Bronchitis in a 15 mo old - steroids? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 10-20-2012, 04:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi all,

The background - about 3 or 4 weeks ago, my 15 mo old DS came down with a cold (I got it too of course). All seemed normal and it seemed to be getting better, when me, then DS, then my DH came down with a 24 hour flu. After that, DS' cold seemed to get worse instead of better. Yesterday his cough seemed to get a lot worse, so this afternoon I took him to the doctor. Our regular doctor is off on maternity leave and her office isn't open on the weekends so we went to a walk in clinic. The doctor listened to his lungs, checked his ears and his throat, and said it's most likely bronchitis. He did ask if DS has asthma, which to our knowledge he does not, but my DH does have asthma so the genetic history is there. However DS has never had an asthma attack or seemed short of breath when playing or when he's had a cold before.

Anyway, the doctor prescribed antibiotics and a puffer. When we went and filled the prescription though, it turns out he also prescribed an oral steroid to be given twice a day. Giving steroids to such a young child the first time he's had bronchitis with no history of asthma attacks... that makes me really uncomfortable.

So, my questions are - would you give the steroids? Has anyone had experience giving steroids to a child this young? What are the long term effects of steroids at this age? Any thoughts, ideas and experiences would be really appreciated.


Married to my wonderful DH 5/2010, Mom to DS1 Kayden 7-14-2011 wild.gif and DS2 Jakob 8-29-2013 babyf.gif

Owned by Friesians and Drum Horses, plus the dogs, cats, rabbits and chickens

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#2 of 6 Old 10-20-2012, 06:46 PM
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It's a really hard call, and I am deeply compassionate of your position.  I'm not a doctor myself, and I don't know your son's condition so I really can't give you a definitive answer. 


What I do know is that my daughter started on all of those things around that time, and has now gotten into a pattern of absolutely NEEDING the oral steroids (prednisolone) because often she cannot breathe when she gets the common cold.  Any virus seems to set off an inflammatory action in her body and it goes straight to her lungs.  Anyway, if my daughter were in this position and her breathing was able to be controlled with the inhalant ALONE, I would go with that and avoid the oral steroids unless absolutely necessary.  Oral steroids are good if it is absolutely a matter of breathing or not breathing.  At the very least, I know that systemically they totally crash the immune system (which is sort of the opposite of your goal in trying to get your son over his bronchitis). 


I am currently in the position of trying to heal my daughter's asthma through natural means, in order to backtrack and heal all of the previous damages to her body.  


I hope this helps.  Much love to you and your son. 

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#3 of 6 Old 10-21-2012, 03:56 PM
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It could be Pertussis.

Pertussis/Whooping cough is commonly misdiagnosed as bronchitis or asthma. It starts as a cold then develops later into a chronic cough. It's known as the 100 day cough. The bacteria toxin damage the cilia which usually bring up the mucous from the lungs, but until the cilia grow back, greater exertion is needed to cough the mucous up. Young infants without any abdominal strength have the most difficulty. from what I understand, There is actually a position (on Beyond Vaccination) in which the mother enable the baby to expel the mucous.


You could try sodium ascorbate ( such as Nutrabiotics) for a couple days, to bowel tolerance. Improvement is often within a day or two. 300 mg/kg body weight daily, divided into several doses is the common treatment. Before antibiotics and the Pertussis vaccine, this was a common treatment when whooping cough was a well known childhood illness. The Canadian Medical Society has published a study on this treatment and there are other studies on it also, most quite impressive

The dosages and administration vary but they all use Vit. C and the results are remarkable. The site Beyond Vaccination has a great deal of information on Sodium Ascorbate treatment too.


Even if your child's illness is not Pertussis, the SA is often helpful for other illnesses. Good luck, I hope your child is soon healthy again. Of course you have many decisions to make, and I feel for you as I know you have a sick child.


That said, in general I do think short term administration of glucocorticoids can be beneficial when there is an acute illness, and the adrenals are not producing sufficient cortisol. If there is a hereditary endocrine imbalance, or if environmental factors have damaged the adrenals, then I do see the benefit. Usually though, glucocorticoids are prescribed without any baseline testing to see if the patient even has an imbalance. So unlike using insulin or thyroid hormone to correct a hormonal  imbalance, steroids are changing the hormonal levels but without any knowledge as to what they were to begin with (baseline). The dosage may be too high (often) and sometimes actually too low. Then the other question is the individual's actual absorption of the medication (the response to the med is an indicator, then there is also testing).


Lots to think about. Good luck and I hope that your child is healthy again soon.

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#4 of 6 Old 10-23-2012, 12:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, we decided not to give the steroids without at least DS seeing his regular doctor. The antibiotics he was given (Biaxin) have been making him feel awful even with a full stomach - today they made him throw up. Saw his regular doctor today and she would like him to finish the Biaxin unless it makes him throw up again. She also recommended 7 days of the steroids to help him clear out the mucus in his lungs that he doesn't seem to be able to get out on his own. I guess DH and I will be discussing this again tonight!

*sigh* I just want my munchkin to feel better!

Married to my wonderful DH 5/2010, Mom to DS1 Kayden 7-14-2011 wild.gif and DS2 Jakob 8-29-2013 babyf.gif

Owned by Friesians and Drum Horses, plus the dogs, cats, rabbits and chickens

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#5 of 6 Old 10-24-2012, 01:19 AM
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As someone who has had asthma since childhood, and who has a child with asthma, I sympathize with your predicament.

Just a few thoughts, from my own experience:

Biaxin is a really strong antibiotic, and is very tough on the stomach. Try to nurse him or feed him something soothing, like oatmeal, and have him take the medicine halfway though the nursing session or meal. It helps to coat the stomach with foods that are not acidic.

The steroid may make him feel hungry, cranky, and both sleepy and sleepless. It will, however, help his bronchioles to open up. That's the most important thing to do right now. I would not hesitate, personally, to go with the steroids if it were my child. Childhood respiratory illness can decline incredibly quickly into respiratory distress.

Good luck to all of you, and I hope your little guy is up and running soon!

Love, p

Bookworm Mama to 6 wonderkids and stepmama to one more: 23, 22, 19, 13, 11, 9 and our Z born April 2013. . Partner to my
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#6 of 6 Old 10-24-2012, 09:57 AM
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Hi there-


Please check out the Buteyko Breathing Method if your children have any respiratory issues.


I had asthma from the age of 4 and was 48 when I learned how to control my breathing and reduce symptoms with Buteyko Breathing.  My acupuncturist recommended it.


You can ultimately reduce much if not all the medication you and your children have to take for asthma, allergies and chronic colds.


For children who were preemies or their parents have asthma and allergies, the Buteyko principles should be used for them even before they have respiratory issues because they have a higher possibility of experiencing weakness in their lungs.


Here are some websites to check out:



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