Cough for Three Weeks Now!

Updated on November 16, 2011
S.S. asks from New York, NY
12 answers

Our son got a cold, with a little fever, and a yucky cough. Brought him into the pediatrician who diagnosed him with bronchitis, gave him antibiotics for five days and albuterol. Cough was pretty much gone a week later; we had a good day and then came the sniffles and the cough came back. Continued with albuterol, as cough was dry. Got checked my doc who said bronchitis is all gone and to give him DM Ceron Syrup (a decongestant). A week later, we stil have the cough. Some days its much better and almost there and others he's coughing virtually nonstop. We took him to another pediatrician who said the same thing - bronchitis is all clear but not sure what's causing the cough. She said if it doesn't clear, she'll give a 10 day dosage of augmentin (antibiotic). YIKES! Don't want that. What could be going on? Is this common!!?

We've tried the following, and nothing seems to help: vicks vaprub on his chest and feet, humidifier in his room, inhalation (boiling potatoes and breathing in the steam), bath with vicky baby vapors (the bubbles), honey, chestal. I'm out of ideas. Everything I normally do that works seems to do nothing to lessen this cough!

We've gone to a few ENTs and had him tested for allergies. He's allergic to oak but nothing else. One ENT wondered if it might be reflux. Our pedi is starting to suspect the same. Wonder if that may be causing the cough.

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So What Happened?

Hubby took LO back to pedi who said he was perfectly healthy; everything is clean and clear. Thinks its a "habitual cough;" we'll go to an ENT, do an x-ray, and go to a pediatric pulmonologist but he thinks the less attention we give the cough, the quicker it will go away. Thanks for all who responded!

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answers from Tulsa on

I had bronchitis and a sinus infection in May. I didn't quit coughing until August. Seriously. Everything cleared up except for the cough. It seemed everyone was getting it and the cough hung on for a LONG time.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

There is a bronchial infection going around that seems to take time to clear up. My daughter had it, I had it, and my husband had it.

Speaking from my own experience, I took 10 days of Azirthromyacin (sp?), a Medrol (sp?) pack, a steroid shot, Mucinex Maximum strength, along with my other allergy meds. I also tried Albuterol. I had a gurgling in my lung but my chest x-ray was clear. My breathing test was not up to par. It got to the point where my allergist made me make an appointment with a pulmonary specialist but I never had to go because what ultimately cleared it up was time. It really stunk. (Oh and I also had an endoscopy in the midst of this (totally unrelated) and there was no evidence of reflux.)

As long as the pediatrican has checked and his lungs are clear I would guess from my own personal experience that it is just going to take time :-(

PS I hope they are working on new antibiotics that might eradicate what seem to be 'superbugs'.

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answers from New York on

Asthma. No I am not crazy, but asthma can be a cough. Never knew this
until I worked for a pediatric pulmonologist. He may need an inhaler. I
would check with pediatric pulmonologist. If nothing else, you can rule it
in or out.

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answers from Atlanta on

He probably has the virus that's been going around. It makes ya cough for weeks and weeks especially the elderly, young and weak. We all had it a couple times around and the second time it lasted a couple months. We took meds didn't do all that much. Give him lots of warm liquids and lots of vit. C, you could also get some Homeopathic meds. You really want to be careful about antibiotics, they come with a high cost. You have to replace your friendly bacterias each time you take them, but this isn't a garuntee. Good Luck with it.

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answers from Topeka on

How about thinking about the possiblity of an allergy? You say it comes and goes...see if there is something that causes it to start getting worse again.Is the cough worse at night? Try elevating his head...see if that doesn't help cut down on the drainage that is causing the problem. Also make sure he is staying hydrated so that the "junk" will stay thin and get out of his little system. I do know that there is a virus going on around our area, and viruses just have to wear themselves out...antibiotics and such do no good with them at all.


answers from New York on

My son had something similar but without the fever. We are on week two now of a cough, but now it is infrequent. We did have an episode in the beginning where I was very worried, he was breathing very rapid and his heart rate was up. The doctor also prescribed Albuterol and checked in with him over a few days because his blood oxygen level was too low. Anyway, now I am obviously not too worried about him but I did want to share this to make you feel a little better. We live in the same region and I do tend to think the damp, cool air prolongs the symptoms. I'm not a doctor by any means but I did work in a respiratory specialty pharmacy for years, and having this experience with Albuterol and other such medicines I tend to shy away from them unless necessary. Especially in children under the age of 7. Of course it is important for Chronic Asthma, but I decided to only use it as needed (two times in our case) even though the doctor had wanted us to use it round the clock.

I am also exploring natural remedies. A friend of mine who is a naturopathic doctor suggested rubbing the chest and back with Eucalyptus oil. I haven't tried it, but it can be very harsh so I would dilute it with olive oil when I do try it. I also know that raw garlic is excellent for respiratory function support, whereas cooked garlic is great for the heart and blood. I chopped a few cloves of garlic and stirred into a few ounces of honey in a glass jar. Every day, I stirred it for a week. Then I strained the garlic out of the mixture. My almost-3-year old son isn't a fan of garlic, but he will eat a spoonful of "spicy honey" daily. Sometimes twice a day if I am worried about a cold coming on. Good luck!


answers from Providence on

Coughs can stay long after the actual infection or virus is gone. Sometimes it turns into a habitual cough. Especially in younger children. It could be reflux, however, I would give it time before going again to the doctor. Sometimes giving him everything under the sun makes it worse, and makes it seem like it's not getting better. Keep up with fluids/vitamin C and vitamins, and make sure they go outside for a little bit each day. Good , fresh air will do wonders.

My brother, when he was growing up, would get bronchitis in october. His cough would not clear up til the next year-early spring. Its residual, and can last awhile.



answers from New York on

It could just be this nasty cold/cough thing going around. I am myself on my second week of almost no sleep thanks to the cough. If the ped sees nothing but the bronchial infection, my guess is it's that. It just takes time, and a lot of it, it seems! I know it feels like forever.
It he too young for a sinus spray? That was given to me along with antibiotic when I had sinus infection (only seen with an MRI). It could help with the post nasal drip and maybe prevent the cough.
Good luck! I know it's awful.



answers from Cincinnati on

Ugh! I feel for your son, as I have been there many times. Anytime I get a cold or anything and start coughing, I have to be very careful about keeping it under control with my inhalers (my rescue inhaler - Xopenex, and another to reduce inflammation - Pulmicort). I have asthma, so if I don't do this, my airways get really irritated. Once that happens, I just keep coughing, even long after the infection is gone ,and it is very difficult to get it back under control. I would wonder if this could be something similar.



answers from Phoenix on

Maybe get chest x-ray, to make sure hasn't progressed to pneumonia.



answers from Washington DC on

I've never heard of reflux causing a cough.
My first thought was also asthma. My son had something similar last year. We went to the pediatrician 2x same diagnosis as yours. Went to a scheduled allergist appt. and as soon as the dr. looked at my son he got mad at us. Can't you see he's having an asthma attack? We explained that we'd had him to the pediatrician, had tried OTC medicines. Well of course those won't work because he's having an asthma attack!

So I would definitely have him tested for asthma. There are two simple tests. First is to blow in a tube to see what your oxygen intake is. The second is a nebulizer treatment.

If he is already on albuteral, are you giving it to him every 4-6 hours? Around the clock? If its been going for 3 weeks, he may need a steriod to help his lungs because he is weak.

My son became really tired from coughing so much. He got to the point where he was coughing nonstop every 30 seconds (not kidding), even on his daily inhaler and preventil. Took him to the ER where they gave him a steriod and he started feeling better within minutes. The cough still persisted for a day or two, but was noticably better.

PS. sitting in a steamy shower helps too.



answers from Houston on

Read up on coughs and Vitamin Ddeficiency. Dr. Mercola ( has tons of great info on Vit D. Yes, it could be reflux. I've suffered from it for years but my only symptom was 'air hunger', a feeling of shortness of breath & not feeling like I could get enough air in my lungs. Never found out what it was until I was preg w my daughter & it got so bad I thought I was going to pass out. Went to lung specialist & tested for asthma & did a complete lung function test. Perfect-healthiest patient he had. Next stop was heart doctor who ruled out any heart problems. Perfect heart. But it was he who suggested it could be reflux & put me on Nexium. 3 weeks later I felt so much better & when I get that feeling again, I just take some Zantac. Having said that, my DD has had a cough for weeks. As soon as she gets over one cough, another one develops. She started preschool this year, so she's constantly catching a cold :/. Hope your son feels better soon!

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