Chronic Coughing Toddler

Updated on February 01, 2009
A.B. asks from Somerset, MA
19 answers

hi,

my daughter (18 months old) has had a cough that only appears at night, for about 8 weeks now. it started after a cold she had and we've been trying to figure out what's causing it. she wakes up at night because of coughing (and she's not a good sleeper to begin with).

we thought maybe it was mold because we have a finished room in the basement that the three of us sleep in and we had a humidifier going for a couple weeks because of her cold. but we slept at a friends house for a few nights and she still had the coughing.

we also wondered if it's the "little noses" stuff i used to flush out her nose while she was sick...only because we've never used it before.

THANKFULLY she isn't up all night with it, like the poor little one in someone else's question i just read.

the doctor seemed to know nothing. any ideas?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

thanks everyone for all your suggestions. i'm thinking she has post nasal drip because she has no trouble breathing and isn't coughing a lot, just a couple times a night and now it's waking her up from her naps, so it's when she's relaxed and lying down. i'm going to check some of your suggestions out :)

ps: i did take her to the doctor, who checked her lungs and they were clear. today she's a bit of a "wetter" cough, which seems a little like a regular cold so i'm not worried. also, we're sleeping upstairs in another room now to test out the mold theory. we've been in the room two nights and no change. thanks again to everyone for helping out.

Featured Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

R.S.

answers from New London on

Hi - my friends daughter had that and doctors link it with asthma...don't know if that helps. Good luck!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.H.

answers from Boston on

sounds like post nasal drip, my son had the same thing. The doctor offered to put him on an anti-bi b\c there might have been a little sinus infection seen it was about 6 weeks and only when he slept. After taking the anti-bi it went away.

More Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.B.

answers from Boston on

I had this battle with my little one. Her coughs were so frequent that I had her tested for cystic fibrosis (negative thank God). Ended up asthma. She is on a preventative inhaler (Flovent) daily and it has been a miracle. Good luck. (Stay at home mom too! eating bon bons!) I hear your pain!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

I.G.

answers from Boston on

Hi A.,

My daughter is 16 months old and has had a similar cough for about 4 weeks. It followed her cold and was mostly at night, though now she is also coughing during nap time. The cough is caused by congestion in her chest, she coughs up the phlem and is not able to spit it out, she swallows it again so the congestion never goes away. Unfortunately the only way she gets rid of the phlem is when she coughs so hard she vomits, that brings lots of the phlem up but it doesn't always happen that way. I did find a cough syrup that is natural. It's called Hyland's Homeopathis it's 100% natural. Her doctor approves use of this cough syrup and it tends to help keep her coughing to a minimun at night and loosens up the phlem. I bought it at CVS. Try it out, hope it works.

Good Luck!

I.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

R.K.

answers from Springfield on

Vicks on the soles of the feet works great I don't know why it just does. My little guy did this after he had a cold it might just be the cold that is going around. My son is 21 months and the doctor gave us 1/2 tsp of triaminic cold and allergy to use at night and it pretty much knocked him out and after a few nights with it of solid sleep his little body was able to fight off whatever was hanging around causing the cough. You can't fight something off if you are't well rested. If the doctor doesn't feel its anything other than a lingering cough there isn't much you can do for it. You can try honey or some warm tea.

P.H.

answers from Boston on

What worked for us was 1st thing..buy here a brand new pillow. We had given our son a pillow we had and it was causing him reactions (if you have washed pillows they cna get mold in them) he was great after that.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

L.M.

answers from Boston on

Hello A.,
My son is 19 months and he had a recurrent cough for almost a month. The doctor could find nothing as well. We requested a chest x-ray and it was positive for pneumonia! After antobiotics, he has been free of the cough for two weeks, knock on wood!!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.K.

answers from Hartford on

Hi A.,
I had the same issue with my daughter but it started when she was older. Every single time she got a cold, the chronic cough began. I took her to doctors, etc. FOR YEARS!! She is now diagnosed with asthma but it is only triggered when she first has a cold. Now, once the cold and cough begins, she has to take an inhaller. this does help and decreases the endless nighttime cough. It was unbearable listening to her at night. Talk about feeling helpless! Sounds so similar! Good luck! I know how tough it is listening to your child cough like that and nothing you can do. I would at least mention that you heard this to your doctor? It may help! good luck!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

Y.D.

answers from Springfield on

My guess would be to have a referral to go to an ENT Dr. or another specialist in that field. She probably has a problem with her adenoids and or tonsils. Normally if a child can't breathe and gets up in the middle of the night coughing, it could be a problem with the adenoids. Has she been snoring at all? I hope she starts to feel better and hopefully you get some answers soon. Good luck and God bless.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.T.

answers from Boston on

Hi A.,

Try changing out the air filter in your furnace if you have forced heat, I had to do that yesterday, my daughter has been couging in the evening and at night too. I also vacuumed out all the air vents in our old home and placed vent filters. She seemed a lot better last night, I believe all the air from the vents was the culprit. Good luck!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

N.R.

answers from Boston on

Hi A.:

Here is another possibility...

My daughter had the same symptoms. she would start with a runny nose then it would turn into a terrible hacking cough, mostly at night. She got lots of colds and this would happen with everyone.

I took her to the pediatrican but mostly they said....some kids are sick a lot. And that was it. Finally I got tired of seeing her sick so much and my husband and I were out of sick time staying home with her. I got pushier about it with the dr. and they sent us to a pulmonoligist. She was diagnosed with infanitle asthma that was triggered by colds.

Her symptoms got a lot better with treatment and now at 21/2 she only gets them rarely. I would see if this might be what's happening with your daughter.

Also- "little noses" is just saline (salt water), it is unlikely that this would cause any problems and it is very helpful to clear secretions.

Other things we do that seem to help: humidifier and those vicks plug-ins vaporizer. When the coughing is really bad at night we also give cough medicine (look for one that is an expectorant (breaks up secretions) and suppresant. AskDrSears.com gives the appropriate dosage for kids under 2. We only give this at night so that she can get some sleep.

It is frustrating and exhausting when you have a sick kid. good luck!

N.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.W.

answers from Boston on

Have you brought her to the doctors? I have a 3 1/2 yr. old who just got over croupe cough. It is a virus in the brochial tubes. symptoms are basically they are fine during the day, or they may have a cold that goes along with it and a loud barking noise type cough at night. Bring her into the bathroom when it starts up at night and turn the shower on high to steam her, this will help open her throat up, if that doesnt help you can bundle her up and bring her outside into the cold for a few minutes. the cold air can help as well. But eight weeks is a long time to have a persistant cough I would absoluetly recommend that you bring her to the doctors for a check up. My son also had a bedroom in a finished basment when he was 18 months and under and he had bronchitis like four times in one year. I dont know if it is linked but I used to bleach even the walls like once a month (well ventilated when he would not be in the room for hours) just incase it was linked to mold. Hope this helped
C.

D.B.

answers from Boston on

If it's gone on for 8 weeks and the doctor is not able to think of anything medically that can be done, then it sounds like there is no active infection (like bronchitis) that is treatable with antibiotics. It's up to her immune system to clear it, and it just isn't happening. Of course, not getting enough sleep compounds the problem. You've done everything else related to allergies & dryness, and that doesn't make a difference. So you're back to immune system. You can't really force a child this young to drink more fluids - older kids are easier to reason with and even bribe (!) but it's hard when they're under 5 or 6.

Would you consider a nutritional approach? Even if your child is a "good eater" our foods just don't contain enough nutrients anymore, which is why we have so much illness in so many categories. (Also obesity - our bodies & brains crave nutrients, but we eat stuff that still doesn't have what we need, so we eat more -- and we just get overweight.) A kid who's sick or tired or both probably consumes even less good food than one who isn't sick. Everyone I know who has used a top grade liquid supplement made especially for kids - from a top notch food science company - has gotten their kids off nebulizers, off asthma and allergy meds, off Benadryl, off antibiotics and so on. I work with hundreds of families who've avoided ear tube surgery and ear infections. Kids don't miss school, they sleep better, and all those costs associated with co-payments and drugs are GONE. I'd love to share more if you're interested.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.Z.

answers from Boston on

If it is a dry, non-productive hacking kind of cough then I would ask your pedi for a referral to a pulmonologist (sp?). I had asthma and my three year old has it and that is the best way I can describe what the cough sounds like. Good luck!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

L.S.

answers from New London on

If it is post nasal drip you can try benedryl at night and see if that helps her.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.H.

answers from Springfield on

Hi A.,
You might want to check with your pediatrician about asthma. My daughter has this and it started when she was about 18 monthes also. Our doc calls it a reactive airway, meaning that it is asthma symptoms triggered by a virus. I'm not sure how bad your daughter's is, my daughter's would depend on the severity of the virus she had. We use a nebulizer to help with the symptoms when needed, sometimes her's would be so bad that we would also have to use a prescription cough syrup. It has changed every year for us, the hope is that she will eventually out grow it. Or possibly an allergy is her trigger.

Good Luck!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.D.

answers from Burlington on

Hi A.,

The coughing is probably due to post-nasal drip. Prop up the head of her bed a bit. I'm guessing she's in a crib, so I think putting a blanket under the head-end of her mattress may help. In a regular bed you can use cleaned, used tunafish cans, or pieces of wood. I'm thinking a brick might be too high. Make sure that putting a blanket under her mattress doesn't make her bedding dangerous somehow - like being able to climb out or something.

The humidifier is good to help. Only 18 months old. Hmm. Make sure she drinks plenty. That will help get rid of her cough. I'm just concerned about interfering with her meals. I don't want her to have a full belly when she needs to eat her meals.

Good luck,
: ) Maureen

P.S. "Stay-at-home-mom" to describe what you do to occupy yourself is a lot better than "housewife." ; )

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

X.D.

answers from Boston on

Seems to me like she has some post nasal drip. Speak with your pedi..... Do all the regular cold care stuff like elevating the head of her crib or bed, etc.... If it is post nasal drip, in my opinion, she is old enough to take a little something to dry her up at bit (Benadry, Sudafed, Dimetapp). You'll have to consult your pediatrician, though. Times have changed on this matter!

E.T.

answers from Boston on

Hi A., So sorry about your child's nightly coughing - it is not only disturbing for her but for you parents as well - nobody is getting a good night's sleep. Have you considered the possibility of the toxins in your laundry products? Children often have respiratory reactions (coughing, wheezing, sinuses filling up, etc.) at night once they are lying on sheets & pillowcases that have been washed & dried with toxic products. Most all of the supermarket detergents are toxic (Tide, etc.)as well as the fabric softeners and dryer sheets, and they leave a toxic film on the material which in turn causes respiratory issues. Since children's systems are smaller, they are affected faster. You could try Shaklee's laundry products which are all non-toxic to see if that makes a difference for your child. It did make a difference in my family, as did Shaklee's Air Source which constantly cleans the air. One of my grandsons was having difficulty always at night with coughing so much that he was seriously straining to breathe. He was given a nebulizer to use in these situations and diagnosed with pre-asthma; however, since she switched to Shaklee's laundry products and purchased the Air Source, he has stopped having these issues. He just turned 5 and has not had to use the nebulizer for 2 years. I don't know if this is the issue for your daughter, but if switching to Shaklee's laundry products works, it is a very simple solution and will be healthier for your whole family. Also, Shaklee products are heavily concentrated so are cheaper to use in the long run than your supermarket cleaners. So, when you check these products out, be sure you are comparing apples to apples; i.e. one bottle of Shaklee detergent is equal to much more than one bottle of another brand. Read the label (which is on the website down below the picture of the actual product) which tells you how much to use. Yes, I am a Shaklee distributor but am answering your problem simply to suggest a possible solution. I have no way of knowing for sure if this is the issue for your particular child. If you want more info or would like to ask me some questions, please feel free to call me at ###-###-#### or e-mail me at [email protected]____.com I invite you to also browse my site if you wish www.emilytaft.com Hope this info is of some help to you. E. Taft

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions