6 Year Old with Constant Cough

Updated on January 20, 2013
S.W. asks from Flower Mound, TX
17 answers

I have a 6 yr. old that has been coughing off and on for awhile now. It recently got worse, but it is a dry cough. He gets into these fits of coughing and can't stop, so I finally took him to the pediatrician. They seem to think it is whooping cough, but I am not convinced since my son has only 1 symptom, which is the dry cough(cough doesn't even sound like the description of whooping cough either). He has no other symptoms and noone in our house is sick or even close to it and I know whooping cough is very contagious. My gut feeling is something allergy/asthma related. He doesn't wheeze, but the weird thing is that he does not cough at all during the night or when he is asleep. We won't get test results back for another 3 or so days for whooping cough,but in the meantime I am debating on taking him into see an allergy/asthma specialist. Poor kid, nothing is helping much. Breathing treatments are the only thing that seems to give him any relief(another reason I think it is not whooping cough). Any thoughts?

Allergy meds, over the counter cough meds, etc. do not help. He has had absolutely no symptoms of pertussis(whooping cough) and is up to date on all vaccinations. I went through the entire list of whooping cough on several websites and cough is the only symptom. The cough is not anything unusual and doesn't fit the typical sound. I hate waiting on the results.

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So What Happened?

Ladies, thanks so much for all of the responses. I am relieved(somewhat) to know what it is.....whooping cough! I would not have thought this especially since he had only 1 symptom and had the vaccine. We literally have not been in public places other than the grocery stores this summer due to my son having an injury on his foot that kept him from anything for about 6 weeks. Heck, he probably picked it up in the doctor's office since we had to keep coming back to check the stitches on his foot!! This has not been a fun summer. The doctor gave him antibiotics, which after 24-48 hrs. he is not contagious anymore. Our whole family is now on antibiotics for preventative measures. I have decided to keep our Allergy/Asthma specialist appointment just because my son does alot of "hacking" and coughing throughout the year. So, if your child is coughing and nothing is helping, get them into the doctor for a pertussis test!

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answers from Dallas on

Sounds like whooping cough to me. My son had it when he was about 9 or so. I didn't believe the dr's either, but thats what it was. Breathing treatments were the only thing that treated his symptoms. We already knew he had asthma before this episode. Which made his cough worse. GL



answers from Dallas on

This sounds exactly like my daughter. I complained to her cardiologist and pedi enough that they finally sent me to a pulmonologist. Lo and behold - the kiddo has asthma. (Actually she was diagnosed with Reactive Airway Disease but it is basically asthma.) They put her on a nose spray and an inhaler that she takes everyday.....within 2 weeks cough was completely gone and it has never come back. That was last December. I wish that I would have taken her earlier because she is so much better now.

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answers from Dallas on

I suggest taking him to my pediatrician Dr. Bain of Healthy Kids Pediatrics in Frisco. www.healthykidspediatrics.com. She does all she can to make a child well by going beyond Western medicine diagnosis. She'll do things to help get his immune system strong like maybe ordering allergy testing, or possibly suggesting probiotics for his stomach. She just wrote a book called "How The Chiropractor Saved My Life" which includes several amazing case studies of children with chronic symptoms and she helped make them well. Blessings to you and your family during this time!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Allergy season is really lasting longer this year. Allergies were my first thought. I can't see any harm in taking him to an allergy specialist. In the meantime, have you tried allergy medicines like Zyrtec or Claritin to see if they help?



answers from Houston on

I just want to say that this sounds like my son exactly! He just turned six and has had a dry cough for months. We took him to the doctor a while back and she thought he was just doing it out of habit. She also mentioned maybe he had a tickle in his throat and to try some honey and lemon juice. I'm beginning to think it is allergy related. If I make sure he intakes a lot of fluids, then I notice he doesn't cough as much. Like your son, he does not cough at night either nor does he wheeze or have any other symptoms. He coughs so forcefully that people say "Bless you." because they think he is sneezing! I've tried getting him to cough quieter or to just clear his throat. I really don't want to put him on any medicine. Let us know what happens with your son!



answers from Dallas on

Did you check your house for black mold infection? do the research on google. A lot of mold symptoms are taken as an allergy and asthma. there are a lot more symptoms everyone in our family has that we didn't even think it's connected to the mold.
And in respond to Lori B. My 3 kids are patients of dr Bain. and 2 of them have cough already since march. She does nothing about it, no matter how many times i came to sick visits with this problem. Until I insist to put them on breathing treatment it was like this - buy some drops from them, or allergy syrop, or else. they didn't take this problem seriously at all. It just happened few days ago i found another mom's review with the same cough problem that was not taken care of by dr Bain, poor kid develop pneumonia. Maybe 5 years ago Dr. Bain was that good but now i think she has too many patients to really care about them. I'm disappointed with her, to my my kids she was no better than any other doctor.



answers from Phoenix on

my step son has a chronuc cough..no fever no runny nose.just coughs all the time.worse at night.drs say its asthma but nebulizer dont help at all.dont kniw what to do over the counter meds dont work..just worried...what else can i do..he needs a good nights sleep



answers from Dallas on

I had a constant dry cough as a kid, to the point that all the other kids in my class would sigh when I started coughing and couldn't stop. Once I started allergy treatments at age 10, the cough went away. I think you are on the right track by suspecting allergies or asthma. Good luck!


answers from Dallas on

I'd wait for the results. If it is whooping cough I don't think other family members would necessarily get it or present as harsh an illness... especially if they had been vaccinated with the DPT. But if your 6 year old had a DPT the pertussis (P) part I believe IS whooping cough. I think you can still get it, but milder.

I would say If the test is negative then consider the allergist. But if the doc thinks whooping cough I would not discount it. He may have one symptom now, but did it start with cold like symptoms. I believe "whooping" cough has a specific sound. Does his cough sound unusual?

I'm sorry for your little guy and his discomfort. I hope you find relief soon.


answers from Dover on

I have allergy induced asthma and this year it has been particularly bad. Even when I seemed better the cough has lingered. Doctor recently started me on Singular and I have been much better ever since. Wait on the results and if negative, ask about allergies.



answers from Tyler on

Hey -
I am interested in the fact that you said it sounds like allergy/asthma to you. My son has allergy/asthma at times. But, any asthma attack he has - has always started with a cold - except for 1 time. In that one time, it was about this time of year and he just started coughing. I finally took him to the doctor and they IMMEDIATELY said it was an asthma cough and to treat him like he was having an asthma attack (he didn't have any wheezing, so I never thought it was asthma). So, I started him up on the albuterol treatments. He had to remain on them constantly for about 3 days and sure enough, the cough stopped. That was the FIRST time that just a cough was the only symptom. But, that for sure was it (and he did NOT cough at night - daytime only).

So, if your son has asthma symptoms, that may be it!

Good luck,



answers from Dallas on

When you talk to your pediatrician again, ask about the "100 day cough". My husband had this persistant, annoying cough that wouldn't go away and no over the counter meds would help. He went to see the doctor and that's what he "diagnosed". We thought is was more..."I don't know what it is, so I'll call it this 100 day cough..." thing. But looking on the internet, apparently it is real. And you just have to wait it out. The good news is that is did go away. Being such a young child I think seeing an allergy doctor is certainly reasonable and won't hurt anything. But this gives you another avenue to look at. Good luck!



answers from Buffalo on

I am thinking allergies too, My son has asthma and there was a kid in my other son's swimming class that always coughed all through class, it was allergies, and asthma that they had no idea.

I would def. still get the results, but I would have them run a full allergy panel on him and see an allerginist. This may be a food allergy where because you are stillintoducing the allergin daily he is reacting.

My middle child is allergic to eggs, I took him in to the Doctors. 7 days after he started with resperatory symptems, and the Doctors. to only hear from the Doctors that it is just a cold and needs to run its course. durring the next 7 days I sware his lips were turning blue but no one else saw it. took him in again only to hear it again its just a cold let it go. Now I am getting mad not 1 test, not 1 xray nothing, so in the course of another 7 days I found a different Doctors and made an appointment and now his nail beds were turning blue. THIS IS NOT IN MY HEAD. so the day before the new Doctors appointment we saw his regular Doctors and was told again that it was just a cold and I am waisting my time. I took him to the new Doctors and he rushed a xray blood test cultures, to origonally think it was pneumonia, to finally find out he is VERY allergic to eggs.

The point is not all doctors are the perfect fit for us and our families, if in a couple of days you do not like the route he is taking there is nothing wrong with seeking other opinions, it saved my son's life.

Good luck and please keep us posted on to his outcome.



answers from Minneapolis on

I think I would wait out the results and if it comes out negative then go aheah and make the appointment with the allergist. I think I would also ask for some Prednisone. A little bit of steroids go a long way, especially if he is responding to Nebs.
From what you describe, the fact that he is ONLY 6 with up to date vaccines and your feeling that it is not Whooping Cough, I would think allergies or reflux. Good luck and let us know the results.



answers from New York on

It is possible to have an illness without the typical symptoms, so he might still ahve whooping cough. It could also just be lingering from a mild cold. If you're worried, get some recommendations from friends and family about a good allergist/asthma specialist. It could also be reflux, although both asthma and reflux seem to get worse when the child is lying down. I hope he feels better soon!


answers from Austin on

An allergy specialist sounds like a good idea. I have always had allergies, but it wasn't until I went to a specialist that I was able to find out exactly what I'm allergic to, learn that the allergies can trigger asthma, and also find out that some coughing is caused by acid reflux instead.



answers from Dallas on

If he's had his vaccinations, he wont' sound like the typical whooping cough. My brother had it a few years ago and the only symptom was he'd cough until he passed out. Didn't sound like a terribly bad cough. Also, my neighbor and another friend's son had it 2 years ago (it was going around). Both had their vaccinations and neither sounds like a terribly bad cough. It just lasted forever. In fact, the second one seemed much more like allergy type cough, but turned out to be whooping cough. I guess what I'm getting at is if he's had his vaccinations, it might not sound that bad, and maybe it's not even that contagious, but it still could be whooping cough.

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