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Persistent night cough in 4 year old DD

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#1 aypa

Posted 28 February 2013 - 08:25 AM

I was wondering if any other parents had any advice on treating a persistent night cough. My 4 year old DD will often have coughing fits at night that go on for an hour or so each (she can have up to 3 or 4 of these a night). There is nothing wrong with her during the day.

I do not think it is Asthma (either does the doctor) as my DS has asthma so I am aware of what this presents like. Her cough is just like she has a tickle in the back of her throat that will just not go away.

She has a similar thing this time last year and the doctor said it could be a post nasal drip from allergies. I have tried Antihistamines but it doesn't seem to help. I am considering asking the doctor for a full allergy screening test to see if there is anything in particular that she is allergic to.

If anyone has any suggestions I would be very grateful as she is keeping the whole house awake - she sleeps through her coughing fits but no-one else does!

I have heard of vicks on the bottom of the feet with socks works??? - as anyone had any success with this - seems a little strange and I don't understand how it would actually work!

Thanks in advance!

#2 Carmen02

Posted 28 February 2013 - 08:32 AM

my DD gets like that when her allergies are playing up! Shes allergic to alot of environmental things like grass, dust, pollen and so on. my DDs cough improves when shes not flat on her back, we stick a couple of big couch coushins and that helps.

#3 Alacritous~Andy

Posted 28 February 2013 - 08:37 AM

My DS had a period of a couple of months where he was like this.  Raising the bed head is the only thing that has helped.

#4 *Tess*

Posted 28 February 2013 - 09:19 AM

My daughter presented like that when she had whooping cough. The doctor didn't want to test for it because he didn't believe it could possibly be that. Tests were done at my insistence and came back positive.

#5 Kay1

Posted 28 February 2013 - 09:23 AM

Id be asking for tests for whooping cough and mycoplasma. Also I'd pull out her bed and clean and vaccuum very carefully all around. I was coughing each time I fed DS3 overnight and eventually realised the blind behind where I fed him was all mouldy and dirty (even though I cleaned it a few weeks ago) from the damp weather. I cleaned it up and the cough went away.

#6 jill1972

Posted 28 February 2013 - 09:44 AM

First thing I thought when I read the topic was asthma, my symptoms was a persistent cough & nothing else it was just mild asthma.  Why doesn't the doctor think it's asthma?  Did he give her a breath test?  Coughing at night is a red flag for it too.


#7 AggyW72

Posted 28 February 2013 - 09:52 AM

Our DS did this for almost a year , only at night from about 3.5 onwards. He was trialled on Ventolin  with no result.
Then we had some rain leak into his room, pulled up the carpet and found mould in the underlay. We had not long moved into the house, already pulled down the old curtains due to dust, but clearly the room had leaked before and not been fixed!
As soon as the mould was gone the coughing stopped.
We now have no carpet at all and just a bare concrete slab till we get our cork floor later this year - we've all felt better since!

#8 cinnabubble

Posted 28 February 2013 - 09:55 AM

My older daughter was prescribed Singulair for a cough like that.

#9 Baroness Bubbles

Posted 28 February 2013 - 10:01 AM

My 4 year old DD has cough variant asthma, and it presents with a cough that sounds like a tickle would be causing it. No wheezeing, ever.

Other than asthma, I agree with the previos PPs, get her tested for WC, and double check there is no mould/dust/severe dampness etc.

Does it only happen in her bed? If she were to sleep in the lounge room or at someone elses house does it still happen then?

#10 melajoe

Posted 28 February 2013 - 10:13 AM

I'll be watching this thread for ideas too.  My 2.5 year old daughter also has a persistent cough at night.  We first noticed it when she was around 12 months old.  We were living in Sydney, it was over winter and the house we were in was pretty cold at night (even though we had a heater in her room, there always seemed to be a chill in the air).  At first we put it down to cold night air, after a month or so we had her tested for whooping cough and found it wasn't that.  The doctor said he didn't think it was asthma either.  Hers was just like you've described, like she has a tickle in her throat.  In the morning when she wakes she will always have a big cough, it is almost like a "smokers cough" where it sounds like she is trying to cough something up but nothing comes.  Sometimes you can hear stuff rattling around in her chest, but when we take her to the doctor they say her chest is clear.  We've since moved houses, twice, and are now living in far north QLD where I thought the humid air would help but it hasn't.  She still coughs most nights.  We've tried antihistamines and cough suppressants, humidifiers, vicks on her chest and feet, but nothing seems to give her any long-term relief.  She does snore at night, sometimes, and DH and I have wondered if we should pursue it further through an ENT specialist, but so many doctors have said there is nothing wrong with her.

Sorry I don't have any advice for you.  I know it can be so frustrating and the sleepless nights are so draining.  I'll be watching to see if anybody has any suggestions.

#11 Domestic Goddess

Posted 28 February 2013 - 10:28 AM

How long has she had this for? If its been a few weeks, it could be croup. Especially if it sounds like a "barking" cough. If its been for a few months, it could be an allergy or asthma.

DS started with croup and 6 weeks later he was still coughing after 2 lots of antibiotics. He got diagnosed with post infectious asthma.
He's been on Ventolin at night for a few months after and is fine now.

If you're concerned, please see a GP. Having coughing fits is bad enough, but this is interrupting her sleep and yours as well.

#12 RealityBites

Posted 28 February 2013 - 10:34 AM

Sounds like asthma to me. Go see a pediatrician.

#13 aypa

Posted 28 February 2013 - 02:40 PM

Thanks everyone for your replies.

I will be taking her back to the doctor and request that all the tests suggested are conducted - i.e. whooping cough and allergy testing.

To the PP, it doesn't really matter where she sleeps - my mothers, the couch, she still coughs.

I obviously really want find out the source of the problem as I want her to get a good nights sleep (even though she doesn't wake up - she is still not sleeping soundly).

In regards the the Asthma, the reason that they doctor does not believe it to be Asthma, is because there are absolutely no other symptoms. As I said before, my DS has pretty bad Asthma, is on a preventive morning and night, he too has asthma that presents as a cough when he gets a cold, with no wheeze. He gets other symptoms as well though, tug in the neck, noticeable breathing with his stomach muscles, etc

I will bring it up again with the doctor and ask him to make sure that it is not asthma.

She does snore some nights as well - so maybe a referral to and ENT specialist wouldn't go astray either.

#14 Sunshine Mumma

Posted 20 April 2013 - 03:41 AM

Melajoe -
That sounds VERY asthmatic like.... Did the GP do a test for asthma?? May Drs are resistant to giving small children long term medication for asthma, so they often arent tested.

This is exactly what I do almost every morning and I was only diagnosed asthmatic at 27!! As I was unable to get a GP to test me any earlier...

Reducing milk intake can help to mimise mucus build up too biggrin.gif

#15 mum850

Posted 29 April 2013 - 09:28 PM

Asthma unless proven otherwise. Night cough is a very common presentation. You could try your other kids' ventolin and see if it helps.
Other diagnosis - reflux but less likely.

#16 Natttmumm

Posted 07 May 2013 - 01:12 PM

I posted nearly the same post a few weeks ago. DD has been taking singular now for a about 10 days or so and cough is gone!! Like your Dd is was only a cough at night and nothing else. Three winters in a row it happened.
Now its gone and we are thrilledshe has stopped. We didn't have mould or dampness anywhere. We also make her room really warm and make sure she is always warm.
Worth a try?

#17 tenar

Posted 08 May 2013 - 11:10 AM

4yo DD1 often has a cough at night.  It's a slight, dry cough that she wakes with sometimes.  Sometimes she gets more and more upset with it until she is really freaking out.  But it sounds like you describe: something tickling her throat.  

We had a nurse here overnight for another reason and she listened and said "it sounds like asthma".  So we tried (with the doctor's agreement) ventolin to relieve the cough and whaddayaknow it works.  It is asthma, even though DD has no other symptoms, no wheeze, nothing.  I am so relieved because we could have gone another whole winter without identifying the cause of it.  

I suggest you go back to the doctor and ask if you can try ventolin to see if it makes the cough disappear.  As far as I know, asthma tends to run in families, so if you have one child with it maybe the other has it too.  I don't think it presents the same way in every child and I'm sure that also depends on the severity of it - maybe your son has a worse case?  Surely it's worth checking.  

#18 FeralZombieMum

Posted 08 May 2013 - 11:27 AM

Another that thinks it could be asthma.

I have 2 kids that have this happen over winter, after they get a cold. If I give them ventolin, their cough improves dramatically.

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