HELP! I'm Desperate! - Herndon,VA

Updated on March 08, 2013
P.M. asks from Herndon, VA
21 answers

I have never done anything like this before, but I am desperate for any advice or help. My eight year old daughter developed a cough in Nov. of 2012. She had a little runny nose, etc. and when it didn't go away, I took her to the doctor and we got an antibiotic. Anyway, fast forward to today, March 1st. She still has the cough. It is a dry hacky cough that will NOT go away. She currently takes Singulair, Flonase, Zyrtec, and usually cough meds at night. She has also done two rounds of z packs. My question is, why is she still coughing? What in the world could be causing this? Anyone have any ideas or help? And, I've thought about possibly acid reflux? HELP! Thank you in advance.

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answers from Norfolk on

A few years back I had a cough that would not go away for something like 12 weeks.
Nothing helped.
I began drinking some echinacea tea and it cleared up in about 2 weeks.
I have no idea if the tea worked or if the cough finally quit on it's own.
I thought I might have walking pneumonia but my Dr said it was just one stubborn cough.
I never had a fever and I never took any antibiotic for it.
You could try having her use a neti pot to rinse her nose out with warm saline.
Does she still have her tonsils and adenoids?
Maybe you should take her to an ENT (Ear Nose Throat) Dr and see what they say about it.

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answers from Los Angeles on

She may need a steroid. Sounds like she has asthma since she's on Singulair and Flonase, but the steroid would give an added uumph. My guy couldn't get over his cough even with the asthma and allergy meds, he had to have a regimen of steroids both in November and December. He's on preventive breathing treatments until spring as well as allergy meds since they bring the asthma on, but no coughing.

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answers from Detroit on

My immediate thought is allergies. Since this started in November, I'm thinking maybe dirty air ducts which carry dust and mold when you turn the heat on. I would have her see an allergy doctor to run tests.

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answers from Dallas on

That's rough and concerning. X-rays, yet? It's more than time for them. I would start with a sinus one and then at least a chest X-ray. That's a lot of meds that should have taken care of most everything. I would video with your phone her coughing at night without the cough med. then get a referral to an ENT, then an allergy doc.

I have reflux and it does do that. Try tums at night and check the results. Keep her from eating after about 6 at night. Put a rolled up blanket or something under the head of the bed so it raises it 4-6 inches.

Then there is one other thing. My son took singulair for a while and it caused tics. Coughing can be a tic. At some point, if it's not curing her, I would do a test for about a week and stop the singular. I am not a doctor. You don't have to do anything I say. Use your discretion.

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answers from Seattle on

It took over a year for my son's pulmonary conditions to be diagnosed (inuding 6mo in & out of Children's hospital inpatient, so no waiting for appointments, it probably would have taken even longer with purely Clinc appointments).

Its a lot of testing

- Pulmonary function testing
- Cardiac testing
- Neurological testing
- X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, ECGs
- Allergy testing
- Reactivity testing
- Imflammatory
- lab work ups
- immune system testing
- rheumatology

Even WITH all those tests, and multiple hospitalizations, we don't have a definitive diagnosis... Just a working one.

So my advice (as always!) is : Doctor.

And keep following up (they think you got better if you don't come back!)

And be prepared for a LOT of testing if you don't get lucky.


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answers from Los Angeles on

Hi P.,
I'm sure you're worried about your little girl. I had a long, drawn out cough that was also dry and hacking for months. My doctor finally prescribed a strong steroid and that finally ended it. I don't think any of the drugs you've listed are steroids, right? I hope your daughter feels well again soon.

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answers from Raleigh on

From my experience with allergies it is a constant battle. But, you can get the optimum relief by trying various meds and combinations of them - such as the trio that you are administering at the moment. I sounds like you may want to keep try until her symptoms are better controlled. If you don't think your doc is willing to hang in there and get to the bottom of it find someone else. Have you taken her to a pediatric ear, nose and throat doc? They can test her and tell you exactly what she is allergic to so they can treat the allergies more effectively. If she had reflux you would se more red flags that indicated it. She would have a severe burning in her throat and chest, she would be very hoarse in the am, she would having issues with what and when she had a meal. But I do understand why you might relate it tpo reflux - does she cough only when she goes to bed? Reflux peaks when you're trying to sleep. But then allergies do so as well because of the post nasal drainage in the back of your throat. Best wishes and I really want to hear what happens- sorry you are going through a difficult time - things will get better but it sounds as if it 's going to take a little more patience and research.

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answers from Seattle on

You really need to work with a Peds Pulmonologist and see an ENT for allergies.

Alternatively, you can also try accupuncture and homeopathic remedies, to help boost her immune system.

This length of a breathing/coughing problem sounds like mold/mildew and animal allergies in her environment that cause a constant irritant. Or she picked up some strange virus that she's not fighting well.

What types of cleaners do you use? You might need to de-tox your house from irritating household cleaners. Considering this all started in NOV it sounds like it could be related to being indoors, when the windows shut and the heater is on.

Have your filters been cleaned recently?

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answers from Springfield on

I don't understand why your daughter is taking 2 kinds of allergy meds (singulair & zyrtec) and a nasal spray and is not using any kind of inhaler or nebulizer.

I think it's time for a second medical opinion.

Good luck. I hope she feels better soon!

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answers from Chicago on

She may have allergies. My son gets runny nose, cough from allergens. Not just environmental, food as well. get your daughter tested for full panel environmental and food. My son is allergic to eggs, milk, wheat - very common things, when he avoids them - he feels tons better. No need to pump the child full of dangerous meds if you do not know the root cause! I also second the X-rays, MRI if needed, maybe there is an obstruction or a tumor, God forbid, have they done those? Press the doctors for the verifiable cause, do not just treat the symptoms! Good luck to you!

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answers from Washington DC on

Have you seen any doctors other than your usual pediatrician?

I would get her to a specialist pronto. Do not let your doctor block you or delay. Demand a referral for respiratory allergy testing now and possibly for an ear/nose/throat specialist as well.

She's pretty doped up all the time - are the cough meds EVERY night? That plus the other meds is a lot to pump into a kid. You need a good, real diagnosis for what is wrong with her -- not just a ton of meds that treat symptoms rather than the actual cause. Meds are fine, but it sounds like someone is just tossiing things at her to deal with symptoms, not causes. And it's not even working. Could be allergies, mold in the house because it's winter, chronic respiratory issues -- she really needs some real testing, not another round of meds.

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answers from Washington DC on


Welcome to Mamapedia!!

She's still coughing because she's on too much medication!! What is she allergic to? Her body has probably built up an immunity to the cough medicine since she's been getting every night for almost 4 months!!!

Go to an allergist. Get her tested for allergies.

If you need a new pediatrician - I can recommend Reston Town Center Pediatrics ###-###-####).

You need an allergist? Dr. Hwang ###-###-####).

STOP giving her the SAME meds - Singulair and Flonase are the SAME thing. Really. Talk to your pharmacist. That they would NOT tell you the drugs are the same - wow!!!

Make a list of all meds your daughter is on. Stop the cough medicine at night. Give her a cough drop instead. Get her BACK to the doctor and tested for allergies. Get her on ONE medication (either Flonase OR Singulair). She's 8 years old. If she didn't have green or yellow gunk coming out of her nose, they should NOT have given her an antibiotic.

Get a humidifier in her room so there can be moisture in her room.
Put Vicks Vapo rub on her chest prior to bed.

Good luck!

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answers from Dallas on

I am the same way....been coughing since Halloween...4 rounds antibiotics, steroid shot, oral steroids, ENT, sinus MRI, and I haven't been able to lie down to sleep for months. I so feel for your daughter. The ENT tells me that it is likely reflux, although the meds haven't helped at all. He says that he's going to need to send me to a pulmonologist next, but I am wondering if an allergist would be a better choice. For your daughter, could it be ashtma or allergies? Will the dr recommend a pulmonologist or an allergist or both? I hope she feels better soon because it is miserable.

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answers from Washington DC on

I have kids with anxiety and sensory issues. Once they start coughing it's really hard to get them to stop. They need lots of cough drops or the like to suck on, some numbing throat spray (if they can stand it) and some steam action (sometimes the old fashion over a pot of boiling water and a towel) to stop. Plus many reminders to stop coughing. I dread cold season


answers from Biloxi on

Acid reflux will not cause a dry, hacking cough - my teen and I both have it - no cough.

Chronic allergies can cause post nasal drip and a chronic cough.

So can asthma.

Which my son also has. Have you discussed asthma with your doctor? With the regimen of Singulair (which was first released as an asthma preventative, only later was it introduced as an allergy med) and Flonase, I would think asthma may be crossing your doctor's mind. I would open up that discussion.

Have you ever tried nebulizer treatement? Albuterol, or preferably, Xoponex. If not nebulizer, than just an inhaler.

It is time to look further. Maybe see a pediatric asthma specialist or allergist.



answers from Washington DC on

My question is -- what is she allergic to if she is on allergy meds? It might be a good idea to take her to the allergy doc for testing. If it's dust mites for example, you can put zipper covers on her bedding, remove carpets and rugs, and make sure she has clean bedding and no stuffed animals in her room. There might even be foods that she's eating that could cause congestion and cough if allergies are an issue.
Another thing to consider is that *any irritant* in the air could cause lung difficulties. We recently discovered that we had a slight gas leak which seemed to be contributing to cough in our household. Maybe check your house for a gas leak if you have natural gas. Do you warm up your car near a poorly sealed door or window to your house -- is the exhaust maybe an issue? Does she play outside near a street with heavy traffic? Do you have smelly cleaning products or paints, plumbing compounds, etc. sealed tightly in plastic containers or out of the house? Does she have frequent swimming lessons in a heavily chlorinated pool? Have you had a mold inspector examine your home? Do you clean your floors in a way that puts a lot of dust in the air? One has to be careful not to become too paranoid about these things, but maybe one of those things might strike home with your situation. In any case, airing out your house once a week might be a good idea. Try skipping swimming lessons for a while (even maybe even skip a night between bathing depending on the chlorine content of water in your area).
Also, humidity is a huge issue. If you can keep the humidity in her room between 40 and 50%, she will do better. If it is too dry and she can't breathe through her nose well, her throat will become raw and irritated. If it is too humid, conditions are favorable for dust mites and mold. I don't like real humidifiers because I feel like they make the air smell weird -- some of them produce ozone and I can't seem to keep the filters from getting moldy. Instead I just put out a bowl of filtered warm water in their room at night and sometimes hang a wet wash cloth up over a bowl to catch the drips. I figure that way I can wash the wash cloth or bowl every day and it doesn't get moldy. Not as effective as humidifiers in adding humidity, but pretty good.
Here is my solution for our persistent cough issues we have had: treat home for dust mites and remove mold (every house has at least some mold), air out house when I can, use one dose of Zyrtec per day, humidify the room, and use nasal sprays and Vics Vaporub in cases of cough that is not controlled by the other measures. One of my daughters has asthma so I use inhalers occasionally when she has flare-ups. Also make sure her head is propped up on pillows so her nose can drain properly. Oh, and for tough nights, I take them in the shower room and turn on the hot shower with the doors closed so my girls get to breathe the steam for ten minutes -- this is one of our most effective measures. The trick is to stop the cough as soon as it starts at night -- by using Vaporub, steaming, propping, nasal sprays, etc. I've also heard that eating a spoonful of honey is helpful for cough but I haven't tried that yet.


answers from Tulsa on

I had this a couple of years ago when I had bronchitis and I'm going through it again now. I literally coughed from May to September the first go around. Dry, hacking cough that didn't produce any phlegm from my lungs/chest. I always kept something to drink close by (not water, didn't coat my throat well enough) and that helped ebb the coughing.

I am getting over bronchitis now and have been coughing about three weeks. This is exactly how it started last time and I bet the coughing will hang around. Sometimes coughs are hard to get rid of and just linger along. That's how mine work.


answers from Norfolk on

Hi, P.:

Adverse reaction to Singular and Flonace causes a Cough.

I would suggest you have your child tested with ELISAAct blood test to see what your child is allergic to.

I would change your allergy doctor.
I wonder if the child has a digestion problem causing so much allegy.

Check out the web site:

Good luck.



answers from Houston on

seems strange to be taking singulair and zyrtec, I was always under the impression that you take either or, not both to treat seasonal allergies? Flonase also for allergies? Does she still cough more during the day and less at night after she takes the DM? Probably not treating the problem. Are you running a humidifier in her room by change, if so, the wet air creates a moldy enviroment (sorry for spelling, it's late;) and is not good for long term use. i hope she gets better, might be time to see a pulmonologist


answers from Washington DC on

Like Amanda H., I had a horrible cough for months. I was told bronchitis is not an infection as I thought, but an irritation. So the constant coughing never allowed me to heal. It finally ended when I took cod liver oil pills (not just fish oil), increased vitamin B foods (spinach, lentils) and they finally gave me small prescription of codeine pills (not syrup, that didn't work). I don't know if they can do that for a child. When I was pregnant and had bronchitis they gave me a pill that they said wasn't dangerous. I feel so bad for your daughter. I hope she is well soon.



answers from San Antonio on

I second, third and fourth going to an allergist...

My son was getting a runny nose/cough/ending up with out of control wheezing in the pedi's office three days straight getting multiple breathing treatment least once a month for about three months in a row.

Found out he was allergic to dust mites...the ONLY thing he tested allergic to...

We have no carpet in our home, we wash sheets...turns out it was the "reading rug" in Kinder that set him off...

We got him on some meds and the school got rid of the rug (eventually) he is fine. Oh, and now that the rug is gone he is off meds...good luck!!

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