6 Yr Old STILL Coughing, Is It an Allergy?

Updated on February 24, 2012
D.B. asks from Grand Prairie, TX
17 answers

What are reasons my son could (still) be coughing?? What are natural remedies and ways to prevent coughing?? My son is 6 1/2 yrs old. He has a cough that just won't go away. For approximately 3-4 weeks. Here are things we HAVE tried: expensive a/c filters and changing often, had air ducts cleaned out yesterday afternoon (hadn't though of that 'til then), nightly humidifer, planning on getting multi-room humidifier soon (currently on order). He had walking pneumonia back in January. He seemed to get better from that and was OK for a week. Then began coughing again. The new cough was different from pneumonia cough. Pneumonia cough was deep terrible sounding cough (peditrician said she could here a wheez also). (He was on antibiotics for the penumonia and prescription cough medicine.) (She even prescribed him an inhaler but he got better before we needed to start using that.) My husband says current cough could be allergy related (I guess), but I thought allergies cause itchy, dry eyes, itchy throat, and runny nose?!? can an allergy cause coughing with congestion and NO runny nose, dry eyes?? I don't have allergies myself so need help with diagnosing allergies. We currently give him children's triaminic cold & cough nightime over the counter medicine about every other night (on nights cough is keeping him from getting to sleep). We've used the triamic 4x so far. I guess I'll need to go back to peditrician for his current cough..as I don't want to continue to give him the triaminic as that's not really curing the cough. Any advice on cause and/or treatment?

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answers from Dallas on

I would definitely take him back to the doctor. My daughter has had lingering coughs and they got so bad she would gag on her food and throw up b/c she would break out into a coughing fit while she was eating. She also wasn't sleeping at night b/c of it. Her pediatrician gave her Orapred, also known as prednisolone. I was a little worried about giving her a steroid, but 3 days of it, and the cough was gone. Finally some peace for my baby! It has worked for us twice now-- she had RSV when she was a baby and is now prone to catching coughs and may have asthma. I am so thankful for it. We had no side effects from it whatsoever. The stuff pretty much worked immediately.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I don't know if anyone suggested this, but for my son, when he has a bad cough because of allergies, we use his inhaler, and it's much better after just a couple of puffs. I would try using that, if you still have it from when he had pneumonia, just to see if it helps open up his airways.

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answers from Dallas on

Sounds like Asthma to me! Especially since your doctor prescribed and inhaler. There are two types of inhalers though. One type is for prevention and the other is when there is a flare-up. Talk to your doctor but the albuterol should help clear it up in 3 days giving him 2 puffs twice a day. If he has flare ups more often then he'll need a preventative. My daughter had that cough/congestion off and on until from 2yrs until 6ys and has now outgrown it. It was hard for me to understand that it was asthma because I never heard her wheezing. But like one of the other mothers said the membranes flare up and it then becomes hard to get the congestion out. The inhaler just helps open those up and allows it to finally clear up. Tarrant Co ranks among the top ten most polluted counties in the whole country. So I truely believe that young children in this area are more suseptalbe to these flare-ups due to the pollution and allergies inducing them. Left untreated he could get pneumonia again or cause damage to his lungs. Trust me, the inhaler is so much easier than hearing your little man struggle with coughing and breathing!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

use the inhaler that was prescribed and see if it helps his cough.

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answers from Washington DC on

The cough could be lingering from the pneumonia. It could also be asthma that was related to the pneumonia. Have you tried the inhaler to see if it helps?

For my son, he had a cough that just wouldn't quit for 3 weeks. We tried every kids OTC medicine. Nothing helped. We took him to the pediatrician 2x. She said it was a cold. We had a planned allergist meeting, and when the allergist walked in, he took one look at my kid and reemed us out! My son was having an asthma attack and getting weaker by the day and minute. He did a lung test on him and my son's intake was in the 70s. It should be above 120. He sent us home with 2 inhalers and a steriod prescription. Within 3 days he was almost cough free. Now we know!

I would take your son back to the dr. and ask him for a nebulizer treatment. If it is asthma, the treatment will help immediately.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Bismarck on

By what you describe it doesn't sound likely but one thing to consider is possibly pertussis (whooping cough). This is often called the 100 day cough. I know most people are vaccinated for this but there are many cases of this right now. My son was diagnosed with it two weeks ago and the school said they have had several kids with it already this year (the health dept. said something about the vaccine being changed and not as effective anymore). It never hurts to have him tested just in case...especially if he is coughing really hard or mostly at night.

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answers from Chicago on

My daughter (almost 7) has had a chronic cough every winter for her whole life. It started with RSV at age 3 months. As a toddler she would get bronchitis and pneumonia. She used a nebulizer pretty much all winter. Then as she started getting older, it was like an annoying "post-nasal" drip cough. She wasn't sick, and had no runny nose. I took her to an allergist but she tested negative for allergies. He called it Vasomotor Rhinitis and put her on Nasonex. It helped for several months, but this past fall the cough started up again. Not sick, but she sounded stuffy all the time and had to breathe thru her mouth. She needed Delsym to sleep at night. I called the allergist back and he suggested that her adenoids could be enlarged. Sure enough, a visit to the ENT confirmed it and they came out 10 days ago. He said the cough was from constant post nasal drip from the enflamed adenoids. Now, she breathes clearly and the cough is almost completely gone, on NO meds. Sooo, you might want to take him to an allergist or ENT... good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

You said he had walking pneumonia? Well... then coughing for this long especially after having pneumonia is normal. If he'd had a chest cold I would still say that it's normal to have a lingering cough.

Ask the pediatrician, but he should be able to take the pediatric version of Delsym cough syrup. It doesn't have anything else in it except the treatment of coughing. I wouldn't give a child Cold & Cough medicine unless they have symptoms of a cold WITH a cough. The Delsym is wonderful for quieting a cough, but making it productive when you do have to cough. It also works for a solid 12 hours and is non-drowsy but it shouldn't make your child hyperactive either.

It's a lifesaver in our house.

Remember that a cough is a symptom. The cough isn't what needs to be "cured" but whatever is causing it. And a lingering cough after an illness like pneumonia could mean that his lungs are still expelling fluid. In other words, not allergy.

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answers from Dallas on

We went through the whole coughing thing with our son, but he had/has some nasal allergy symptoms, too. We spent a fortune on air duct cleaning, got him a new mattress, found a home for one of our dogs, and no longer have our 2 cats. We did all kinds of things trying to help him.

The thing that has helped the most is putting him on Zyrtek (actually we buy the generic - it's tons cheaper). He takes it every night during the spring and fall, and he is much, much better. His doctor recommended it, and it has been great. I hope you find something that helps your son, too.

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answers from Portland on

It is common for a cough to linger on that long after a cold or flu. The mucous membranes remain irritated. Three to four weeks after pneumonia is not long at all. Sometimes it lingers because the cough becomes a habit.

I would not assume it's caused by allergies. It's best to not give medicine unless it's needed. I would call the advice nurse and ask about it.

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answers from Kansas City on

It is called Variant asthma and my daughter has it. We have been trying to figure it out for years. My daughter will be 8 next month. We have started allergy shots and she is doing alot better. We call her coughing "A coughing fit". It starts when the weather changes and when the coughing starts we give her albuterol it helps. She has been sent home from school for coughing to much. I have tried every cough syrup out there. Humidifiers dont work. The cough is always a dry cough. We took all stuffed animals out of her room and put her mattress and pillow in a sealed bag. As far as getting some sleep I give her a dose of the inhaler and a benadryl. Hope this helps.



answers from Dallas on

Our experience is very similar to MomJP below with persistent sry cough lingeringm for long periods. Her colds go back and run down vs running down her face. Always tought it was post nasal drip due to allergies but Had allergy testing done--NO allergies but xray reflected enlarged adenoids. Our pedi also ordered an upper CT scan to see her sinuses. We found out in a few hours she has CHRONIC sinusitis. Ent put her on a long course of treatment of very strong antibiotics to see if this helps before going the surgical route. Her adenoids will have to be removed and she will have to have Sinus surgery IF the antibiotics dont work. It's been almost 3 weeks on the antibiotics and she still is sniffling and trying to clear out junk. She has had to feel miserable for a long time. I hope you find what is causing it. Good luck! I feel so blessed our pedi recommended the cT scan. I believe another pedi very easily would have labeled this as an onset to asthma and put her on a bunch of medications without finding the real cause.


answers from Dallas on

Take your child to a doctor to make sure it has not turned bacterial. That is what happened to my daughter. Friday she was all clear (dr visit) Monday she was still caughing so we went back. Bacterial infection!



answers from Dallas on

We just went through something simiar with our son. He woke up on a Monday mid September. He had a small cough. By midday at school, the cough was "out of control". It stayed "out of control" until about Dec, and it was only slightly better better. During all of this, we went to the pedi 5 times, acute care kids 2 time and 1 time to the ER. We went to the allergist for testing & treatment several times. We ended up going to a naturopath who told us he's allergic to nylon. Between the allergist and the naturopath, we went to harwood floors. He has not coughed since we made the change in the floors. My husband and I don't have these allergies either.


answers from Tulsa on

Your son sounds like me. I got sick in May with bronchitis that was very close into turning into pneumonia and I coughed until September. After everything cleared up in my chest it was just a dry, persistent cough. I got sick again in January, it cleared up, and now my dry, persistent cough is back. It's worse if my mouth is dry, so I drink a lot of water. My cough has nothing to do with allergies, but has just been hanging around after I get sick. Medicine wasn't helping, so I have just been dealing with it.



answers from Dallas on

There is a type of asthma that produces a cough instead of a wheeze. My son had it as a child but outgrew it. Not much helped.



answers from Tyler on

As others have said, it sounds like an asthma cough. My son has been considered asthmatic since he was a baby and thus they have treated him that way with a nebulizer and inhaler, etc. He's older now and at around 5, he really started not having symptoms very much. One summer (after not really being sick for over a year), he developed a cough that would not go away (no wheeze). I finally took him to the doctor and they said it was an asthma cough. I was surprised because generally all of his asthma episodes were brought on by being sick from allergies or something else and then they developed into asthma symptoms (generally including the wheezing). That was the first time he had NO other symptoms.

So, anyway, the point is, he may need to be on a nebulizer or inhaler for a while to get over this cough. I would say that the pneumonia has weakened his lungs and he is not 100% over that yet and his lungs may need some babying. Also, just FYI, my daughter had pneumonia once and I commented that I was hearing any wheezing. They said that I would not hear any wheezing because the sacs were so full of fluid that there would be no wheezing sound. I had to continue to use the nebulizer on her for weeks after the pneumonia.

Until you can see the doctor, I would definitely try the inhaler you have.

Good luck!

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