Author Topic: Strange persistant cough in 5 year old  (Read 23153 times)

Offline kcb

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Strange persistant cough in 5 year old
« on: February 07, 2008, 01:31:19 PM »
My 5yo ds has had a strange bark-like cough for about 3 months.  It seems to be in the upper part of his throat, not low in his chest.  He has no mucus, no fever.  It started after a cold, but just stayed on and on.  We tried garlic, GSE, etc. for infection. . .  We tried turmeric, for inflammation. . .  Finally, we tried a prescription antibiotic and a cough medicine.  Nothing has worked!  The only slight success we've had was when I gave him a cough suppressant to make sure that it was not just a habit.  While I had him on the cough suppressant, it subsided, but when I took him off, the cough started right back up again.  I would like to fix the problem, not just cover it up.

Has anyone seen anything like this?  What do you suggest?

Offline healthybratt

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Re: Strange persistant cough in 5 year old
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2008, 05:44:53 AM »
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Offline Siege

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Re: Strange persistant cough in 5 year old
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2008, 05:49:46 AM »
Could it be allergies? When my allergies are bad I cough. It is not in my chest that often, but in my throat, like the pollen and dust is stuck there. Sometimes it is on my chest, but that is a different reaction (more like hives in my lungs). Does his throat itch? Does his ears itch? That would signal allergies. CJ

Offline Kati*did

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Re: Strange persistant cough in 5 year old
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2008, 06:12:32 AM »
When I lived in CA, I had a cough like this that lasted for about 2-3 months.  I even had my chest x-rayed and nothing showed.  My doc gave me an inhaler (that I never used) and told me I was getting asthma.   ::)  I didn't believe it, and after looking back, I am almost certain that it was an allergy to something in our house.  I went jogging every day, and when I was out jogging, I never had a problem.  I never found out what it was, but would almost certainly chalk it up to an allergy.
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Offline SC

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Re: Strange persistant cough in 5 year old
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2008, 06:59:50 AM »
I'm not saying that this is the cause, but just to be on the safe side, I would have him screened by a pediatric cardiologist for a heart condition.

A persistent cough could be a sign of something serious.
Likely it isn't, but I'd rather have it eliminated as a possibility.

This testing will likely take the form of an echocardiogram which will show an image of the child's heart on a screen to the technician. Often the parent stays in the room with the child during the test. It is non-invasive.

FYI in serious cases, a pediatrician cannot detect these conditions with a stethoscope.
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Offline kcb

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Re: Strange persistant cough in 5 year old
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2008, 07:52:03 AM »
Thanks for your replies!  The allergy thing is a possibility.  Some of our friends and relatives have suggested allergies.  We have never had allergy problems in our family, so I'm not sure how to proceed . . .

SC, help me understand about the link between a cough and possible heart problems.  I've never considered that before.  The two seem so unrelated.


Offline SC

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Re: Strange persistant cough in 5 year old
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2008, 08:58:52 AM »
SC, help me understand about the link between a cough and possible heart problems.  I've never considered that before.  The two seem so unrelated.

The respiratory system and the heart work hand in hand for your body's health and survival. When one system is not working properly it places stress on the other. If a heart is defective for any reason, it affects the rate at which the body is able to deliver vital oxygen to the extremities. This means that the lungs will try to compensate for the deficiency by increasing the rate of breathing. This can trigger a cough reflex.

Additionally, if there is a buildup of fluid in the chest cavity, the sensation can also trigger a cough.

In the large majority of cases a cough is just a cough. However, in some cases, a cough that does not respond to treatments can be the sign of a more serious, underlying difficulty with the heart.
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Offline kcb

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Re: Strange persistant cough in 5 year old
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2008, 02:31:44 PM »
In the large majority of cases a cough is just a cough. However, in some cases, a cough that does not respond to treatments can be the sign of a more serious, underlying difficulty with the heart.

OK.  That is making some sense.  We'll make sure it's not the heart.

Offline stebs7

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Re: Strange persistant cough in 5 year old
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2008, 03:26:16 PM »
Have you thought of whooping cough?  Children that have been vaccinated for whooping cough may not get the traditional whooping cough "whoop" or the normal vomiting from coughing so hard (especially at night) but they do have it for a long time.  In China, whooping cough is called the 100 day cough.  That's about how long it lasted for our children (though unvaccinated - they are now immune for life where as children who are vaccinated may get it several times).

Also, my daughter had a cough for weeks that we couldn't get to the bottom of a few years ago and we read about coltsfoot - made some tea for her - and the next day the cough was gone. Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) is a plant in the family Asteraceae.

It has been used medicinally as a cough suppressant. The name "tussilago" itself means "cough suppressant." The plant has been used since at least historical times to treat lung ailments such as asthma as well as various coughs by way of smoking. Crushed flowers supposedly cured skin conditions, and the plant has been consumed as a food item.

Coltsfoot is know as the cough herb.

Blessings, Nancy


Offline Siege

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Re: Strange persistant cough in 5 year old
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2008, 07:44:17 AM »
HEY! Aren't you the same one asking baout bat infestation clean up? could it be associated with the bats? CJ

Offline kcb

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Re: Strange persistant cough in 5 year old
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2008, 08:34:36 AM »
HEY! Aren't you the same one asking baout bat infestation clean up? could it be associated with the bats? CJ

Yes, that's me!  But the bats are in the attic of a rental unit that we own and rent out, so we don't live in the same house with the bats.  Good thought.

Offline kcb

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Re: Strange persistant cough in 5 year old
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2008, 08:40:01 AM »
Have you thought of whooping cough?  Children that have been vaccinated for whooping cough may not get the traditional whooping cough "whoop" or the normal vomiting from coughing so hard (especially at night) but they do have it for a long time.  In China, whooping cough is called the 100 day cough.  That's about how long it lasted for our children (though unvaccinated - they are now immune for life where as children who are vaccinated may get it several times).

Also, my daughter had a cough for weeks that we couldn't get to the bottom of a few years ago and we read about coltsfoot - made some tea for her - and the next day the cough was gone. Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) is a plant in the family Asteraceae.

It has been used medicinally as a cough suppressant. The name "tussilago" itself means "cough suppressant." The plant has been used since at least historical times to treat lung ailments such as asthma as well as various coughs by way of smoking. Crushed flowers supposedly cured skin conditions, and the plant has been consumed as a food item.

Coltsfoot is know as the cough herb.

Blessings, Nancy



That's great info!  I did not know about coltsfoot -- we may try it.  We went to an ENT doctor, and he is having my ds checked for whooping cough (pertussis, I think).  But he said the cough doesn't sound like pertussis.  And my ds has had no fever or illness, and the cough is not out of control, like I've heard pertussis is.  And he is not vaccinated.  Is it possible that the cough is a very mild pertussis????  I thought kids get dreadfully sick with pertussis.

Offline kcb

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Re: Strange persistant cough in 5 year old
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2008, 08:41:39 AM »
Maybe I should read the whooping cough thread . . .

Offline kcb

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Re: Strange persistant cough in 5 year old
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2008, 05:14:38 PM »
Well, we have made some progress, so I thought I would post. . . .

We discovered that the cough is stress-induced.  Ds coughs whenever anything is stressful for him, and I can usually make it stop right away by giving him a little attention.  Of course, we are trying to reduce his stress now, and that is helping a lot.  The cough started at the birth of baby #4, interestingly.

Offline kcb

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Re: Strange persistant cough in 5 year old
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2008, 03:50:09 PM »
Can I bring this up again?  My 5yo ds has had a strange bark-like cough for about 5 months now.  It seems to be in the upper part of his throat, not low in his chest.  He has no mucus, no fever.  Fairly recently, we realized that the cough is from stress/nerves -- he will cough incessantly when he reads (which he loves), but then stops completely if I offer to read the rest of the book to him.  He coughed a lot at his T-ball practice, but only when it was his turn to bat.  Whenever he is coughing, I can usually get him to stop by just chatting with him and giving him my full attention.

So, the solution is obvious: pay full attention to 5yods all the time.  But I have 3 other kids, and other responsibilities as well.  Is it normal for a 5yo to need so much attention?  Am I too overloaded to be the mother that he needs?  Or is there a way I can train him to cope with stress by himself?  I am at a loss.

Offline jeniwren

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Re: Strange persistant cough in 5 year old
« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2009, 06:22:46 AM »
This is an old thread, but I read through it and thought I'd ask...
Since learning that your son's cough is stress induced, have you tried the coltsfoot, or anything else? You may also want to look into lobelia.

I really don't know how the psyche and the physical work together in the body to produce the effect your son is having, but perhaps their is an imbalance somewhere. Some chemical that's being produced too much when he's stressed or something...
Totally don't know!
Hope you're not even dealing with this anymore!

Offline AndysJess

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Re: Strange persistant cough in 5 year old
« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2009, 06:33:43 AM »
We learned with our oldest, 8 yo ds that when he coughs like that, we have to remind him to use self-control.  Otherwise, he gets so caught up in coughing that he can make himself throw up.  He has allergy-induced asthma, so we tried to take that into account, but when my DH has firmly instructed him to stop coughing, he can stop.
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Offline Jade

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Re: Strange persistant cough in 5 year old
« Reply #17 on: July 31, 2009, 10:09:58 AM »
We had a very similar situation. My four year old son got a cold, which lasted briefly... but the cough just wouldn't go away. He had it for MONTHS. Sometimes it was just this little annoying cough, but it would turn "barky" very quickly. He was healthy as could be, and had no other symptoms, but that cough would NOT give up. It was very embarrassing, too, because he'd be fine one minute, and then he'd start coughing and people would turn and look at him and comment on how terrible his cough was. We couldn't figure out what was causing it - and went through the phase of thinking it was just habit. But then I started noticing he was coughing anytime he would start to run or be very active at all. This had me concerned that he had asthma. So I did two things:

First, I encouraged him to breathe through his nose. I noticed that when he was running, he was breathing through his mouth, and he would be coughing like crazy in no time. Nose-breathing would allow him to run full-tilt around the room a bunch of times with only a cough or two. (Incidentally, there's a whole program for treating asthma based upon nose vs. mouth breathing).

The other thing I tried was making a big pitcher of herbal tea and letting him drink on it all through the day. He had had a persistent cough once before which I kicked with a week of steady doses of mullein tea, but this time, the mullein wasn't helping. After a little research, I ended up getting some Holy Basil Tea (tulsi). Let me just say that I LOVE that stuff! I chose it partially because I felt comfortable in giving it to such a young child, and it was very affordable.

After months and months of coughing, one WEEK of holy basil tea... and his cough was gone. It flared back up briefly when I quit giving him tea, so we went right back on it for a few more days. It's been gone for months now, with no signs of returning. I still encourage him to breathe through his nose while running, but only so he'll stay in the practice of doing so. There is NO cough anymore.

I used Organic India Tulsi Tea (Original and Honey/Chamomile) that I bought on Iherb.com for about $5 a box. It tastes pleasant, and I had no problems getting my son to drink it.

Oh, and total cost? I didn't even make it through a whole box of tea, so my overall expense was probably about... $3.  8)
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Offline floydian

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Re: Strange persistant cough in 5 year old
« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2009, 10:21:22 AM »
I don't know if it's been said here yet or not, but many times asthma is related to a milk allergy.
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Offline kcb

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Re: Strange persistant cough in 5 year old
« Reply #19 on: August 17, 2011, 04:26:02 AM »
Hi!  I just found this thread again -- I'm the one that started it.  Well, we actually did find the reason and cure for my son's persistant cough.  It had something to do with the nerves in his neck, and taking him to the chiropractor fixed it right up!  I never would have guessed!!!