asthma attack or bad cough (croup?)? - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-19-2007, 08:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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background: when dd was 2 (2.5) years ago, she was diagnosed with mild viral asthma by our family dr. she didn't have any allergies, and the specialist we saw was not supportive of preventative inhaled steroids, and we were to use them at the first signs of colds (which i liked). we did this for about 1 year, and even though she would have a cough with almost every cold, her coughs resolved basically before Flovent had even a chance to start working. so the specialist suggested we were fine without using steroids, and to use ventolin 'as needed' (she never needed it. i did use it several times, out of my worries, but it was always later clear to me that i overreacted).

we haven't used flovent or ventolin in over a year, her colds were infrequent, and she didn't develop cough with each of them, so we were starting to relax and think that she was 'over diagnosed' and was still recovering from her bronchiolitis when the diagnosis was made.

3 days ago she started a cold, and started coughing. yesterday the cough sounded bad, for the first time in her life i knew it was the 'seal barking' cough, and she never had it before. i used to bug my ped so he would describe that cough to me, and now it was clear to me that this was exactly the type.

she coughed a lot at night, though she wasn't waking up. at one point i freaked out and when she was semi awake used the inhaler with ventolin on her, and it seemed to help.

today the cough is less frequent but as 'desperate' and she says that her stomach is hurting when she coughs -- she is pointing at the area below her ribcage.

she is not indrawing and her breathing is fine when she sleeps or awake.

does this sound like an asthma attack that i need to do something more than ventolin? her brother also has a cold and is coughing too. or could it be croup? she is 4.5.

should i start flovent just in case? or wait a bit if the cough gets better in the next few days? today her cough was less like 'seal bark' but a bit more 'wetter', but also intense.
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Old 02-20-2007, 12:01 AM
 
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Well, I'm not an expert but my son does have viral asthma. The dr. told us you can get croup at any age but it is worse in breathing generally before age three. (I suspected croup a month ago..my son is still having coughing at night) Croup in my understanding doesn't last long so I think you'll know if it resolves--typically it is worse for 2 to 3 days and gone by a week at the most. It also would start with cold symptoms usually (usually it is viral though there may be some exceptions to this I'm not sure). Cold and/or humid air can help with croup too. Doesn't help us with asthma attacks. Also, asthma cough in our experience is really dry sounding (not wet). It seems distinctive to me in that respect.

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Old 02-20-2007, 01:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I'm not an expert but my son does have viral asthma. The dr. told us you can get croup at any age but it is worse in breathing generally before age three. (I suspected croup a month ago..my son is still having coughing at night) Croup in my understanding doesn't last long so I think you'll know if it resolves--typically it is worse for 2 to 3 days and gone by a week at the most. It also would start with cold symptoms usually (usually it is viral though there may be some exceptions to this I'm not sure). Cold and/or humid air can help with croup too. Doesn't help us with asthma attacks. Also, asthma cough in our experience is really dry sounding (not wet). It seems distinctive to me in that respect.
hi, thanks for responding. i also read everywhere that asthma cough is dry, but hers is normally wet, but right now is rather dry.

what the other poster suggested to relieve the dry cough (boiled onion with honey) worked really great for her. touch wood. she was coughign a bit before falling asleep, but has been sleeping well for over 2 hours (improvement since last night).

i ran steam in the bathroom, and it didn't seem to help.

so maybe it does sound more like asthma, which i am still in denial about, since she hardly had any symptoms in the last 2 years. i will keep an eye on her. thanks for responding.
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Old 02-20-2007, 05:14 AM
 
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my son got croup every time he had a cold as a little one. even now at 12 half of his colds end up with croupy coughs. tight dry seal like barky coughs are usually croup. he often had a wetter cough during the day and would get really croupy at night (he would actually stop breathing with bad attacks, it was scary as hell) i would turn the shower on high and alternate between hot steamy bathroom and cold fresh air, the combo was what would break the stridor and ease his breathing. i would usually resort to giving him a nighttime cough surpressant and a spoonful of honey the first few nights he had cold symptoms to help avoid the croup attacks.

i dont know much about viral asthma but that sealy bark always means croup to me... i guess the inhaler could probably help to ease inflammation in her airway with croup as well as asthma, ds's doc always prescribed a steroid and codiene syrup for him when he got really bad but they didnt seem to do much, the warm steamy and cool air combo and honey seemed to help more!
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Old 02-20-2007, 03:05 PM
 
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My daycare provider's 2yo daughter was taken in/diagnosed with another episode of asthma (she'd already been diagnosed, this seemed to be a reoccurence--they took her in after a bad night of coughing) just a couple days before my son (7mo old at the time, I think) came down with what I am sure is croup--my daughter (now 3yo) never had that barking cough, but he woke up in the middle of the night with it and it was really distinctive. Seems like quite a coincidence to me. But it also seems hard to diagnose this stuff correctly.
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Old 02-20-2007, 04:29 PM
 
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hi. I have asthma.

"Seal barking" isn't an asthma cough. An asthma cough is dry and keeps going on. If you're using alburerol and she's not getting improvement, call the dr. back. Especially if its th eliquid type, not inhaled.

Her belly probably hurts there from coughing so much.

Hope this helps!
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Old 02-20-2007, 05:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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hi. I have asthma.

"Seal barking" isn't an asthma cough. An asthma cough is dry and keeps going on. If you're using alburerol and she's not getting improvement, call the dr. back. Especially if its th eliquid type, not inhaled.

Her belly probably hurts there from coughing so much.

Hope this helps!
hi. maybe i just have no idea what seal barking cough is? to me it sounded dry, and yes, it kept on going, and i thought "sounds like seal barking". why do people say seal barking, while no one ever head a seal bark? :

but she would get relief from drinking some water and from nursing. we have inhaled ventolin and flovent. i sort of vague remember ventolin would relieve difficulties breathing, not necessarily the cough.

last night i gave her onion with honey, and she slept much better -- she coughed a bit while falling asleep, and then several times 3-4 hours after, but she wasn't straining to cough, it was much milder and calmer. and she slept fine until morning. she is still coughing today, but not straining so much, and the cough is not as alarming to me.

thanks for responding!
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Old 02-20-2007, 05:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by TanyaLopez View Post
My daycare provider's 2yo daughter was taken in/diagnosed with another episode of asthma (she'd already been diagnosed, this seemed to be a reoccurence--they took her in after a bad night of coughing) just a couple days before my son (7mo old at the time, I think) came down with what I am sure is croup--my daughter (now 3yo) never had that barking cough, but he woke up in the middle of the night with it and it was really distinctive. Seems like quite a coincidence to me. But it also seems hard to diagnose this stuff correctly.
i agree. our family doctor was certain it was asthma, because he also thought she had exhema. then the asthma specialist told us it wasn't exhema, just one dry patch of skin, and if it was, it was not the one characteristic to astma, and not in a typical location, and since she didn't have any allergies he wasn't even that convinced she had asthma, but the family doc heard her wheezing. no one else heard her wheeze afterwards, and even in the first time it wasn't audible to us, only through the stetoscope.

but needless to day we have rescue inhalers with us every time she has a cold and i worry about every cough...
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Old 02-20-2007, 05:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by kwren23 View Post
my son got croup every time he had a cold as a little one. even now at 12 half of his colds end up with croupy coughs. tight dry seal like barky coughs are usually croup. he often had a wetter cough during the day and would get really croupy at night (he would actually stop breathing with bad attacks, it was scary as hell) i would turn the shower on high and alternate between hot steamy bathroom and cold fresh air, the combo was what would break the stridor and ease his breathing. i would usually resort to giving him a nighttime cough surpressant and a spoonful of honey the first few nights he had cold symptoms to help avoid the croup attacks.

i dont know much about viral asthma but that sealy bark always means croup to me... i guess the inhaler could probably help to ease inflammation in her airway with croup as well as asthma, ds's doc always prescribed a steroid and codiene syrup for him when he got really bad but they didnt seem to do much, the warm steamy and cool air combo and honey seemed to help more!
the steam didn't seem to help, so maybe it wasn't croup. she is doing much better now, wtih only mild cough, not very frequent, and i keep giving her boiled mushed onion with honey, a teaspoon now and then. this seemed to help the most. i did read that onion does help with asthma.
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Old 02-20-2007, 08:33 PM
 
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click on this link and then click on stridor, its a pretty good soundclip of the typical sharp croupy seal bark, its right at the beginning and then you can hear the rasp with breathing that you get from stridor. there is also a link for a wheezing asthma type of cough. they sound very different!

hope that helps!

(with my son, i would sit with him in the steamy bathroom for 5-10 minutes, take him out into the freezing night -bundled warmly of course- stay out there for 5-10 minutes and then go back to the steam. the combo was what helped, not just the steam! i love the onion idea though, i will try that next time he gets coughy)
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Old 02-21-2007, 11:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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[QUOTE=kwren23;7354387]click on this link and then click on stridor, its a pretty good soundclip of the typical sharp croupy seal bark, its right at the beginning and then you can hear the rasp with breathing that you get from stridor. there is also a link for a wheezing asthma type of cough. they sound very different!
QUOTE]

thanks! my speaker isn't working now, but we are getting new ones in a couple of weeks. i saved the site.

though we know that dd never had a typical asthma cough and never wheezed. her coughs are a mystery to me!

she had a good day yesterday, but again had a bad cough in the first part of the night. then slept soundly for the rest. i know with asthma the 3-4AM cough is the worst, and before she used to cough around that time. so i am still not sure what is going on. but ds, who doesn't have asthma, has the same cough, so maybe the same virus.

gosh, i wish i could listen to the link of the croup cough!!!
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Old 02-23-2007, 02:10 PM
 
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Thank you for this thread! That link was good-- sadly I think oldest DD has asthma, even though I still have hope that she doesn't. Everything fits, though. She coughs sometimes after exertion, her cough is dry, it has come and gone for a long time, it usually comes only at night, etc. The doctor heard something in her lungs but said that it could be just fron an infection, which we are treating with antbiotics. The fact that she's had this on and off for so long doesn't leave much hope.

I am so upset, though-- no one in my family has asthma (we don't know about DH's), DD was breastfeed for over 2 years, we've had cats in our house since birth. The question will be, do we have to find new homes for the cats??? She isn't worse around them- the coughing is mostly just at night.

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