My Son Has an Awful cough....again!

Updated on March 12, 2008
A.G. asks from Westminster, CA
34 answers

My 3 year old son has an awful cough, sounds almost barky. He had it a few weeks ago and we tried Singulair along with vaporizor and plug ins. Oh, and some Tussin DM. Last fall winter we went through the same thing.

He also has a perpetual runny nose! Sometimes clear. Sometimes other colors.

Anyone have similar experience?

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So What Happened?

So we saw the pedi. He listened to my sons' lungs (both twins are coughing now). He says the lungs sound clear (how he hears that among all of the screaming is amazing). I am giving one Zyrtec in the mornings but he also has allergies. Going to do the same for the other if his cough doesn't go away by this weekend.
Thanks for your advise.

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M.R.

answers from Boise on

My son has the same thing. He gets it every year about this time. THe doctor says it's probably allergies and he's taken a lot of different things to get rid of it. zyrtec works the best for us. Good Luck!

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M.B.

answers from Houston on

I have twin 3 y/o boy/girl twins too and my son got this last year... it's either croup, which can last a few days un treated, asthma, or even allergies... my son finally got over it after a few MONTHS... My pedi gave me Zyrtec to give him at night... that seemed to have helped.

M.

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V.M.

answers from Houston on

well it sounds like he has croup, my son had it two months ago and its normally worse during the night time. We took him to the doc and they ended up giving him a steroid shot.

2 moms found this helpful
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J.S.

answers from Dallas on

Dear A.L., I would be careful of a humidifier my son has asthma that only comes at certain times of the year, and the humidifier can put fluid in their lungs. He also developed an allergy to milk recently, that caused him to cough a lot. If it persists I would have him checked out. I did read in an article that you can put vicks vapo rub on their feet with socks overtop when they go to sleep and that will stop the cough..worth a try.

1 mom found this helpful
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L.M.

answers from Houston on

Hello A.L.
Yes, sounds a little familiar like my son when he was 3yrs. He just turn 4 last month. My son would get fever, colds, runny nose and coughs frequently. I had taken him to the doctors everytime. Sometimes it would help and sometimes it would not, but it was getting expensive all the time and I was feeling very sad /c my son would cry that his coughs would hurt his throut that sometimes he couldn't even eat. It was horrible having to see him go through that. Well, thank God I haven't had that problem in a long time /c I started to give him Tahitian Noni Juice just about an ounce a day. And now since then he hasn't been sick at all. He would usually get sick around this time /c of the change of weather and let me tell ya, nothing, no fever, cold, runny nose, coughs..nothing. A.L. if want to give this juice a try for your son send me an email. it may help your son get rid of that cough. I really hope he gets well.

Take care and God Bless,

L.
[email protected]____.com

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J.W.

answers from Dallas on

I know that other mama's have said it sounds like croup, but if he had the same thing last winter...It may be that he has bronchitis? My son used to get a horrible barky cough every winter. As soon as the weather turned cooler he would start up. Many times he would cough so hard he would throw-up. We had to have a nebulizer for him and the pediatrician prescribed singulair and claritin (togther) for him. He does not get it as often now, but was eventually diagnosed with "exercise induced asthma." The pedi said that his allergies (always has clear runny nose, until infection sets in then it is green or yellow) would back up into his sinuses and then his lungs, then he would get the bronchitis (horrible barky, raspy cough). Then he would run and play as boys often do and would not be able to breathe well so he would cough till he threw-up. I would definatley take him to the doctor and make sure they check his lungs. Hope he gets feeling better soon.

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A.M.

answers from Dallas on

Hi... My daughter who is almost 3 has the same problem. I have taken her to the doctors so many times and they all say its probably allergies (use claritin, flonase, etc) or its a viral thing that needs to take its course.
She got it again this week and I didnt take her to the doctor anymore coz i knew what they would say.
So bought this homeopathic cough syrup from Sprouts (its just honey based syrup) and that has seem to work wonders. It's has lessened her cough and she has less hoarsing.
So if you want, just send me a private msg and i can give you the name. If it works then good, if not... Homeopathics dont have any side effects or anything like that, so you dont lose anything.

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K.G.

answers from Houston on

Sounds like croup toddlers get it often and he needs to be checked out by the Dr. home medications work on some stuff but he'll probably need steroids. Little toddlers can wear there lungs out quickly so a serious cough like a croupy cough has to be checked out by the Dr. If you have a point where it seems that he can not catch his breath take him outside in the cool air for a few minutes, it helps. I would sleep by him until you have a Dr. appt. because croup can peak at night and make breathing difficult.

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J.K.

answers from Austin on

hello My daughter who is 3 has the same thing. we had to take her to an allergy dr last yr.. she was getting ear infections and a cough that turned in to whezzing.. She is on singular and Neb treatments.. Seems to help but this winter has been bad.. U might want to look into an allergy dr if there is a set time this happens.. I am a allergy person also. I was getting shot at 3 and still get it and I am 30. Look up Dr.Vigo in austin he is great with kids..
hope this help
Jen

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M.C.

answers from Dallas on

My family used to suffer from several colds a year, sometimes including croup, which is what it sounds like your son might have. Then we discovered this product that puts fruits and vegetables into gummy treats for kids (and capsules for adults). We've been using it about 2.5 years now and have only seen the doctor for yearly well-checks and one little case of pink eye. I have so enjoyed going the all-natural prevention route vs. loadig up our systems with drugs and chemicals every winter. Maybe it would work for you too?

Blessings,

M.

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J.J.

answers from Dallas on

My son has a cough too. I think if it was croup you would know. It has a very distinctive cough which IMO is very different from a regular cough, even a deep "barky" one. Due to all the warnings about giving kids medications right now, I would call your doctor's office, even if you just talk to a nurse to have them tell you whether to use a cough syrup or not. Some kids are just predisposed to getting this awful cough. I personally get it every year and it seems like my son is following in my footsteps. Definitely keep him hydrated. Water is better than milk when he has a lot of congestion, and of course keep that humidifier going.

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L.B.

answers from San Antonio on

Vics Vaporub on the bottom of the feet then cover with socks, works like a charm!

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N.C.

answers from Dallas on

I was an asthmatic, allergic, and in the bad old days the "sickly" kiddo who couldn't do sports and I refuse to let my son grow up with that same stigma. My suggestion is to be aggressive in addressing this cough with both prescription and non-prescription actions. My 4 year old son has allergies and asthma (his asthma manifests as coughing) and I have observed that he doesn't sleep as well and doesn't do as well in school when he is coughing. His symptoms are worse in the fall and spring and disappear over the summer, so I am convinced that it is related to plant allergens.

Working with his doctor, we tried different treatments... singulair combined with zyrtec works well for him (the two have different modes of action so are complementary) and seems to prevent the runny nose (clear but perpetually runny) but treatments may work better for your son. Before his sports practices/games I give him a nebulizer treatment with albuterol & pulmicort to prevent the asthma coughing attack during the activity (which was typically followed by throwing up if left untreated). Now he races after the ball just like the other kids.

In addition to the meds, I also give him a red apple and a spoonful of flavored cod liver oil every day b/c of readings I found that suggest those helped reduce asthma symptoms. I have not yet tried the Vicks & Socks but have bought the Vicks and am waiting for the next night of coughing. Plus, I wash sheets in hot water weekly to reduce exposure to allergens during sleep (and there is no carpet in his bedroom to reduce exposure to dustmite allergens).

Sorry to be so wordy but this is a subject near and dear to me. I hope some of this is useful.

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D.S.

answers from Dallas on

Hi A. L.,

That is very common this time of year, but doing things to boost your childs immune system will help him to get over it and stay over it. I am a chiropractor and I work with nutrition to help children and adults get healthy and stay healthy. I use Applied Kinesiology (muscle testing) to determine what your body needs. We can test to determine if allergies are playing a part. A lot of times if an individual does not have environmental allergies, they can have allergies to foods that tend to be more seasonal. I also have a cold therapeutic laser which helps to eliminate the allergies and helps to clear the lungs. My 3 year old loves me to use the laser on her and even asks to be adjusted. Kids respond very well to chiropractic care and nutrition! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call me at ###-###-####. Thanks!

Dr. Sandra S.

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V.B.

answers from Houston on

Now that you mentioned it, my daughter just started having this cough last night. She was fine all day and after we put her to bed, she started the cough. It also sounded like a bark. She has never had a cough like this before and she was sounding pretty wheezy also. I turned on her humidifier and actually rocked her for about an hour so that she was sitting up more. I'm not sure what I'm gonna do about it yet. She hasn't been coughing much this morning yet, so I guess I'll wait to see if she gets worse today and probably call the Dr. I'll be checking your other responses here to see what people say it might be.

Sorry I don't have any advice for you...just wanted you to know that it sounds like something is going around. Good luck!

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M.D.

answers from Austin on

Hi my name is M.. I am a single mom of 4. My youngest son now age 3 has had the same problem with runny nose, coughing and serval sinus infections. I was always in the doctors office for cough medication. He was on Singular along with zytec. He never had an ear infection but always runny nose and a bad cough that seem to be on going. My peditrician sent him to a ear,nose and trought Doctor. He had to have surgery to remove his adnodes. This is the first season he has gone with out a cold. He was a simple day surgery and he is sleeping better and no runny nose this season. Sept. and Oct. is the highest month for allergies. He has been off all his allergy meds. It is great to hear him breathing good again.

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K.O.

answers from Dallas on

I have an almost 3 year old little boy too and since he started Montessori school last April he too has had the same thing on and off! I am interested in hearing more as well... I think the kids just keep passing it around, but am very very curious to see what it could be and what to do about it. I hate all the drug experimenting we have to do with our kids to find out what helps them, but I love the vicks on the feet idea, that is non invasive and difinitely worth a try!

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A.M.

answers from Dallas on

talk to your doctor about trying a different allergy medicine. My son went through this during the summer. One allergy med would work for a while and then about 2-3 months later...the cough would return (like a new seasonal allergen was in the air) and the current med wasn't working anymore.

The nurse said that sometimes kids can become resistant to the current med...and you may need to try another one. We switched from over-the-counter Claritin to Rx Allegra. It worked! beautifully. and he's still on it and is doing well so far. knock wood.
Just talk to your doctor...or leave a message for the nurse to call you back...to get their opinion on what to do. they can give you different options...
Just make sure you tell them that the horrible coughing fits have returned and what they sound like...and say it's similar to what he had before...that way they know it's not just the sniffles.

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L.S.

answers from Dallas on

Both my kids have it now and had it earlier last month. Last time my 11 m,onth old got it it turned into pneumonia. There really isnt a whole lot you can do about it if you take him to the dr the might give him some medicine but the best thing is to let it run its course. Not only will it go way faster but in the end his immune system will be stronger. I am hoping this time wont be as severe for my family. The other thing you have to think about is if he goes to daycare they don't always tell you when there is something going around the school. I made my last daycare notify the parents when my son got sick. Hope he gets to feeling better soon.

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A.J.

answers from Dallas on

This sounds like croup virus, my son had it but he got a bronchieal infection with it and his throat swelled shut 3 times and each time we had to take him in for breathing treathments then they did an exray on the 3rd time and figured out his throat was swelling shut from the infection and they gay him omnicef (antibiotics) and it got better right away. so watch it carefully that it does not get worse.

Also, we did robatussin DM and vapor rub on the chest and vaporisor or humidifier (this keeps the airways moist to help prevent the cough) at night but also a hot shower and sit in the bathroom for about 20 minutes. keep the airways moist because when they dry out you get the barking cough even worse. I would go to the dr if it has been longer than 7 days and no improvement or it gets worse.

Good luck, you might want to google "croup" and see what the other info you can find says. Good luck- A. J

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J.C.

answers from Austin on

My daughter was always coughing at night. It got worse with age (she just turned 5 yesterday). She would get sick if she couldn't rest enough, end up with fevers and sinus problems on top of the cough. It became a horrible cycle. We'd put her on antibiotics, she'd get better then she'd start coughing again. We tried every allergy medicine on the market, to no avail. She didn't have allergies, I was convinced.
It was exactly like her immune system just wasn't able to keep up with whatever she had. I finally got really freaked out about using antibiotics so much, so I asked to be referred to an ear nose and throat specialist. Took a month to get the appt, but as soon as the doctor saw her he said her tonsils and adenoids are enlarged and are most certainly the origination point for illness. Made sense to me! (Finally!) He said they should come out asap, lest they be allowed to initiate another infection. (Scar tissue builds up due to the coughing, you can clear the active infection with antibiotics, but the scar tissue harbors inactive bacteria just waiting for the antibiotics to cycle out of the system and as soon as the coast is clear, boom, another infection).
That Friday she had surgery, it was July 6th of this year. It was a hard day for us, but she came through the surgery with flying colors and hasn't been on antibiotics, or had any fever, snoring, or coughing since. It's been the best decision we could have made for her. In fact since she hasn't been having to fight infections constantly, she's gained about 5 pounds in 4 months. (She's up to 39 pounds, after stagnating at 30 pounds for 3 years!) That , to me, spoke volumes about what her body was going through. Also she's learning faster than before, her speech has improved, and she's been writing too.

Hope this helps. I'm (of course) not saying your child needs surgery! I'm not a doctor. But I do know if I'd seen the specialist sooner she wouldn't have had to endure countless rounds of fevers, antibiotics and allergy meds that ultimately did no good. I've also found out since this whole ordeal that nearly everyone on my dad's side of the family- including myself- have all had the tonsils removed, so you might ask your family members who has had that procedure, and if there're a lot of them, that's good info for the specialist.

Best of luck!
J.

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N.J.

answers from Dallas on

Barky cough is croup- take him out in the night air or in the bathroom w/the shower on. Steroid dose is the best for clearing it up. I took my dd to the ER- labored breathing scared me, and they gave her an oral dose. My pedi said that was the best to do bc he cannot prescribe me the dosage the hospital gave- pharmacies don't carry it. If the bark goes away, but continues to cough- check for a sinus infection.

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T.H.

answers from Houston on

I just learned about putting vicks on their feet and then socks. Worked for me. Try it.

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S.

answers from Dallas on

It could be asthma, which also causes coughing. I would take him to your doctor just to rule out the more serious possibilities and to get some direction on what to do.

Good luck!

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G.B.

answers from San Antonio on

When my son was about 3yrs old he had woken up from a nap w/a barky cough and I had never heard of it (my 1st child at time)to make a long story short he was given a breathing treatment at the hospital(nebulizer w/albuterol solution) its not a steroid or actual medication its saline solutioun) what it does is helps his airwaves and lungs to breathe easier almost like a humidifier I guess. I own a nebulizer in my home (cheaper than hosp. visit) and around the fall months all 3 of my children one time or another have used it and not on a regular basis only when they have colds that seem to have spread down to the chest or when it seems that they have a barky cough. It does help them sleep better at night. And about 20 min. before they do any kind of vigorous exercise it helps them not to cough as much . The best thing to do is take him to his pediatrician and describe the cough to him/her. I hope this helps.

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J.A.

answers from Amarillo on

He probably has the croup. My son had this many times a year, especially in the winter for the first 5 or 6 years of his life. My son has allergy induced asthma, which caused many lung problems as a child. You are doing the right treatments, but if the singulair isn't controlling the runny nose any better I would suggest switching to a different allergy medicine for a while to see if it works any better. Singulair didn't work for either of my kids, it only made them cranky. My son does great on zyrtec. Since he turned about 7 his allergies aren't near as bad and he doesn't have near as many breathing problems. I think he only got the croup once last winter and didn't get pnemonia at all, so just keep up with the allergy meds and treat the symptoms, hopefully he will outgrow this phase soon. I think somebody already mentioned steriod shots, my son did get these and a liquid steroid every time I took him in with the croup, you may need to take him to the doctor if the cough isn't gone soon. One more suggestion, make SURE you clean your vaporizor weekly, otherwise you will be putting more bacteria and mold into the air than moisture. You can clean your vaporizor with vineger or wipe it out real good with a mild bleach solution.

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L.B.

answers from Dallas on

My now 4 year old lived through the worst, persistent cough this past winter. We tried everything and then we were given the tip of putting Vick's Vaporub on her feet (real thick) and then put socks on. I also put some on her chest (though thinner application than the feet). And, it was unbelievable she no longer coughed during the night, which is when hers was the worst and made for little sleep/rest. Then, just a few weeks ago, I got this e-mail that was sent out to a large mailing list:

Vicks Vaporub
>
>
> It works 100% of the time although the scientists at the Canada
> Research council (who discovered it) aren't sure why.To stop nighttime
> coughing in a child (or adult as we found out personally), put Vicks
> Vaporub generously on the bottom of the feet at bedtime, then cover with
> socks.Even persistent, heavy, deep coughing will stop in about 5 minutes
> and stay stopped for many, many hours of relief.
>
> Works 100% of the time and is more effective in children than even very
> strong prescription cough medicines. In addition it is extremely soothing
> and comforting and they will sleep soundly.
>
> It was a surprising finding and found to be more effective than
> prescribed medicines for children at bedtime, in addition to have a
> soothing and calming effect on sick children who then went on to sleep
> soundly.
>
> An adult friend tried it on herself when she had a very deep constant
> and persistent cough a few weeks ago and it worked 100%! She said that it
> felt like a warm blanket had enveloped her, coughing stopped in a few
> minutes and believe me, this was a deep, (incredibly annoying!) every few
> seconds uncontrollable cough, and she slept cough-free for hours every
> night that she used it.
>
> So, if you have kids/grandchildren, pass it on. If you end up sick, try
> it yourself and you will be absolutely amazed .
>
>
>So, I don't know WHY it works, but my situation and our daughter is a true testimonial for this simple treatment to ease at least the worst of the symptoms. I don't believe it is a CURE for the cold/drainage/cough, but it helped our daughter get a goodnight's sleep, which helps their immune system overall.

Hope this helps you. I know what is like to not only worry about your child, but go night after night and day after day with little rest for them and you.

Many Blessings - L.
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C.K.

answers from San Antonio on

My 2 1/2 year old goes through the same thing every season. Our doctor told us to give him Benadryl at night to dry it all up. I give him 1/2 teaspoon each night. He did just get off antibiotics for strep, however, our lives have been a lot easier since starting the Benadryl.
We also use a nebulizer(sp?) with pulmicort capsules which also helps a lot.
Good luck!

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C.G.

answers from Austin on

There has been an awful bug going around Austin since December. My 14 year old and 16 year old had it back then. Their coughs are just ending. Their coughs were very deep and congested also. I just caught it 2 1/2 weeks ago and am JUST feeling better. It is scary when they are as young as your because you don't really know what is going on. I don't know if this is what they have, but thought I would share as it sure sounds similar. Good luck. C. G. P.s. My doctor's office recommended Delsym cough syrup for this particular strain, otherwise, I do a lot of vitamins and herbs and lots of water, no dairy or sugar, etc.

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H.C.

answers from Dallas on

Stop the drugs. try manna bears, all three of my boy had allergies so bad i was told to get their tonsoles (sp) out, BAD breath and all. they have not been sick in 4 1/2 years it took me 1 year but I was very sickly but after 30 year of allergies mine are gone also www.mannapages.com/funfunfun

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S.K.

answers from Austin on

My two year son has had the same barky cough twice this year to where he also has a hard time breathing. Both time he was diagnosed with croup which a viral infection that starts as a cold. Croup causes the throat to tighten up whaich causes the barky cough and a hard time breathing. Each time the Dr. Gave him a dose of steroids and that helped open up his throat and I saw and immediate improvement. I strongly recommend taking the baby to the Dr. Just in case it is the same thing. If It is the cough will turn to a normal one as soon as he gets the steroid dose and he will sound so much better. I hope he feels better soon. There nothing like seeing your little one like that.

S.

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S.A.

answers from Dallas on

My daughter (8) and I have the same symptoms each year. Claritin relieves it within a week for both of us. I believe (though we've never been tested) we are allergic to something that blooms this time of year. As long as I remember to start the Claritin early enough in the year (late August), we're fine all winter. Children's Claritin is considered safe for 2 year olds, and my daughter has always taken it easily, especially the "chewable" kind (really they just dissolve, but they're fun for her). When the cough gets this bad, taking her into the bathroom, door closed, hot water running in the shower 'til it turns cold, the cough clears right up, as does "colorful" nose congestion, especially if I can get her to blow her nose after a few minutes in the steam.
God's blessings on you and your family! :)

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A.D.

answers from Dallas on

If it is kind of dry and sounds a bit like a seal than it may be Kroup (sp?) My son is very prone to it and it can be very serious. I would take him to to doctor. At this point we are on breathing treatments when he gets Croup and we use a cool-mist humidifier every night. Good Luck.

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L.S.

answers from Odessa on

It sounds like plain ol' seasonal allergies. You will just have to keep experimenting with remedies until you find what works. I have one child with asthma and one with severe allergies. I would venture to say that there are some months with the severe allergies has a harder time than the asthmatic. We had to see a asthma/allergy specialist, and he told us to get rid of carpeting, curtains, house pets, fuzzy blankets, upholstery, etc. Our home doesn't look very cozy, but it has helped a lot.

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