I have been struggling with this with my dd (5) for a year now. In October 2009, she developed a dry cough following a cold. It lasted for about three months and then went away. It came back in March or April of this year (again following a cold) and was more severe this time. It got so bad in May that she would be coughing every 10 seconds for several hours at a time. It was becoming disruptive at school and in church. I took her into the doctor, who thought it was possibly asthma. They put her on an inhaler. It did nothing. In June, they put her on some Singulair. Within a few weeks, it was totally cleared up. Well, about a month ago, in October, it came back. She has been on the Singulair for almost a month now and it is not clearing up.
I am so, so frustrated with this. If it were just an occasional cough I would not worry about it. But the fact that it is becoming disruptive to her life makes me really concerned and sad for her (this is why I was willing to try the medications). I think she senses my frustration and is feeling bad about it. I have tried to coach her on making it more of a "clearing your throat" kind of cough rather than the big, open-mouthed loud cough. So her sensing my frustration is making her sad and frustrated. Argh!
It is a dry cough that basically sounds fake. It has always started following a cold. It has never once woken her up at night, but during the day there will be an hour or two that go by where she barely coughs at all and then an hour or two where she is coughing every 20 seconds or so.
Could it be due to allergies (this is what the doctor currently thinks)? We have had a hard freeze this year so I am skeptical that it is an outdoor allergy. What kind of indoor allergy flares up in the fall and spring? Could it be that she gets a severe case of postnasal drip following a cold and that is what is causing it? Could it be a habit cough that forms after coughing from a cold?
What would you recommend? I am open to conventional, natural, or homeopathic remedies at this point.
I also need recommendations on how not to get so frustrated and irritated with the cough. I know it sounds silly, but it has caused a strain between us. I'll be reading to her at night and just want to get her to sleep so that I don't have to listen to it anymore :(. How can I mentally calm myself about it and just tune it out?
Sorry so long. I would appreciate any recommendations.
I feel for you. It must be frustrating to watch your child suffer and not have an idea how to alleviate it.
First of all, I'd stop with the coaching to modify the sound of the cough. That is not helpful, and honestly, the child can't help herself. Even though the cough sounds fake, I doubt that she is doing it intentionally. I, too, suspect allergies.
The spring and the fall could be two different allergens.
For example, the spring part could be tree pollen, and then later the grasses and weeds.
The October part might be mold. My secretary says that the fallen leaves on the ground in autumn are awful for her.
Even though it is happening indoors, the allergens might be from outside. For example, we always keep our doors and windows closed, and never open them year round. Yet, our daughter gets these terrible coughing fits during ragweed season (Labor Day/Sept) and spring/early summer (tree pollen, and grasses and weeds), even inside our house. I think we must have some kind of leak in our house, probably in the bedroom, where the outdoor allergens are getting in our house.
The only way to not get frustrated with the cough is to find the allergen trigger and take care of it.
Here are some things that we tried that helped quite a bit: antihistamine, saline sinus rinse bottle, eliminating dairy from the diet, getting the ventilation ducts and furnace professionally cleaned
We tried various air cleaners but almost all of them were useless for us.
What we tried that finally helped the most was the IQAire air cleaner. I have also heard some good things about the air cleaners made by Austin.
I had a similar dry cough when I was young, and my mother kept nagging me about it, but that is not helpful. Looking back, I think it was a combination of the air ducts containing irritants, and dust mites in the carpets.
I'd be thinking reflux, post nasal drip, cough variant asthma or allergies. Possibly candida, but it takes a pretty good case of esophageal candida to cause that. It can also be neurological in nature-like a tic. What does her palate look like?
As for how you feel...I hear you. Fact is that even if it IS a tic, it's not fun for her. You both need some support here. You're not wrong for feeling upset...that kind of noise in the background is extremely frustrating and can really push anyone over the edge. BTDT!
Does she, or has she gotten, any bodywork ever? Like CST? That would be a must for me with this issue.
My son had a dry cough that started when he was 1.5ish and would get so bad that it did wake him in the night and we would have to help him get back to sleep. We saw a naturopath and did sensitivity testing and it was suggested that we take him off wheat (not gluten) and dairy. Within a week or so his cough was gone. We are not always strict though and sometimes I will notice him starting to hack again. He does seem to be sensitive to coughs though - not sure if it's entirely food related as he had reflux as a baby and has had pneumonia twice. But food or environmental allergies would be worth looking into imo.