Allergies or Something Else?

Updated on May 06, 2009
J.B. asks from Orem, UT
16 answers

My 3 year old daughter's cough started in February. We went to a B-day party where her 1-year old cousin was just hacking everywhere...he was then diagnosed with RSV. I took my daughter to the doctor shortly after and she was diagnosed with a respiratory virus, but not RSV -- but it made her airway constrict and spasm. So we were given an inhaler and it seemed to get better until mid-march. Then she had red-itchy eyes, runny & stuffy nose, and a bad cough every day, all day. I bought Benadryl allergy tablets for her but they make her go to sleep so I only give to her at night. It is now may and she still has the cough and sometimes a runny nose. Her red eyes went away about 2 weeks ago. I don't like giving her Benadryl every night, so I do every other night and last night she coughed the whole night. Are there other OTC medications we could try?? SHe won't take cough syrup. Should I take her to the doctor? She plays just how she always had and her eating habits are the same. She isn't losing any weight and doesn't seem fatigued unless I give her Benadryl?

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K.D.

answers from Colorado Springs on

My doctor reccomended Zyrtec for my sons allergies. It is a once a day, doesn't make them sleepy, and seems to help much more than benadryl. It is a childrens liquid formula and they dont have to take much. Good Luck! Allergies are the worst right now.

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K.S.

answers from Denver on

At this time of the year this could be allergy related. I would hang in there and back off the Benadryl. The body releases the allergend through the mucous it creates. I would prop her pillow up at night so that the mucous is not running down the back of the throat. Also, watch the coloir of the mucous if it is running clear typically no infection is involved

Best to you,

K.

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S.L.

answers from Grand Junction on

I'd definitely make sure it's not something else, but if it isn't . . . Claritin for Kids. My son has to take it every day because of post nasal drip that ends up as fluid in his ears an causes infections. His doc said Claritin is safe enough to take every day.

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C.J.

answers from Colorado Springs on

Sometimes an ongoing cough can be a sign of asthma. Before I was diagnosed I would cough all night long too (no allergies). I was put on an asthma medication and the cough went away. Could just be some kind of allergy, but I would probably take her in and get it checked out to be on the safe side. Good luck.

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S.W.

answers from Pocatello on

Thats a long time to have a cough. I would be taking her to the doctor just to be sure. He will probably want to put her on an inhaler and or an allergy med like claritin. I think they have a kids reactin now too. I like the reactin better but whichever one works if it is allergies. To me it sounds like reactive airways that are just inflamed and the coughing is just making it worse. Its a vicious cycle. Remember that with allergy meds like claritin,and reactin (not benedryl, it works differently)you have to use them for a week or more to get the full benefit of the drug, just like alot of stomach medications, it takes a while for the level of the drug to build up in your system so if you take it one day and not the next it won't be as effective as if you take it everyday for a whole week or more. Thats what my allergist told me.

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M.M.

answers from Denver on

I would try a nasal solution, Xclear works great and it's natural. There's also one called Little Noses I think. We have bad allergies so I can relate to this. We also cut down on the dairy and push more fruits/veggies/water/juices. You might not think that diet has something to do with it but it does. Maybe try cutting out other things like wheat too. Food allergies can have some of these effects too. Good luck!

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A.C.

answers from Colorado Springs on

My 5 & 8 year olds have the same problem. Unless I use their inhalers, coughs can drag on for a month or more. One son was kicked out of school until he saw the doc for his cold cough. Cold was over, cough was not. The doc gave me an albuterol inhaler to use for a week & another w/different meds that was slower to start working but more effective in opening everything up, that was for 4 days. They take Sudafed or Rynatan for the "dry you up" needed.
To me it sounds like allergies if she's got the watering eyes & snots, but it's worth a trip to the doc to rule out something worse. A little Claritin or something daily will be better than her having to tough it out during the day & every other night-she's not getting good rest if she's cough all the time & that's not going to help her get better.
My 5 year old has been taking Claritin for 2 years. He takes the syrup just fine, but in a pinch I mash 1/2 tablet (good trick since it's such a tiny pill) in some applesauce & he handles that well too.
They say they can't diagnose allergies til age 4 (that's what I was told w/both of my little ones), but babies have milk allergies, or soy allergies.. point that out if you get that response. Neither of mine were diagnosable, but they sure did walk out w/the meds & the meds sure did work perfectly to get rid of the symptoms!

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R.P.

answers from Salt Lake City on

I finally found out from my doctor that the cough that can linger on for months after the flu or cold is because your lungs are still inflamed and the coughing just keeps them inflamed. You may want to try a steady dose of Ibuprofin for a day or even two since it is an anti-inflamitory. Of course she is only three so make sure it's the kids dose and maybe talk to the pediatrician. The last time I had the flu, I was ready for the 4 months of coughing (yes, I'd had this before). I took Ibuprofin for one day and the cough was gone. I was amazed. It is strange to take medicine when you don't feel sick, but this really worked.

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J.L.

answers from Pocatello on

I agree that it looks like allergies. Have you tried putting an air purifier in her room? A humidifier may also help with the cough, but probably only with the air purifier.

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J.L.

answers from Provo on

My daughter also gets allergies this time of year. It seems to start early like March. My pediatrician recommended 1/4 the dose of Zyrtec for her every night before bed, it's 24 hours I believe. He said the pollen can pool onto her pillow as well, so to keep that clean and washed. When her allergies get really bad that is what I do and it seems to help. Good luck!

PS Zyrtec doesn't seem to have as many side effects as Benadryl also.

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C.T.

answers from Denver on

Hi J. - my son who just turned 3 has a history much like your daughters. He has struggled with many awful coughs and runny noses. We've tried modifying his diet but it made no difference. Finally doc finally prescribed a round of Amoxicillin and his nose and cough are almost completely clear.

I struggle with asthma and allergies so I have some personal experience with this. I caught the same bug my son did in March and it was awful and hung on forever. My asthma doc changed my inhaler and the cough cleared up immediately. He said I had some residual inflammation that was causing the problems.

I would definitely consider taking your daughter to be evaluated by your pediatrician and possibly an asthma/allergy specialist. It may or may not be an infection like my sons. She definitely has inflammation in her airways - the new symptoms could be a seasonal allergy or even a new cold that make her breathing symptoms worse. With my son, we decided that if the antibiotic didnt help, our next step was the asthma/allergy specialist.

Be sure to talk to your doctor about what OTC stuff you're giving her and he can help you evaluate what will work best for her and give you dosing instructions based on her age and weight. OTC cough and cold medicines are contraindicated in kids as young as your daughter. I was giving my son Sudafed but my doc recommended Mucinex for Kids instead. It was far more effective. Steaming in the bathroom, a humidifier at night work wonders for congestion. Honey works great for dry cough. Cleaning her environment, reducing exposure, washing her hair every night, keeping shoes and dirty clothes outside of the bedroom, and bedding washed in hot water will help if it's allergies.

With some expert advice, I can imagine your daughter will be feeling better in no time!

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G.P.

answers from Boise on

My son didnt' have RSV either, but had the virus - bronchialitis. I was told that the cough can linger and crop up with any little thing for up to a couple years!! I always worry because I have asthma, but the doctor keeps telling me it isn't. I would take her to the doctor to be checked, but it could just be a cold or any little bug that has brought back the cough...that seems to be what my son has right now. Good luck!

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K.D.

answers from Denver on

If the cough is keeping her up at night, get it checked out. There's a lot of options available and many of them have few side effects. One of our boys takes Nasonex which took care of his cough because he no longer had post nasal drip, but our other son uses an inhaler. Neither one coughs at night any more. It's interesting, our then 4 yo never complained about the cough, but when we started the Nasonex, he woke up the next morning and said it was so nice to sleep all night and not wake up coughing. He's a much more content child with a good night's sleep. :) GL!

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B.R.

answers from Denver on

Hi J.,
You'll probably want to speak to a doc to figure out long-term how to help your daughter. But for quick relief from coughing at night, our doc recommended giving warm apple juice (we dilute ours since our daughter is only one but I don't know if you need to). I just pop in 1/2 apple juice and 1/2 water in the microwave for 30 seconds and give it to her in her sippy cup. The warmth helps keep her from waking up too much so she usually can get right back to sleep.

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A.M.

answers from Denver on

Hi J.. It definitely sounds like your daughter could have allergies. I would suggest starting by taking her to an allergist so they can do some skin tests and identify if, in fact, she has allergies and to what. I have suffered with allergies my whole life- I have horrible hay fever Spring, Summer, and Fall and then in the winter I would get sinus infections. About 3 years ago I found an awesome supplement that changed my life! It was a miracle. I no longer suffer from hay fever 3/4 of the year! I may have 2 or 3 bad days in the bad season, but that is a far cry from how I was. I feel like I have my life back. It may be worth a try with your daughter. It is a whole food, completely safe for little ones, and it is really easy to take- its liquid and tastes like black cherry juice. I give it to my daughter every day and she loves it! If you are interested or want to know more, email me at [email protected]____.com luck and I hope you get some answers.

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K.D.

answers from Salt Lake City on

We thought my husband had developed allergies after he had a cough and stuffy nose for 2 months. He finally decided to go get it diagnosed and it turns out he had walking pneumonia. Not as bad as the regular and nobody else got it but he was pretty miserable. They can do allergy tests on your daughter if that is really what it is. Take her to the doctor.

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