Toddler Sick Since November- Is Doctor Missing Something?

Updated on February 21, 2013
L.B. asks from New Rochelle, NY
22 answers

My two year old son has been sick with cold symptoms for more than three months. He has had two ear infections during this time for which his ped automatically prescribed antibiotics, but he has had coughing and runny nose almost continuously. Her only advice for this is humidifier (which we have) and honey, which my son refuses to touch. Don't know if its worth forcing down his gullet like I do with other meds. He hasn't been sleeping well because of the congestion and coughing and it is badly impacting both of us. Another ped who happened to be on call last week when he had another ear infection gave him some kind of pediatric steroid, flo-pred, which seemed to turn him into a new kid, but two days after finishing it the coughing started again and he is once again not sleeping and feeling miserable. Does this all sound typical for toddlers in winter? He does go to preschool and is exposed to lots of germs. Do your pediatricians prescribe cough medicines or decongestants? Is there something I should insist on?

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answers from New London on

My daughter is much older now, but, I went through his back in the 90's.

One doctor told me she has asthma. My gutt feeling told me that she did not. I did the following:

First, I changed all of my laundry detergent to organic, no fragrance, etc... I rinsed her bedding an extra time. I got rid of all the stuffed animals in her room. I pulled up the wall to wall carpeting and used vinegar and water to clean the hardwood floors. I got her off of all dairy after reading I changed all of my cleaning supplies to green, non-toxic ones. I even took her off of all dyes in foods and meds. I stopped feeding her soy and corn syrup, too. They are GM and have caused allergies to skyrocket since they have been introduced. You can find more info on OCA.COM. I kept her hands washed with plain soap and water. I took her outside for an hr plus everyday (except in pollen season). I aired out the house if the weather was great ! The air outside is cleaner than inside.

My daughter was tested and she was allergic to mold and mildew. Yet, we have never had water in the house.

Apparently, all the chemicals in the cleaners, laundry det, candles, pus in milk, etc... were making her miserable. Within a month or so, all of these changes worked !! When I brought her back to the doctor ( a different one) he told me that she did not have asthma.

A visit to an ear, nose and throat doctor might be worthwhile. Let the ENT doctor know how many ear infections he has had, etc...
This MIGHT be medical.

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answers from San Francisco on

It could be allergies or asthma (or even both). One of my sons was diagnosed with asthma. Before we knew he would cough for weeks after getting a cold and it seemed to take a long time for him to really get over it. My other son (his twin) might get the same cold but be over it in a few days with little coughing.

After he was diagnosed with asthma, we put him on a daily maintenance nebulizer treatment in the flu/cold season and bump it up to 2-3 times a day when he starts to get sick. In addition, we do an immediate acting (rescue) nebulizer treatment as needed if he gets wheezy or starts to cough a lot. We've found that if we can keep on top of the maintenance medicine properly, the coughing and length of time are greatly reduced. It has made a huge difference.

I'd recommend seeing a pediatric allergy/asthma specialist.

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answers from New York on

Are you sure your child doesn't have allergies? My daughter tends to have an allergy to molds, so her allergies pick up in the Fall and go into the Winter. This year hasn't been THAT bad, but its just a thought. Some allergy symptoms can mimic cold symptoms and the extra fluid can defnitely go into the child's ears causing ear infections or into the chest from the drip. Just a thought. BTW, I give my daughter Children's Allegra twice a day during her allergy time and it does seem to help. Maybe ask your ped about that?

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Madison on

At 2 years old, does your son eat or drink a lot of cow products? He could be allergic to casein or whey protein in the milk. The allergy would cause a lot of pflegm and congestion.

I know, because I have a casein allergy. My casein allergy also makes me cough A LOT whenever I get sick. I was told my entire life that I had exercise-induced asthma. Even was put on asthma medicine when my daughter was 2 years old and was on it for 8 years. Guess what? I stopped eating and drinking ALL cow dairy products after I found out I had a casein allergy when I was 40 years old and I no longer have "asthma" (I actually never had asthma, I have an allergy to casein), do not take any asthma medications (actually, the Advair my doctor put me on has probalby actually HURT my lungs, as a person who has an allergy to cow protein [casein, whey] should NOT be taking Advair), and I no longer have congestion, pflegm, or a cough UNLESS I get a bad cold. And even then, everything is a lot less severe than it used to be.

At this point, he's been sick for 3 months. It won't hurt to take him off cow dairy products and see if his symptoms clear up/go away. You'll need to keep him off cow dairy for at least two weeks to judge how he's doing. And be VERY careful when you read food ingredients, because milk/casein/whey hides in everything.

Even if he doesn't have an allergy, drinking or eating a lot of cow dairy products still produces a lot of congestion and pflegm. Try cutting out all cow dairy products (you can use nut milks, coconut milk, goat and sheep cheese during this phase) to see how your son reacts.

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answers from Los Angeles on

The constant runny nose, coughing and congestion sounds like how my guy was this last Nov/Dec, his pediatrician diagnosed him with asthma. He's now on maintenance breathing treatments (albuterol when he was sick), and allergy meds and fine. The humidifier made his asthma worse so his doc agreed when I stopped using it.

The fact your son did better on the prednisone/steroid makes me think your son could have asthma, my guy had to go on a stronger steroid after the first, another week until we got it under control.

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answers from Washington DC on

Sounds to me like he has allergies.

Flo-pred is a steroid used to easy breathing during allergy and asthma flare ups. You should have him tested for food and environmental allergies. You should also have him tested for asthma (the coughing)

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answers from Dallas on

Take him to an allergy / asthma doctor. This is exactly how / why my youngest got diagnosed, and the asthma medicines have worked wonders.

Good luck.

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answers from New York on

Could be coughing asthma. I would go to a pediatric pulmonologist.

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answers from Kansas City on

My son had the same kind of issue about 2 years ago. We finally went to an allergist and yes he has allergies, but he had terrible sinus infection that was just never getting cleared up.


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answers from Cumberland on

I would take him to a pediatric ENT. Are you changing the filter in the humidifier and cleaning it weekly? could it contain mold? Is the air in your home filtered? Are you using a wood burning fireplace? Are you giving him the antibiotic at precise intervals? Do you often open the windows in your home to dilute viruses? Are the surfaces at school being cleaned and disinfected daily? Do you have pets at home? Has your son been tested for allergies? Is the honey you are giving made from the bees indigenous to your area? I guess what I am getting at is, there are so many factors that contribute to your son's condition that it is difficult to isolate the cause and treat him. Best of luck-soon it will be spring!

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answers from Honolulu on

See an ENT.
Or a Pulmonologist.



answers from Buffalo on

Try a Pedicatric Chiropractor. My son has not had a cold or ear infection since we started seeing one. Last year year had 3 double ear infections and a runny nose/cough all winter



answers from New York on

It is possible he has allergies, it is also possible he may need nebulizer treatments for the cough. that constant tickle cough will keep them up at night and can be from allergies. I would get a second opinion.



answers from New York on

Talk to your doctor and if he /she is not willing to consider other options, then get a second opinion. Make sure you talk t the doctor first, he /she may have a reason for trying further treatment. Unless you ask, you don't know.

That said, soething similar happened to my daughter (3 years ago ish) so I took her to an allergist. No allergies, just a sinus infection. Some antibiotics and a nasal spray for a week and she was fine.

Recently, 3 weeks ago (now 5) she had a bad cold for 2 weeks, it turned into bronchitis. The doctor put her on antibiotics and had her on a nebulizer for the cough. And, my 4 month old was also on the nebulizer since he had a bad cold too and the humidifier was not helping enough.

I hope your little one is better soon!



answers from Miami on

No, it's not worth forcing honey on your child. Don't do that.

Do you have a pediatric ENT? If you don't, find one. That's what you should be insisting on.

I hope you find some answers soon.




answers from New York on

Find a good asthma and allergy specialist. My daughter had "croup" over and over or a head cold or some type of sickness and turns out it was all related the the asthma that she has. SHe does NOT wheeze. she coughs and seems sick. she too did many antibiodics and even was rushed to the hospital several times because she couldn't catch her breath because of the coughing and congestion. I would go to a different doctor right away. Could he just be prone to ALL viruses he is exposed too YES but is it likely that there isn't something more to it No. Get a second oppinion or go to a specialist.


answers from Chicago on

Another vote to investigate allergies.



answers from New York on

We call it 'day care cough' and do the best we can to muddle through winter. My kids, husband and I have all been sick for what feels like months. Different colds throughout the season. The ear infections are tough and some kids are more susceptible to them so the ENT advice is good. Otherwise the daycare/school is probably the culprit and once they start going outside again, things will most likely improve.


answers from Dover on

My first thought is allergies. Allergies can cause congestion, coughing, and ear infections. It happens with my daughter all the time. Nasal congestion starts clear but then turns yellowish signifying the change from just allergies to infection starting. In my family we tend to have asthmatic bronchitis or bronchial asthma and it is typically due to allergies (allergy induced asthma)....all these terms have been used for us.

You have to clear up the symptoms and get to the root of the problem to completely clear them up. 2 is a bit young for allergy testing but my daughter's was bad enough that they did it at age 3. They like to wait til at least 4 or 5.

I would suggest you evaluate everything your son is exposed to (bedding, detergents, soaps, cleaning products, dust, animals, etc). You should also point blank ask your doctor what the cause is and tell him or her you want to treat the symptoms to resolve the immediate concern but you want a long term solution for the cause.



answers from San Antonio on

The cough made me think asthma....becasue when my son gets a cold and he starts coughing if I listen he is wheezing too. Out comes the breathing treatments.

But if you have been to the doctor and they have listened to him and he is not wheezing...then probably not asthma...

Maybe get one more opinion then just chalk it up to pre0school winter germs and pray for an early spring!!


answers from San Francisco on

If he's in preschool this is not unusual.



answers from Cleveland on

i used to get so mad when my son would sniffle and my mil would say "yup he's teething' welll, at 9 with his molars coming i can finally admit for him there was that pattern, and not much i could do about it.

of course the suggestions for ENT etc are good ones, i woudl hate for your little guy to have an ear infection and have it go untreated, but for us it was teething and it sucked.

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