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Poor kid can't catch a break :(

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Owen's had a cough for months. It gets better and worse but it's always there. His dr and I have been keeping an eye on it for quite awhile. He had an ear infection a little while ago (at the same time as the cough) so he was on antibiotics. The ear infection went away, the cough stayed. We chalked it up to a bug/virus. Except it still hasn't gone away. Thursday night it got really bad (he also had a mild fever). Since we had a big weekend and beginning of this week I took him to the dr on Friday morning, just to rule out any throat or ear infections before the weekend. All was clear, just the cough and mild wheezing. We went home and kept an eye on it. A week later, it's still not better. So, back to the dr this morning (I also wanted to talk to him about the evaluation Owen had done).

First the dr wants him to have a chest x-ray done just to rule out anything odd going on. He said he's seen kids who had a cough for months and when they finally get a chest x-ray done they find out they asperated a piece of a toy or something. It would be rare, but possible. So he's going to get that done probably tomorrow morning.

The dr fully expects the x-ray to be normal. If that is the case, his next guess is asthma. Right now he's calling it "reactive airway disease"... basically Owen is coughing and wheezing and we don't know why. We are going to try albuterol and see if it helps. If it does, we lean more towards asthma. If it doesn't... we'll brainstorm more and try to figure out how to help this cough/wheezing.

As far as the evaluation he just had goes... the dr and I pretty much agree on it. PDD-NOS seems to fit. Owen has some quirks. He has some signs of autism. He doesn't have enough to meet the criteria for autism. But yet, he's not quite typical either. For now, pdd-nos fits. With the adhd- as the dr said.... he could walk down the street and point out a dozen people within 5 minutes that he can diagnose with adhd. It means nothing. Yes, we'll keep it in mind. No, we are not going to medicate him. It may be a way to explain some of his quirks, sure. But maybe it's not. Who knows. Same with OCD. Just another "roll your eyes and keep it in mind" type of thing. Am I going to jump up and medicate him? Not a chance. Will I keep that possibility in mind? Sure.

For now we are going to try to find some sort of behavior therapist he can start seeing to work on some of his major issues.

Soooo... that's the update for now.
post #2 of 15
Have they not checked for bronchitis or pneumonia?
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Yes and no. His lungs don't sound like they have gunk in them, nor is he coughing up any mucus or anything.

I'm no doctor but I believe with bronchitis isn't it you usually start feeling bad 2-4 days after you get over an upper respiratory infection. Coughing up mucus, low fever, tired. If you do have bronchitis you would usually be better in 2-3 weeks, right?

For pneumonia, again with my little knowledge, isn't it coughing up mucus, fever, chills/shaking, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, being tired/weak? I believe you should also be better in 2-3 weeks?

With Owen, he's had the cough on and off for months (at times it's better, times it's worse but it hasn't gone away completely), no mucus coming up, no chills/shaking/nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, a fever for 2 days (99-101) and then it was gone. He has been a bit tired lately but we've had a really busy week so I don't blame him. Heck, I'm going to go lay down and try to sneak in a 30 minute nap in a minute before I have to run back out and get him from preschool He's coughing a lot at night which is keeping him from getting good sleep. He did sleep in his bed last night though, as opposed to the floor. LOL!

But I guess the x-ray would point out pneumonia if that is what's going on.
post #4 of 15
I had bronchitis a few yrs ago and did not have a lot of phlegm. I also had been coughing for a solid couple of months. My doc said I was on the verge of pneumonia.
post #5 of 15
Both my younger boys have long-term coughs like you describe. Their lungs are always clear, with no need for x-rays. It's their upper airways that get inflamed from the constant coughing and then the wheezing and the cycle it creates. Mark takes daily Pulmicort b/c when he gets a cold or other respiratory virus the wheezing quickly becomes so severe that he ends up close to respiratory distress. Jeffrey is close on his heels, using Albuterol several times daily every time he gets a bad cold as well.

Ask some direct questions of your pedi though - like "his lungs are good but what about his upper airway" and if he thinks bronchitis or post nasal issues could be causing the cough. But if it's a long-term lingering cough with absolutely not other symptoms, you're probably talking about rad or asthma-like issues.
post #6 of 15
A couple things to consider with a lingering cough...

1. Pertussis. Some people have fairly mild pertussis that just presents as a lingering cough. If this is the case, high dose vit c is about all you can do. And it's probably too late to test for it (my understanding is the test is a nasal swab but has to be done within a certain time period of onset of symptoms, but someone correct me if I'm wrong) Don't freak out though, pertussis is really not that big a deal in healthy people. It's likely that many many people get it and don't know.

2. Allergies. Post nasal drip from allergies or irritations can cause an itchy/irritated throat which can trigger a cough. You could try putting an air purifier and/or humidifier in his room at night to see if that helps. You could also do a trial of an antihistamine to see if that helps.

3. How are his tonsils/adenoids? If they are enlarged at all (and there are numerous causes of enlarged T&As) then it could trigger a cough reflex. Does he have reflux at all? Or did he as an infant? Silent reflux can irritate the throat and trigger a cough.

4. Nervous habit. It's already been mentioned that he has some OCD tendencies...maybe it's a tic of sorts?

5. Shallow aspirations...he has some motor control issues, right? Could he be struggling with coordinating his swallow? When Connor shallow aspirates, he coughs quite a bit. He also has trouble with food residue coating his larynx from a delayed swallow, and that causes a wheezy sound to his breathing, but it is coming from his larynx, not his lungs.

6. As far-fetched as it sounds, there really COULD be something in his airway somewhere. My mom ran a daycare and a little girl had stuffed a green bean up her nose. We didn't know about it until it literally started sprouting!!! Swear, it's true! Another girl with pretty severe MR started drooling a lot suddenly and after a few days of it, her mom took her to the dr and they discovered a rock stuck in the back of her throat. So with kids, you just never know!!!
post #7 of 15
Kentucky is allergy hell especially this time of year.
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2boyzmama View Post
A couple things to consider with a lingering cough...


2. Allergies. Post nasal drip from allergies or irritations can cause an itchy/irritated throat which can trigger a cough. You could try putting an air purifier and/or humidifier in his room at night to see if that helps. You could also do a trial of an antihistamine to see if that helps.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar View Post
Kentucky is allergy hell especially this time of year.
:

Arizona is allergy hell too right now and everyone I know is hacking up a lung. I even have a friend who has been so bad that she got put on albuterol for it. I would definitely look into the allergy link. Given his track record for chronic sinus and ear problems, I would also start looking at food allergies as well. I know you said that his diet has been a major issue, but milk allergies can absolutely cause chronic health problems, and other food allergies can cause longstanding health issues as well.
post #9 of 15
I think my daughter has the same cough - often when I read your posts I think...Owen sounds a lot like Maggie! In our case, I thought it c/b allergies since so many people in our area (Indiana) say allergies are bad the past month or possibly Pertussis.

Owen could have pneumonia. When I had pneumonia it lingered for longer than 2-3 weeks. Plus, being run down and on antibiotics over and over I ended up with one illness after another. I hope he feels better soon.

2boyzmama, very informative post. I was thinking my daughter may have mild Pertussis and considered taking her in but I also heard there is not much we can do at this point.
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justthatgirl View Post
I had bronchitis a few yrs ago and did not have a lot of phlegm. I also had been coughing for a solid couple of months. My doc said I was on the verge of pneumonia.
Hmmm... interesting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bdavis337 View Post
Ask some direct questions of your pedi though - like "his lungs are good but what about his upper airway" and if he thinks bronchitis or post nasal issues could be causing the cough. But if it's a long-term lingering cough with absolutely not other symptoms, you're probably talking about rad or asthma-like issues.
Good advice. Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2boyzmama View Post
A couple things to consider with a lingering cough...

1. Pertussis.
I've thought about pertussis but I don't really know much about it. How long would a cough last with it?

Quote:
2. Allergies.
Hmmmm.... definately something to consider. I just bought a new air purifier for our (dp and mine) bedroom because our old one broke. DP has allergies and asthma so it helps him a lot. Maybe I'll just borrow it for a couple nights and put it in ds's room to see if it helps before I invest in another one (good ones are NOT cheap!).

Quote:
3. How are his tonsils/adenoids? If they are enlarged at all (and there are numerous causes of enlarged T&As) then it could trigger a cough reflex. Does he have reflux at all? Or did he as an infant? Silent reflux can irritate the throat and trigger a cough.
Tonsils and adnoids are huge, always have been. Even when he's perfectly healthy a dr will comment on how large his tonsils are. No reflux, even as a baby.

ETA- we've talked with the drs about removing them but have decided to hold off for now. If this year is anything like the last 5 winters we may decide to take them out though (constant tonsilitis and strep over and over and over again). Since his tonsils are always enlarged, it makes it really dangerous when he does get a throat infection since they swell to the point of danger so quickly.

Quote:
4. Nervous habit.
Never would have thought of that. Interesting! Though it doesn't explain why he does it at night when he's sound asleep (until he's woken up by coughing).

Quote:
5. Shallow aspirations...he has some motor control issues, right? Could he be struggling with coordinating his swallow?
He did have low tone but with PT it's fine now. He doesn't choke at all when eating though.

Quote:
6. As far-fetched as it sounds, there really COULD be something in his airway somewhere. My mom ran a daycare and a little girl had stuffed a green bean up her nose. We didn't know about it until it literally started sprouting!!! Swear, it's true! Another girl with pretty severe MR started drooling a lot suddenly and after a few days of it, her mom took her to the dr and they discovered a rock stuck in the back of her throat. So with kids, you just never know!!!
Holy cow! That's nuts. I wouldn't be too surprised if he did have something stuck... at 5 he still sticks toys/non-edible items in his mouth

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar View Post
Kentucky is allergy hell especially this time of year.
I know that one all too well. DP and allergies and asthma and has been having a heck of a time. I have (undiagnosed) allergies and am just feeling miserable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wytchywoman View Post
I would definitely look into the allergy link. Given his track record for chronic sinus and ear problems, I would also start looking at food allergies as well. I know you said that his diet has been a major issue, but milk allergies can absolutely cause chronic health problems, and other food allergies can cause longstanding health issues as well.
Where would I start with looking into allergies? I know he was allergic to corn, egg and dairy when he was 1-2 but after a year off them completely he tested negative for all of them and has been enjoying them since.

Thanks for the help brainstorming!!
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by StephandOwen View Post
I've thought about pertussis but I don't really know much about it. How long would a cough last with it?

A LONG time, if I remember correctly. I haven't googled the symptoms in a while, the only reason I worry is because of Connor's airway, and if he were to get Pertussis I imagine it'd be much worse, so I really don't know what mild pertussis looks like except a lingering cough.

Hmmmm.... definately something to consider. I just bought a new air purifier for our (dp and mine) bedroom because our old one broke. DP has allergies and asthma so it helps him a lot. Maybe I'll just borrow it for a couple nights and put it in ds's room to see if it helps before I invest in another one (good ones are NOT cheap!).


Oh, I know!! Maybe just have him sleep in your room for a week or so? PUll his mattress onto the floor of your room. Although if that might start a bad habit, then putting it in his room might be a better answer
Tonsils and adnoids are huge, always have been. Even when he's perfectly healthy a dr will comment on how large his tonsils are. No reflux, even as a baby.

ETA- we've talked with the drs about removing them but have decided to hold off for now. If this year is anything like the last 5 winters we may decide to take them out though (constant tonsilitis and strep over and over and over again). Since his tonsils are always enlarged, it makes it really dangerous when he does get a throat infection since they swell to the point of danger so quickly.

Connor's adenoids got very large last winter, and we did a two week steroid nasal spray to try to get them to go down a bit. It did help. WIth his immune deficiency we didn't dare do any longer than that, but it might help with Owen.

Never would have thought of that. Interesting! Though it doesn't explain why he does it at night when he's sound asleep (until he's woken up by coughing).

Yeah, if it's at night, then it's probably not a tic.

He did have low tone but with PT it's fine now. He doesn't choke at all when eating though.


Well, doesn't sound like aspiration then...
Holy cow! That's nuts. I wouldn't be too surprised if he did have something stuck... at 5 he still sticks toys/non-edible items in his mouth

LOL!! It's always SOMETHING to keep you on your toes, right?!

I know that one all too well. DP and allergies and asthma and has been having a heck of a time. I have (undiagnosed) allergies and am just feeling miserable.



Where would I start with looking into allergies? I know he was allergic to corn, egg and dairy when he was 1-2 but after a year off them completely he tested negative for all of them and has been enjoying them since.
I'd suggest starting with the ones you know he used to be allergic to. Remember dairy takes a full two weeks to get out of a system Uggh, I HATE avoiding dairy!!!
Thanks for the help brainstorming!!
Isn't it amazing what a few good mamas can come up with?!!! We ROCK!
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2boyzmama View Post
Isn't it amazing what a few good mamas can come up with?!!! We ROCK!
Definately!

I also wanted to add that Owen's had breathing issues since he was very young. He had croup at 2 months and 4 months. He's had bronchitis more times than I can count. Same with "upper respiratory infections". I didn't even keep track of those after awhile It's especially bad in the fall/winter, but he's gotten one here and there during the spring and summer too. No season is safe
post #13 of 15
LOL...Owen has the genetic huge tonsils and adnoids. Brandon's were so big, they always touched, and when his tonsils and adnoids were removed, the doctor commented that the adnoids were absolutely HUGE. He very very very rarely ever got sick and for sure didn't get respiratory issues because of them. He just had apnea and snored a lot, and couldn't swallow food without choking.

But sorry Steph--I think the huge tonsils and adnoids are genetic. : If it helps any, Brandon now says he's glad they're gone because he didn't like choking every time he ate. And he sleeps SO much better now!
post #14 of 15
Another thing you could try that isn't hugely expensive is a dust mite barrier pillow cover. Though I actually recommend allergy testing for any kid with breathing issues or whose "stuff" gets worse in bed, for night problems you definitely want to check out what's closes to their face when they sleep. If there are feathers in his pillow or comforter, that would be something to look at, too.

This pillow cover made a huge difference for DS who has mite allergies, and for all the rest of us who have many EAs. I don't keep up with the weekly sheet changing and
room cleaning the way I should, but the pillow cover still made a huge difference.

Sherri
post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by StephandOwen View Post

Where would I start with looking into allergies? I know he was allergic to corn, egg and dairy when he was 1-2 but after a year off them completely he tested negative for all of them and has been enjoying them since.

Thanks for the help brainstorming!!
Honestly I'd start with milk first, that is the biggest offender with respiratory issues. Gabe has tested negative for all allergies, but we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he can't have soy products, and he does far better when he is off of wheat and gluten products as well. Food allergies and intolerances are so tricky. They don't necessarily show up during testing and can cuase healthy issues that last for days or weeks so it can be really hard to connect the problem with the particular food. The best thing, and the biggest pain in the @ss that you'll ever experience, is to do an elimination diet. It sucks big time, but you will have pretty cut and dry evidence as to whether a food is causing issues or not.
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