffiness or fever. His energy is good and seems happy except for this cough.

What can I do next?


Some moms said it could be allergy, or dry cold air, while some moms said it could be a sign of asthma. Take the child to the pediatrician.

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Could very well be allergies causing post-nasal drip. I usually use a humidifier at this time of year to keep mucus from building up in my kid's throats at night and that seems to help. Good luck!

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I highly agree that this could be allergy related (food or respiratory). It definitely doesn't seem like a cold or croup (cough that's like a barking seal) to me. Often times, allergies will trigger a response of post-nasal drip (and usually stuffiness) which then causes the cough. You might want to check with the Pediatrician about any allergies. Sometimes the fluid in the back of throat due to allergies could also cause sinus infections or ear infections if he isn't able to get rid of it, especially when he's sleeping (lying flat)...Benadryl can usually help w/that. Have him drink more fluids, use a humidifier and saline nose spray as needed...and contact the Pediatrician. Hope your little one feels better! - B.

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It could be something environmental. My son developed sensitivities and would start to cough in response to any chemical or artificial scents such as "air fresheners", scented candles, colognes and perfumes, aerosols, chemical cleaners (anything not vegetable derived), etc.

Just keep an eye on it but don't be worried. If you're trying to be natural, which I am also, you'd notice that a lot of what you read won't apply to your child. He likely has a very well developed immune system because of his breastfeeding and your natural lifestyle so he will likely develop coughs without other symptoms. All this means is that his body is doing an excellent job of fighting off things that would otherwise make him sick. This is what I've researched and and have experienced with my own son who is now 28 months. He develops coughs maybe once or twice a year but it only lasts a few days and no other symptoms ever show up. So like I said, it's usually just a sign that his body is fighting off something that has invaded his body without giving it a chance to take over and make him ill, which is why you don't notice other symptoms. It's localized in his throat.

Anyway, if it gets worse, or you notice other symptoms, I would HIGHLY recommend homeopathic treatment. It's wonderful stuff and fits perfectly with a natural lifestyle!
Just make sure you find a classical homeopath with experience and trust your gut!

By the way, don't listen to pediatricians or conventional medical information you find on the net. It's bogus.

1 mom found this helpful

I have 2 little boys, ages 3 and 5 and I use the Boiron homeopaths for EVERYTHING! I love them. Our family also uses the very potent and highly effective Oregano Oil. The research and benefits on this oil are so vast, that I suggest you google this. I would recommend getting him checked for allergies (both food and environmental) by Dr. David Karaba at East West Medical in Fullerton ( ###-###-####). He specializes in acupuncture and NAET and has helped my boys tremendously. I have a natural mothering store in Fullerton, Belly Sprout, and I send everyone to him!

I am also a green mama and go the natural route first with my family. I highly recommend Dr. Feders book, "Natural Baby and Childcare" for all of my families. Dr.Feder will be doing her "Vaccination Safety Workshop" at my store December 6th from 10-12noon and she is phenomenal.

Belly Sprout will also be hosting the Holistic Moms network in January among other classes and workshops. Check us out at www.bellysprout.com.

You are doing the best for your baby by going green!

1 mom found this helpful

this could be beginning signs of asthma. my daughter was diagnosed with asthma at 10 months (though it took a nasty cold to bring it out). she never wheezed and most babies dont! also her lungs sounded nice and clear. but the beginning signs are persistant coughing that will worsen at night and after activities. i would have your lil one checked out. i see that you try to keep things pretty natural so i would suggest to use a cool mist humidafire while your baby sleeps this will decrease any inflamation in their airways. your babies dr may want to put them on a med if its asthma but you can ask about natural ways to handle they should be able to give you a sugestion. this also could be allergy related too. i would really talk to your babies dr. i hope this helps good luck!

Could very well be allergies causing post-nasal drip. I usually use a humidifier at this time of year to keep mucus from building up in my kid's throats at night and that seems to help. Good luck!

Might be asthma. Get him in to see his doctor, as this might be somthing that needs to be treated. Natural is good, but we all need good old western medicine sometimes!

I hope this passes soon!

Merry Christmas

Could be allergies. Or maybe asthma. My friend's son also coughed with no other symptoms (especially at night) and his pediatrician said it was asthma. At the time they were renovating their home so there was lots of dust in the air which apparently made it worst. Now that their renovations are done he is doing much better... Try and think if something has changed in your son's environment lately that may be bothering him.


Here's what I found, I am not sure if you read this yet http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/health_advice/facts/cough.htm

My daughter also did this, turned out to asthma.....with the fires in Los Angeles we are going through it again. She rarely gets the wheezing that most people associate with asthma.

My boys have ocassionally developed coughs without any cold symptoms first. And with most of their illnesses, it doesn't affect their energy at all (oh to be a kid again!) You would know if it was croup, my oldest has had that and he gets a horrible-sounding cough, like a barking seal, you can't miss it. I would just keep a humidifer running in his room when he sleeps. If the cough is bothering his sleep, you could put Vicks on the bottom of his feet then put sock on - since I learned that trick my boys have not been bothered with any coughing while they sleep. If you don't already keep him away from sugar, definitely do that now while he is sick. It will help his body fight off the sickness faster. I also give my boys Airborne chewables (1/4 of a tablet at this age); I'm not crazy about that because of the sweeteners, but Airborne always helps me get better more quickly, or prevents me from getting sick if I catch it soon enough, and it seems to help my boys, too.

What your son has sounds like normal stuff from my experience, but if it concerns you, I would take him to the doctor. I'm not one to run to the doctor myself, but every now and then, if I get nervous about their illness, I take them right away.

I hope this is helpful!

I just went to the pediatrician 3 days ago with the same symptoms in my 18 month old, and the Dr. said it was probably post-nasal drip due to allergies. He recommended a humidifier, saline nose drops, and benadryl (if the cough got really bad--disturbing sleep).

This recently happened to my 16-month old son. He developed a rattling, junky-type cough out of nowhere. Just woke up one morning with this awful cough. He had no other symptoms of a cold (fever, stuffy nose, runny nose) so, I, too, thought it could be allergies. I watched it for 5-6 days, and though it lessened a bit in frequency, it did not lessen in intensity. So, I took him to the pediatrician to be checked. His lungs and ears were both fine and his nose looked clear. The doctor said the cough was probably a result of post-nasal drip due to a cold. Believe it or not, they can have only a cough and no other cold symptoms. She just said the mucus was running down the back of his throat instead of out his nose like it usually does. Sure enough, the cough went away a few days later. So, I genuinely beleive it was a little cold with no other symptoms. Hope this helps and that your little one is better soon!

During the winter my son gets the same thing. No cold, just the cough and a wheezy chest. His pediatrician has him on albuterol. It is an asthma medicine, but he only takes it when he gets a wheezy cough in his chest. I would take your son to the doctors just to get a check up.

There are several homeopathic remedies that can be used in his case.
See here for details

Is he a mouth breather or a nose breather, you can tell is his mouth open alot, it might be he has a dry throat, or allergies , just to be sure doctors check up should be made.

I too try to be natural and my son had a cough for months, it felt like, with no other symptoms. It did subside. I use homeopathic Briar Rose to help fend off cold and Lithy Tree when the coughs are definitely in the chest (versus dry) (12 drops a few days a week. Check Dr. Feder's website). Otherwise, give tea with honey (I think honey has healing values). Actually Dr. Feder's website will give other ideas to naturally heal colds. Her site http://drfeder.com/index.php?page=home

Hi K.,
I know I'm late responding but I always run the cold air humidifier when my son has a cold. It helps keep the stuffiness down and it keeps his airways moist. I also run an air purifier every night. I would have the doctor check out the baby anyway but sometimes you just have to let the cough run its course.

Good luck!

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