Cough Attack. It Is Getting Worse and Worse. Total Meltdown. UPDATED.

Updated on April 26, 2015
S.C. asks from Bellevue, NE
11 answers

I am at my wits end, I have had at least three breakdowns the past week. Poor DH who is on night shifts has been getting a good deal of it too. Our LO, 16 months, started out with such a simple cough, now here we are a month later. It isn't better at all, no not at all!

No, it is WORSE. I know, I talk and talk about it. But my god I feel so lost. They gave her Cetirizine at first, our regular military doctor team. (not her normal PCM she was not available). It made her so intensely hyper that she couldn't sleep, just yelled and talked and talked refused a whole nap which she always loves naps. Sensitive to the point nearly anything could set her off and she was nearly impossible to calm down for the longest time, at one point last night she threw up.

Her cough is worse, boogers everywhere, so bad that trying to feed her is impossible nearly. She vomited her dinner last night, spit up her breakfast this morning, vomited and couldn't finish her lunch but kept wanting more food because her belly is so empty! She just coughs, then gags, then throws up. Then chews on her fingers because she is SO hungry of course.

Fluids we are doing okay with, but she can't handle her soymilk (does not stomach cows milk). Which she only has twice a day anyway because she refuses it besides in the morning and night. Just how she is. Food? Nope, nothing, maybe a cracker if we are lucky, maybe a few bites of something, anything IF we are lucky.

So with that, calories in general are super important to get into her, she is only 22 pounds right now, and in the 93% for height. She is pretty small and it worries us to no end. Seeing her so sick! And coughing so randomly and throwing up her food is EXTREMELY distressing to us.

I over tired went with DH to a pharmacy to get a humidifier (all stores have put them away) and ended up buying a expensive $100 one that ended up being purely an air purifier (we are by no means rich or anything close) that we already set up in our kiddo's room. I just tried out our old humidifier and it just leaked EVERYWHERE and seems completely busted and we might have to fork up more cash to get an actual humidifier but can't even get one until tomorrow MAYBE.

We saw urgent care, they just sent us home with MORE allergy medicine, a different kind to try and dry it up that we can't give her until night time and hope for the best.

I am sitting in a dark living room now, in the middle of a mess of throw up, tissues, and barely eaten food a completely mess while our LO attempts to take a nap. But her cough almost always wakes her up within 20-30 minutes if that. And she is ravenous for food but just throws a good chunk of it up. She is so tiny! This is so distressing, we keep getting more allergy medicine. I just feel like there has to be something more. I asked our neighbors if they had a humidifier we could borrow for just a single night but they have to use it for their kiddo so we are out of luck. I feel so awful and lost on what to do.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

The Children's Hospital Urgent Care was much more patient, and friendly and diagnosed it as croup. She got a steroid drink, and some antibiotics for 10 days and already seeing a tiny itty bit of a difference. Also seeing our regular PCM on Wednesday.

We'll be trying to introduce some food slowly over the next few days, and they told us to let them know if anything doesn't improve or gets worse. Hoping for the best!

Featured Answers



answers from San Antonio on

Whooping Cough??

It lasts 100 days of coughing.

One of my friend's children got even though she was vaxed.

Can they test her for that?

6 moms found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Washington DC on

Girl - you need to breathe.

Take her back to the dispensary. Talk to the doctor on duty and figure out what is going on.

Stop with all the changes. Get her tested for food allergies as well as seasonal allergies. Allergies can cause coughing as well. It's Spring.

Keepa log of her food intake and how she responds to it. You need to do this for EVERY THING she consumes. You need to find out if it's allergies or whatever it is.

Get a reading pillow and get her propped up to sleep.

YOU need to take a walk around the block. Have your husband (thank him for his service please) take care of his daughter while you take a break. Get a shower. Decompress. You can't operate when you are under constant stress.

You'll need to clean the house too. Sorry - but it has to happen. If she has environmental allergies you aren't helping her either - carpets should be vacuumed SHUT (I know - nice breeze and all). The vomit will make everyone else sick as well.

Go to the exchange for a humidifier. They should still have one. Even try the 4 Seasons shop. If not? Order one from - use Vicks Vapo-rub on her. that should help too.

Good luck!

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I am so sorry your going through this. Its a nightmare when they are so small and hurting. Here are a couple things to try. My daughter had pneumonia over and over when she was small and the cough etc. So try these tricks our dr told us.

1 put a couple books under the mattress at the head of her bed. it will keep her elevated a little bit and the phlem won't settle in her lungs quite so bad. she will breath a little easier.

2 run the shower on as hot as you can get it and take her in the bathroom to breath in the steam

3 make jello and let her just drink it rather than making it solid. it has some protein which will help her.

4 get some pedialite popcicles

5 don't give her 100 percent juice right now it will just make her bottom sore

we found a good vaporizer at walmart for about $20 I am putting in a link for you for that. Its the kind you put the liquid vicks in and it helps with the breathing.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

If your daughter is vomiting? She doesn't need food. She needs liquids. Is she running a fever?

Giving her allergy medicine will make her drowsy most likely. So giving it to her before bed is a good thing. Keeping her propped up is a good idea too. If you are giving her too much medicine? She could be vomiting because of that as well, her body can only handle so much.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

She doesn't actually need solid food for quite awhile (or any dairy) so keep her well hydrated and feed her clear liquids - chicken soup broth, Pedialyte (comes in popcycles too), warm Jello (you don't have to wait for it to set up - but if she throws it up it will stain things) ginger ale (you can let it go flat if the carbonation bothers her), etc.
Just resign yourself to her living on a liquid diet for awhile.
What ever liquids you feed her, give it in small doses but more frequently.
Smaller amounts has a better chance of staying down and isn't as messy if it doesn't stay down.

Walgreens, Rite Aid, Target, Walmart, even the pharmacy section of Harris Teeter - have humidifiers on the shelves year round - expensive and cheap alike.
I've tried warm mist and cool mist models over the years - I like the warm mist better (by Vick's) - but either one is fine.

When my son was sick (he had pneumonia at 14 months), warm bathes helped him feel better - plus if he threw up in there it was a lot easier to clean.
There were times we'd be in the tub 6 or more times a day - as long as he felt better I was going to use it as often as needed.
I had to use a nebulizer to give him albuterol several times a day - he hated it but he was breathing so much better after a treatment that it was worth all the fussing we went through.
I followed doctors instructions to the letter and it was what kept him well enough he didn't land in an oxygen tent in the hospital.

Are the doctors sure it's not whooping cough?
It sounds bad enough to be suspected - and by what you're describing I'm not totally convinced this is allergy related.
If the cause is not allergy, then allergy meds are not going to help (as you are discovering).
I know it's like being put through the wringer but you (and she) will get through this!
I hope she feels better soon.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I'd be pushing the fluids, not the food. Vomiting is worse with dehydration, and so is mucus. Coughing just creates the spasms that make vomiting even more likely. I'd be using an excellent and comprehensive supplement if she's already tiny, getting her off dairy. I would not use anything pre-mixed because they have emulsifiers which are hard to digest.

I don't think humidification is the problem. Did the doctor say to buy a $100 humidifier?? If you only got an air purifier by mistake, take it back. The small amount of humidity provided by the machine is not nearly as important as taking in more liquid.

She could also be reacting to all this medicine - I work with people all the time with significant allergies, and a lot of times the med liquids sitting in the stomach create more problems than they solve. If she has some sort of absorption difficulty (as evidenced by her low weight), she's not going to do well with meds, stomach acid, mucus and coughing spasms. If you don't have a good supplement, I'd put her on Pedialyte. Nothing like Gatorade with all the dyes in it. Maybe some herbal ginger tea that's cooled off - sometimes that helps an upset stomach. But don't feed her within a half hour of vomiting. All that stomach acid coming up is damaging to the esophagus and even to the enamel on teeth.

She needs her coughs to be productive - meaning they help get rid of the loosened phlegm in her bronchial tubes. The coughs are worse when someone lies down. I used to have bronchitis pretty much all winter, and I never slept well with all that junk coming up. She may need to sleep propped in a chair - it's not great, but it's better than throwing up and not sleeping at all.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I don't have any great advice, just wanted to say I'm sorry. I hope things improve for you soon. It's so hard when our kids are sick.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

There is a Children's Hospital in Omaha. I would take her.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Talk to the doctor about the possiblity of reactive airway disease. My son had it around 12 months - he threw up his bottles and the throw up was full of mucus. I am wondering if perhaps they might have missed this.

I'd get your doc to send you to a ped pulmonary specialist and go from there.

For a makeshift humidifier, wet a towel and ring it out enough so that it doesn't drip, then hang it in her room. The towel will humidify the air.

Long ago, my sister had allergy asthma. My dad walked the floors with her while she coughed. It was awful. Being around a cat sent her to the hospital in an oxygen tent. At 4 years old, someone finally recommended allergy testing. She was allergic to a lot of things - dust, pollen, cats, dogs, etc. We couldn't have carpet or rugs. My mom had to take all her stuffed animals away. She put up simple curtains that were washed every week. She slept without a pillow (there weren't any hypoallergenic pillows back then.)

It wasn't until she was 5 that we were able to work out getting allergy shots for her. They started out every day. My dad learned to give them. Then it was twice a week for several years, then once a week. I don't remember when she was able to stop getting them, but she can actually be around a cat now without having to go to the hospital. Those allergy shots were wonderful.

I have no idea if your child has allergy asthma or not, but that's another reason why a pulmonary specialist should be involved in your child's care. Reactive airway disease can be a precursor to asthma. It needs to be managed. My son grew out of it and never did develop asthma. I know we were lucky, but we also got a proper diagnosis and managed the symptoms. You need a proper diagnosis. I have a feeling that you don't have that yet.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Pediatric pulmonologist ASAP. Asthma? Coughing asthma is real. Needs nebuluzer

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Des Moines on

I am glad you followed your instincts and got more help! Hope the improvement continues.

Please do some research on zyrtec (Cetirizine ) on children and seriously consider never giving it to her. My son reacted so wild on this med too and it really was the medication. These reactions are quite common and there are so many other choices out there (if she does truly have allergies someday, not this illness) that you shouldn't have to use zyrtec.

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