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Uncommon reasons for toddler cough?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
My 21 month old DS has had this little unproductive cough for 2 weeks now. It happens mainly during the night, but sometimes during the day, like after running. It's never a coughing fit, he has no issue breathing, doesn't turn blue, etc. He also hasn't had any cold-like symptoms or fever recently - this annoying little cough is his only symptom. The main issue is that it wakes him up at night.

I've looked up causes for this on MDC and the internet. It seems like such a common occurrence here and I'm not too terribly worried. It's just that my curious nature wants to know why exactly he's coughing!

I highly doubt it's asthma, I know it's not pertussis, not a cold, definitely not croup (I've heard the croup cough before in the pedi's waiting room and it's unmistakable!) What I'm interested in are the more uncommon reasons for a chronic cough in a toddler. All four of his canine teeth are coming through and are taking their darn time. Perhaps he has more saliva in his mouth and that's causing the cough?

Also, two weeks ago right when this started, he was eating mango pieces with me. He seemed to aspirate a piece, but coughed through it and went right back to eating and seemed fine. I suppose that could be lodged in his throat, but highly unlikely, and he would have been coughing a lot more that day. Crazy mama worrying.

I really want to avoid the pedi's office, especially this time of the year. I don't think she could help anyway, and DS doesn't seem bothered by this cough. I was just wondering if anyone else had experience with something like this?
post #2 of 16
Have you tried elevating his head during the night? I know you have siad not cold symptoms besides this cough but maybe it is nasal drip? I know that is usually what my kids get especially while teething. Try putting a pillow under him or his crib matress to elevate his head at night. =)
post #3 of 16
Are you close to any big body of water being affected by the Red Tide? I'm on the Atlantic side and any time we get close to the beach we are all coughing. It's awful.
post #4 of 16
i know you say you think its not asthma, but the beginning of your post you said mostly happens at night, sometimes during the day like after running. that says asthma to me. may not be a bad idea to go to the doc. hopefully the doc would have him run around for a bit and listen to his lungs afterwards.
post #5 of 16
I agree that a dry cough taking place after running and night sounds a bit like asthma or RAD (reactive airway disoder). RAD is actually very common.

It could also be postnasal drip, allergies, or reflux.
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Well, the coughing after running only happened once the other night when he was running around the garden center in the cold air at Home Depot while we were getting our tree. Asthma doesn't run in our family, and although I know that doesn't mean anything, this just came out of no where. He's never wheezed or anything, after running the other night it was just that same little cough. He wasn't struggling for breath or anything. I'll admit I don't much about it, but from what I've read, it doesn't sound like it to me.

No red tide near here, as we live about an hour from the beach. That stuff is nasty though! I was thinking possible post nasal drip too, but isn't that caused by allergies? And I'll look into RAD. Thanks for the suggestions!
post #7 of 16
also this time of year running a heater is common, and can lead to dry throats... you being in FL I would doubt you need to run one, but never know... thought I'd mention it anyway.
post #8 of 16
I'd say teething & postnasal drip, possibly exacerbated if you're running heat at all which can be really irritating. DS gets a lot of mucous & saliva from teething & frequently has had a cough at night from it.
try saline spray if it's postnasal drip/mucous related, and maybe a humidifier at night?
good luck!
post #9 of 16
When this happened with ds, we found out that he had seasonal allergies (we have a HUGE grand oak that rains acorns on our patio like crazy). We're in FL and after a few weeks of me watching him and having a friend notice that he had dark circles under his eyes (also a sign of allergies, not just being tired) and we hit the ped who looked at him and said Allergies-look at his eyes.

A little Claritin and he's great.

Good luck.
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by loraxc View Post
I agree that a dry cough taking place after running and night sounds a bit like asthma or RAD (reactive airway disoder). RAD is actually very common.

It could also be postnasal drip, allergies, or reflux.
I was thinking relux could be a possibility, as well.
post #11 of 16

re: cough

Quote:
Originally Posted by AEZMama View Post
When this happened with ds, we found out that he had seasonal allergies (we have a HUGE grand oak that rains acorns on our patio like crazy). We're in FL and after a few weeks of me watching him and having a friend notice that he had dark circles under his eyes (also a sign of allergies, not just being tired) and we hit the ped who looked at him and said Allergies-look at his eyes.

A little Claritin and he's great.

Good luck.
I agree with this one. My 2 1/2 year old got a cough with no other symptoms. I took her in after 6 weeks because all the grandmothers were saying it sounded bad (but I said no fever, no runny nose, no wheezing). The doctor looked up her nose, and declared allergies (the nasal passages are a bluish tinge, as opposed to the red irritated nasal passages of cold or infection). He put her on Zyrtec, after a few days, no more cough. He said because of the time of year it started (beginning of November, we're in CT), it was either dust or mold. He said once the houses close up, that's what you get. Depending on your weather, what's in season? Good luck.
Kathy
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by ripcurlgirl26 View Post
Well, the coughing after running only happened once the other night when he was running around the garden center in the cold air at Home Depot while we were getting our tree. Asthma doesn't run in our family, and although I know that doesn't mean anything, this just came out of no where. He's never wheezed or anything, after running the other night it was just that same little cough. He wasn't struggling for breath or anything. I'll admit I don't much about it, but from what I've read, it doesn't sound like it to me.

No red tide near here, as we live about an hour from the beach. That stuff is nasty though! I was thinking possible post nasal drip too, but isn't that caused by allergies? And I'll look into RAD. Thanks for the suggestions!
It could still be asthma or RAD. I've had it my whole life and never got diagnosed until I was in my 20s. My mom figured since I wasn't wheezing or struggling to breathe, it couldn't be asthma. Turns out, it is. My "triggers" are cold air and exercise. . .always worse at night than in the day. I breathe alright, it's just that my lungs get so irritated that I cough a lot. Eventually they settle down and the coughing stops. I use an albuterol inhaler now when it won't go away. . and sometimes a steroid inhaler during a cold (being sick seems to aggravate my symptoms).
post #13 of 16
Just this past semester at school, we learned that sometimes with asthma the only symptom is a cough, which usually happens at night, or after a trigger.

I would get him checked as soon as you can manage it. Good luck!
post #14 of 16
Definately don't rule out reflux!!!
post #15 of 16
wondering how this worked out for you? Any definitive conclusions?

My 22 month old has started having coughing fits at night... she's also teething - her 4 canines right now and it is taking forever.. but she has had the dark circles under her eyes before - i didn't know that was a sign but i noticed it a few times. i want to test for mold. we live in an old bungalow house ripe with dampness and no ventilation in the bathroom. One night after being out late, we came home and as soon as we walked in the house she started coughing. We live in CA and it's quite chilly here right now so we are exposed to a lot of dry heat right now. So really it could be anything or all of those things???

I guess i'll start with removing all chemical cleaners and adding a humidifier.
post #16 of 16
The fact that this started after a possible aspiration episode definitely makes me think that it could be related. I would take him to the pediatrician and have someone listen to his lungs in case there is still some mango in there.

My ds aspirated a peanut when he was 24 months old, and this is exactly what happened with him (although in his case the cough was more frequent and there was some wheezing as well). He ended up having surgery to remove the pieces of peanut. The doctor said that if I hadn't brought him in, it likely would have turned into pneumonia eventually and then perhaps chronic lung disease.

Anytime a child starts suddenly wheezing or coughing following after eating, without any cold symptoms, aspiration should be ruled out.

Lex
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