Allergies, Asthma or "Habit Cough" & Throat clearing - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 9 Old 03-24-2013, 06:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi, 

 

My son is 5 years old and has always had issues with long lasting coughs worsened by sports and/or crying - possible asthma. He started clearing his throat last year which lasted about 3 months, went away for a couple months until he had a bad 3 hour coughing fit at night that eventually subsided on its own and he fell asleep. We took him to the doctor and he has been on Flovent for 2 months and Albuterol - it is worse now though. She prescribed  Predisone for 5 days but he vomits when we try to give it to him. 

 

Has anyone experienced a child that constantly clears their throat and coughs all day long, but then is calm as can be at night? Before Flovent he would cough for about half an hour badly as he fell asleep so at least he doesn't do that anymore but he replaced it with all day cough and clearing. 

 

He never has trouble breathing and is very active. We have gone dairy free and we are just not sure if it truly is asthma or allergies. 

 

Thanks for any input.

 

Oh, also the doc. did do a Pulmonary Function Test that indicated moderate airway obstruction. 

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#2 of 9 Old 03-24-2013, 08:55 AM
 
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I would suspect that a dust mite allergy is helping to exacerbate this problem.  It does sounds like the beginnings of asthma--hopefully it will never develop into full-blown asthma.  My daughter had coughing while crying and reflexive coughing for a while, but if anything those have subsided and she has never developed asthma even though she has a bazillion allergies.  (Asthma is not always from allergies--you knew that, I just thought I'd throw in a disclaimer for others reading this.)

 

We are diligent about washing *all* the bedding every week or 10 days.  We have no carpeting, we have a HEPA filter vacuum.  Couches are also notorious mite mansions.  Also, some food allergies can cause reflexive coughing-- I know that from myself (peanuts).

 

Clearing the throat can get to be something of a habit, but it starts because there is a lot of mucous building up there.  DD1 did that for a long time.  

 

Honestly, I would get an allergy test.  It sounds as if it might be environmental allergens, but I would like to see the results of the Big Eight-- dairy, egg, soy, wheat, corn, peanut, tree nuts, shellfish, fish.  I'm suspecting that dust mites are going to be on there-- I once read that some 85% of allergy sufferers are also allergic to dust mites.

 

To get this test, those particular medications might need to be dropped.  If you can't get through a few days (around 5) without medications, ask which can be administered without affecting the test.


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#3 of 9 Old 03-24-2013, 10:05 AM
 
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I think a dust issue could be it. I would start there. 

 

As for testing, all steroids would have to stop which may not be possible.  Also, I would never recommend food allergy testing unless there are CLEAR signs of an issue. With a 50%+ false positive rate, it often times severely limits a kids diet for no reason. What you are describing doesn't sound like food allergies. 

 

Does he vomit with the prednisone because of how it taste? Getting all worked up before you give it to him? Or do you think it's the actual medication making him sick?

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#4 of 9 Old 03-24-2013, 01:38 PM
 
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I definitely think she should focus more on environmental allergies than food.  However, I know from personal experience that reflexive coughing can be the first symptom of a food allergy-- and can come without redness, hives, or GI distress, so I would not write it off entirely.  

 

I'd definitely try the dust first if you are concerned about overreacting.  Washing bedding can also help with pollen, pet and mold allergies as well.


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#5 of 9 Old 03-24-2013, 01:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi, thank you both for your responses.  I think if he doesn't like the way it tastes he gags, then has a coughing fit then will vomit. As a baby though he would sometimes vomit half an hour after taking a medicine even when he didn't cough, gag or cry. He has not needed much oral medication so I actually forgot he did that until we tried to give it to him. 

 

None of us have any allergies or asthma so this is all new to me. I sometimes think it might be dust mites, but he has gone months without any symptoms at all. We built our house brand new in 2009 so it is not that old although we do have some carpet and it is in bedrooms, we are non-smokers, no pets, furniture is a couple years old only, I vacuum his Roman blinds and take down his valances in addition to weekly linen changes just in case dust is his problem, but night time lately has been the only time he does not clear his throat or cough now. 

 

I would have no problem dropping the medicine since he went a couple of years without anything at all and was ok as he never had difficulty breathing. I will call the doctor tomorrow. She said her next step if Prednisone doesn't work is to try Singular (Cingular?). I am not sure how that is administered so we'll see if he can manage it or if it works for him.  He had it as a powder sprinkled on food as an infant and that was ok and I think it worked, but can't remember for sure. 

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#6 of 9 Old 03-24-2013, 01:58 PM
 
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Children's reactions change over time.  If you have allergies (and I am someone who does, and I have a daughter with many as well) it seems like they are an ever-changing landscape of symptoms.  Some taper off, some get worse.  So, just because he managed fine 2 years ago without meds doesn't necessarily mean he will now.

 

I'm guessing your doc is not suspecting allergic asthma?  Because I wonder why she would be trying out medications without any testing?  I am not a doc, so I'm not sure the protocol.  While food is only a very minor possibility, environmental allergens are huge.  As a parent, I would personally not feel comfortable trying out medication without some kind of testing at some point.


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#7 of 9 Old 03-26-2013, 10:08 AM
 
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I had similar symptoms as an adult, and it turned out to be eosinophilic esophagitis. Could also be reflux though. Might want to see a GI doctor. nak


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#8 of 9 Old 03-31-2013, 05:49 PM
 
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I just wanted to point out that even if your son doesn't appear to have trouble breathing, that doesn't mean that he's breathing normally.  He AND you might be so used to it at this point that you don't notice it anymore.  My daughter has had asthma symptoms since birth and now at 5, she could show barely any symptoms of difficulty breathing other than a slight wheeze or coughing frequently and her pulse ox will be 90 at the pediatrician.  She's sneaky that one!  And also, asthma can worsen without warning and change and you don't notice it until it's bad.  The cough could be his asthma worsening.  My asthmatic has had a horrible time iwth seasonal allergies this year so that may be part of it.  "Wet" winters make the mold counts very high like they are now in my area which doesn't help asthma very much.  


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#9 of 9 Old 04-03-2013, 08:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justmama View Post

I just wanted to point out that even if your son doesn't appear to have trouble breathing, that doesn't mean that he's breathing normally.  He AND you might be so used to it at this point that you don't notice it anymore.  My daughter has had asthma symptoms since birth and now at 5, she could show barely any symptoms of difficulty breathing other than a slight wheeze or coughing frequently and her pulse ox will be 90 at the pediatrician.  She's sneaky that one!  And also, asthma can worsen without warning and change and you don't notice it until it's bad.  The cough could be his asthma worsening.  My asthmatic has had a horrible time iwth seasonal allergies this year so that may be part of it.  "Wet" winters make the mold counts very high like they are now in my area which doesn't help asthma very much.  


Interesting. Thanks for this. I took him to a Asthma and Allergy Specialist this week and tried to do some allergy scratch tests but after one "scratch" he flipped out and we couldn't complete it. She did prescribe Nasonex and told me to stop the inhalers (Flovent and Albuterol) and start on Cingular which I have done. I think it is helping. He caught a little cold now from his siblings so I am not sure how well since all 3 are coughing now!  I think he would have been much worse if we hadn't been on anything. I am hoping Cingular works for him and we will try the testing again when we go back next month. 

 

Interesting also about the eosinophilic esophagitis. He has had problems since he was about 5 months old and was on ventolin syrup then so I hope it is nothing more serious, but both the allergist and our GP said we could go to a Pulmonologist if we don't see any improvement.

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