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persistent cough in 15 month old - should we give antibiotics?

(13 Posts)
cappy1 Wed 16-Jul-08 22:03:41

Hi Mums

My ds has developed a cold since starting nursery 5 weeks ago. I understand this is to be expected and the cold has died down but recently came back - he has had the same cold ever since starting nursery!

The cough doesn't seem to bother him much apart from at night and when he wakes up - he was coughing for an hour last night with a few minutes in between bouts of coughing. Very upsetting to hear as well as affected our sleep - he woke up at 4.30 this morning!!

I took him to the GP today - she was the saw him when he first developed this cold four weeks ago. She has prescribed antibiotics and an inhaler but says that his chest is clear and the only sign of infection is a red throat. Myself a dh are concerned about giving ds antibiotics but want to do what is best for ds so this cold/cough gets sorted out. Any advice?

amazonianwoman Wed 16-Jul-08 23:17:26

DS (now 16mths) has had a cough since starting nursery in May. He also had a pretty permanent cough from Oct til around March this year hmm

If it's not on their chest I just let it run its course rather than resort to antibiotics. I think it's just par for the course at this age unfortunately.

2.5ml of chesty cough tixylix in his evening milk seems to help, as does rubbing vicks/snufflebaby stuff on soles of feet at bedtime (sounds bizarre but recommended on mumsnet and really works)

Sidge Wed 16-Jul-08 23:29:52

If his chest is clear I wouldn't give the antibiotics. I would give him the inhaler though, especially before bed and if he is coughing in the night (I assume it's salbutamol?)

Non-stop coughs and colds are pretty common when they start nursery. Be reassured that usually it settles down as their immune system adapts!

Keep a window ajar in his room, and maybe try a bowl of water on a windowsill to increase the humidity, as dry air can cause coughing. Do you have any pets? Does anyone in the household smoke? All these things can increase coughing.

Has he got a runny nose but without congestion? It could be hay fever, and you could try Piriton.

Hope he is better soon.

columbolover Thu 17-Jul-08 09:23:25

ds had a cough for ages after a cold. It was worse at night. GP gave him an inhaler to use at night whch worked really quickly and stopped the cough. - He had been on 2 courses antibiotics before this which worked for a few days only.
GP said that babies before age 2 can get spasms in their chest, sometimes post virally, and can sometimes lead to asthma but not always/usually, and that the inhaler would stop any damage that may be done to the lungs if the spasms were to remain untreated - so better to use the inhaler than not was what he meant.
When ds stopped the inhaler his cough came back and GP gave him a course of a preventer inhaler and started him back on the blue inhaler again for a couple more months. He's now off both and is doing fine - is 17mo now.
Hope he is back to usual self soon.

amazonianwoman Thu 17-Jul-08 10:38:36

Oooo Sidge, could DS's cough be exacerbated by our cats? Would that be a genuine enough reason to get rid of them? grin

<apologies to cat lovers everywhere>

stealthsquiggle Thu 17-Jul-08 10:45:24

I am slightly surprised the GP gave him AntiB's if his chest is clear - my DD (21mths) got given AntiB's yesterday because her (ever-present) cough has got a lot worse and the GP said her chest was very rattly. He also explicitly said that he would otherwise have let it run it's course.

DD quite often coughs at night but I think it is snot from the nursery perma-cold running down her throat. If she is particularly snotty I give her Medised at night as it seems to help clear the snot enough for her to sleep better. Salbutamol inhaler is also not a bad idea (can't do any harm IMHO - GP gave DD one of those too but in fact she slept really well last night so we didn't bother).

Sidge Thu 17-Jul-08 12:40:52

Amazonianwoman it could be. Cat dander can be allergenic, and some people are more susceptible to it than others.

There are things you can do to reduce the dander but you can't get rid of it completely as long as you have the cat. So if you want an excuse to get rid of cats now you have one!

cappy1 Thu 17-Jul-08 23:16:53

Thanks mums

Sorry I have only just been able to log on. Thanks so much for the advice and the kind thoughts. I am still not sure what to do - the GP says his chest is clear so I am not sure whether he should have the antibiotics.

I have tried Txylix and olbas oil in his room at night, steaming bathroom - seems to only provide mmomentary relief. He is fine apart from bouts of coughing most of which happens at night and keeps us all awake. One part of me wants to let him see it out so that his immune system develops but it is so upsetting to hear him cough all the time and the nights are getting difficult - especially as we just got him to sleep through the night a few months ago - I feel like we are slipping back to the nights of broken sleep - absolute hell angry!!

I have seen on mn that many of you have used the inhaler - but doesn't it mean that they have asthma?

Sidge Fri 18-Jul-08 11:52:03

Not necessarily cappy1 - young children can have asthmatic-type symptoms but as you can't really diagnose asthma until they are much older then you tend to treat the symptoms regardless of the cause.

A nighttime cough is a main feature of asthma in children but it's hard to say for sure in toddlers/babies if they are asthmatic or will become asthmatic.

I would use the inhaler fairly regularly and see if it helps. Also try a synthetic (not feather) duvet and pillow if he is over 1 and maybe try a humidifier that you can plug in his room overnight.

stealthsquiggle Fri 18-Jul-08 11:56:14

Your GP didn't do a very good job of explaining this, did he/she?

Inhaler does not mean they have asthma, not at this age - it gives relief by opening up the chest. It is possible they may go on to be asthmatic but not probable.

My DS is 5 and had an inhaler for chest infections relatively frequently when he was little. I am asthmatic, but DS show no signs at all of developing it now. With the symptoms you describe I think it may well help you all get some sleep - have you tried it yet? Presumably the GP gave you a spacer/mask thing as well - did he/she demonstrate it? Show your DS how it works on a bear or something first. He probably still won't like it much, but it will be a bit less scary (and BTW if he yells that can actually be good as it means he takes a good deep breath smile)

cappy1 Fri 18-Jul-08 12:10:07

Thanks mums

My dh just got off the phone with the GP who explained it all a bit more. Yes we will try the inhaler - and the GP did explain how to use it - good tip trying with the teddy bear(!)

We are also going to give him antibiotics as his throat is really red to clear up possible infection - hope he doesn't get oral thrush again!!

And yes I do think we all need some sleep!

Thanks for your help on this - it has been very reassuring xx smile

amazonianwoman Fri 18-Jul-08 14:15:04

Sidge thanks grin grin

Too tempting, too tempting grin

cappy1 Sat 09-Aug-08 13:15:02

Hi Mums

Just thought I would give an update to those who maybe watching this thread and for completeness!

We gave ds the antibiotics and the inhaler the cough stopped almost immediately and we continued with the inhaler for a few days after the course of antibiotocs finished. When I stopped the inhaler his cough came back albeit less frequently. I gave him the inhaler once before bedtime and this stopped the night time coughing. Now he is much better only coughing every now and then but not at all as bad as it was before and also not at night.

Thanks to mums for the advice. One health problem down and i am sure loads more to go. grin

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