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Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.

Very bad cough and cold for over 3 months

(25 Posts)
Mmcgar Sat 09-May-15 15:16:59

Hi all
I'm just wondering if anyone's else's child has experienced similar issues to mine. I have a 22 month old daughter who is constantly unwell, she had bronchiolitis when she was a baby and has had seemed to be be ill practically ever since.
For the last 3 months she has had a pretty severe cough, this is at its worst through the night and in the mornin, occasionally it can be bad enough to prevent her from sleeping any more than 10 mins at a time. As well as this she has had a runny nose for the same duration. We sometimes get 3 or 4 days where she seems fine but then it comes back.
We have been to the doctors several times, they gave antibiotics the 1st time, an inhaler the 2nd and antibiotics again the 3rd,nine of these seems to have helped much. We are now being referred to the paediatric department but I've no idea how long it'll take to get an appointment.
My question is basically does anyone have any experience of this? Do they know what causes it and is there any remedoanyine can recommend? We are getting increasingly worried about this, it seems as if our daughter hasn't had a break for the last 6 months or so (she was unwell all through Xmas as well l

Thanks in advance for any replies

Idefix Sat 09-May-15 15:34:12

Sorry to hear you lo is not well.
I know diagnosing asthma is now unpopular in young children but the symptoms and experience you describe is very similar to what I went through with both my dc 10yrs ago. They were diagnosed as asthmatic quite quickly and given inhalers including a steroid inhaler - this made all the difference.

Things that I found helped were using a humidifier to put moisture back in the bedroom at night, increasing the height of the head end of their cots/beds with books (3 inch thick).

Does your dd have other symptoms, eczema, hay fever symptoms? Is there a family history of these conditions?

Have you seen any patterns regarding the episodes when your dd has become worse? My ds coughing was much worse when the weather was cold and dds triggered by exercise, hay fever and cold.

Hope this helps, would say it would be useful to keep a diary of what has been happening.

Mmcgar Sat 09-May-15 17:12:53

Thanks very much for the reply.
We have noticed that around April /may each year (although only 2 in total so may be coincidence) she has had cold like symptoms which we've wondered if it could be hayfever. My wife had fairly bad eczema as a child and her sister had asthma as a child. I had very mild eczema when I was little.
How did you find having toddlers with asthma?

Mmcgar Sat 09-May-15 17:13:56

As in, is there any advice you have with managing it?

Idefix Sat 09-May-15 18:01:40

Your dd has what is sometimes described as an described as an atopic family history.

It was difficult at times, my dd was and is generally more reactive and has had several courses of oral steroids over the years to control her asthma and in now on montelukast which works to supress the immune response. My ds is now 16 and has had no symptoms for about three years now.

When they were very small we went down the route of removing as many triggers as possible, stripped would flooring (daily hoovering and wet mopping) and minimal soft furnishings and cuddly toys unintentionally turned into minimalists in their bedrooms. In the bedroom I would say keep the window shut at night when the pollen count is high and try damp cloth wiping all surfaces to reduce down the dust, mites and pollen.

I would say whilst waiting for the paeds referal that may be worth trying an oral antihistamine and see if this helps - does ease dd symptoms. I have read but not tried that eating local honey can help to some how alleviate the hay fever symptoms.

If you are offered steroid inhalers I would say take them, many don't like them but from all I have read and lived through the negative effects out weigh the benefits of having a child who is able to sleep through the night and is no miserable and constantly out of breath.

There are different inhalers but they all generally require consistent use and I know toddler are usually not keen on having a mask over their face. Also worth asking if the practice nurse can check your technique when giving it, it is easy to not get it right (are to still using the inhaler?). Were you given a volumatic spacer (large and splits into two parts) or an aerochamber spacer?
Might be worth trying a different spacer and see if the inhaler works better.

I hope some of this info helps, it was very tiring and stressful having to small children with asthma and at times scary. The thing that helped us was finding a gp who had an interest in asthma so seem more knowledgeable and confident about trying different things. Would also say not to be afraid to keep going back to gp. With my dd I got it wrong quite a few times because it is very hard to know what is just a cold and what is an accerbation.

Hope some of this helps.

Idefix Sat 09-May-15 18:04:40

Will need to see gp for antihistamine because of dd age.

Mmcgar Sat 09-May-15 19:43:30

Thanks for the detailed info it's much appreciated. When ur daughter was diagnosed with this, was there any tests that confirmed it or was it more a case of the gp basing it on the symptoms? My gp isn't the best and tends to just say things will be fine (this may be my own fault tho as I can be a bit of a hypochondriac at times).
1 thing I would say is my daughter doesn't seem to get short of breath or anything, is this a "must have" symptom of asthma?

Thanks again

Dappymummy Sat 09-May-15 22:16:57

My dd is 5 and has had some of your daughters symptoms. We have found that drastically cutting out a lot of the dairy she was having has made a big difference. She no longer has her bed time milk that now looking back made her very mucousy with a never ending cough. Also second a electric cool mist humidifier for night time sleeping.

You could try a spoonful of Piriton which is safe to use from 12 months onwards and see if that makes a difference. If it does then you know it's allergy related. My son had to take piriton every day for 4 months of the year from the age of 2 due to hayfever.

Mmcgar Sat 09-May-15 23:59:09

Hi dappymummy, thanks for your reply. Funnily enough I am dairy intolerant however it is a dodgy stomach it gives me as opposed to a cough cold etc. I'm willing to try anything tho so I might give it a try. Out of interest does anyone know if the later stage baby formula powders are dairy based? I'm guessing they're made from whey so would be unsuitable. I know at her age she needs plenty of calcium solid be reluctant to give up all her cows milk bottles without a suitable alternative

UseHerName Sun 10-May-15 00:10:40

April and May can be asthma triggered by tree pollen-look it up

An antihistamine would be useful too if that's the case

waddleandtoddle Sun 10-May-15 00:16:53

Have the Drs tested for whooping cough? It's doing the rounds near me.

Idefix Sun 10-May-15 00:17:43

A dairy intolerance is really easily ruled in or out by a blood test - could also check for common alergyns such birch, grass pollens. All formula are cows milk based unless thay are made from soya etc. A good alternative is goats milk (always have this in waitrose, not sure about other places) really well tolerated. I did go dairy free for a year with ds who had very bad catarrh and this did improve but the asthma remained.

The diagnosis is made based on history, symptoms and things found on examination. Ds was rarely out of breath but the gp could hear him wheezing with a stethoscope. With my ds it took 6mth for him to be diagnosed but my dd was only a few months old and the diagnosis was pretty much after the first visit. I think having an older brother with it made the decision easier.

I hope lo is better soon.

Mmcgar Sun 10-May-15 20:44:17

Thanks for all the replies. Last night was probably the worst night we've ever had with her, normally when we bring her into our bed the coughing calms down but last night nothing helped it. She was coughing roughly every minute or so right through from midnight to 7 this morning. We tried the inhaler, putting vicks on her chest, a saline nasal spray but nothing helped. She seemed a lot better this afternoon but now it's getting to bedtime the bad coughing has started all over again. We're at our wits end with all this, we're going to try and get doctors appointment for tomorrow if they have anything available

Dappymummy Mon 11-May-15 11:19:32

Have you tried steam. I always had to get my dd into a warm steamy room ( run all hot taps , shower etc in the bathroom) and it would ease it. Now I have bought the cool mist humidifier from argos and does the same thing but can leave running all night. Worth a try?

zipzap Mon 11-May-15 11:59:35

On a completely different tack - it's not whooping cough is it?

It's one of those diseases that people think have disappeared - except it turns out the vaccinations tend to wear off after 20-30 years and it's resurfaced particularly in adults - who get a long lasting cough they can't shift (one of its nicknames is 100 day cough) and because adults don't whoop in the same way it's very rarely picked up by doctors.

However there was a study recently that looked at patients presenting with coughs they'd had over a couple of weeks - the GPs were asked to guess how many of them had whooping cough. Their estimate was something like 1 or 2% as they reckoned it was something they rarely saw. The actual numbers when they did the bloodwork to see what they had was something like 1/3!

Sounds like your dd is pretty young so you'd expect her to be whooping for whooping cough but given that WC is also much worse at night and doesn't fill the lungs up with catarrh as most doctor's expect to hear when they are told they have a patient with a cough and examine them - it's something that might be worth asking the doctor to definitely rule out when you are next talking to the doctor about her!

(not a doctor, just somebody who ended up with whooping cough as an adult and took a long time to get a diagnosis!)

Mummytogoldie Tue 12-May-15 02:31:34

My dd has asthma and allergies and before diagnosis would cough terribly at night. She has asthma but is rarely wheasy, asthma can just portray as a cough. She is now on the brown steroid preventer inhaler and cetrizine (antihistimine) every night and only really coughs through the night when she has a heavy cold x

Mummytogoldie Tue 12-May-15 02:32:53

And also she was coughing because of an allergy to her bedding, of you haven't already change her pillows and duvet to anti allergy ones, this helped dd to x

Idefix Tue 12-May-15 06:07:05

How is dd today? Did you get to see the gp?
Hope you all got more sleep last night.

Mmcgar Wed 13-May-15 22:29:53

Thanks for all the replies. DD has been up and down the last few days, still coughing but sometimes worse than others. We've had her sleeping in couch the last few nights and she's definitely not been coughing as much in her sleep. Tonight we had her in our bed and she's been coughing REALLY, REALLY bad. Could be coincidence tho its been common to have done days worse than others. We had her at doctors , he didn't do much, just said we have to wait for paediatric appointment and gave us granules for allergies

sometimesyouwin Thu 14-May-15 06:00:26

I don't know if this is any help but my eldest DS had similar symptoms and a cough that would never go away. He would cough so much that he vomited a lot which was awful for him. We got referred to a respiratory specialist eventually who diagnosed something called Protracted Bacterial Bronchitis. He was tried on antihistamines first and had allergy tests which showed nothing and eventually had 2 extended courses (6 to 8 weeks) of antibiotics which knocked it on the head. Does the cough sound wet or dry as a wet cough is an indicator? Try googling and see if the symptoms fit. I hope you find an answer as it's awful watching them suffer.

Mmcgar Sat 16-May-15 08:42:03

We've been giving her the montelukast granules for the last 3 or 4 nights and she's not coughed much at all through the night (but still having moderate coughing during the day). She's still sleeping on the couch tho so the big test will be when she sleeps on the bedrooms as this has definitely seemed to make it worse.
Also we are giving her piriton incase it's allergy. As I said there has been an improvement so I'm reluctant to change anything but does anyone know if it's safe to take these medications together? If so, how long is it safe to take for? I will discuss this with the nurse when we finally get an appointment but I'd like to know just now if it's unsafe to be combining these medications.

Thanks to all for the help

willthiseverbloodystop Sat 16-May-15 20:37:29

My dd had this for years- missed a month of reception due to a cough. Eventually I tried a steroid inhaler and it worked almost immediately. We only use in the winter and it's totally transformed her health.

She is also dairy allergic and if you end up going that route I would recommend oat milk.

Interestingly we now think she may be allergic to the cat, getting her tested soon.

willthiseverbloodystop Sat 16-May-15 20:42:54

You can get allergy covers for bed, and anti allergy pillows etc? I reckon mine has a slight dust allergy too. It does sound allergy based, and I find Piroton better than cough med with mine.

CMOTDibbler Sun 17-May-15 08:47:13

My ds coughed and coughed and coughed after he had bronchiolitis. After 6 months of this (and lots of GP visits, inhalers, antibiotics etc) he had a chest x ray which showed a partial lung collapse.
We then saw a paediatrician who did a lot of tests, and we ended up with 8 weeks of antibiotics and a physio regime to clear his lungs.
It was scary and frustrating at the time, but once we saw the paed he was so thorough and careful it was very reassuring

anotherdayanothersquabble Sun 17-May-15 11:12:45

Lots of info above, I would like to offer some alternatives to ease coughing.

Look into high doses of vitamin C. Consider whether it could be multiple allergies / intolernances including chemical. My DS sleeps on a natural mattress and it has transformed our nights. Essential oils but not Vicks as he is allergic to petroleum, especially Blue Tansy oil help, in a vaporiser and rubbed on his chest. And we have also removed a number of food triggers (dairy, grains, sugar) and are attempting to build up long chain fatty acids and probiotics.

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