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chronic chest congestion in toddler
thefirstnoelle posted:
My 3.5 year old daughter has had chronic chest congestion for the past 2 years. Our pediatrician has diagnosed her with croup (Sp?) approximately 3 times over this period of time, and most recently put her on steroids to clear it up. It didn't work. I know I am not supposed to, but I feel like a fool constantly bringing her back to the pediatrician's office. Currently, she has been off of the steroids for 4 weeks, and continues to wake herself up out of dead-sleeps coughing to the point where we think she is going to throw up (just as she did while on the steroids). She does not cough during the day. She does not have a fever, or any other symptoms, just constant chest congestion. Recently, I have started giving her Mucinex before bed to allow her to get through the night. It has helped slightly, but she continues to have coughing fits. For what it's worth, my daughter is in a pool for private swimming lessons about 1 hour a week. I don't know if this has something to do with it. She is great in all other areas and is ahead of her game when it comes to speaking, reading, writing and reasoning. She is relaltivelly healthy except for this issue and she never complains that her chest hurts ( or throat for that matter) About 1 year ago, she was sent to the ER from our pediatricians office for chest congestion, and after a chest x-ray they diagnosed her with bronchiolitis (sp?) For this, she did have a high fever and was put on a nebulizer. It knocked her out completely. Now, she runs, jumps, plays, swims and during the day seems fabulous! At night it is a different story. I will say that my daughter eats a lot of dairy items and drinks only water and milk. I have searched the web up and down for chronic chest congestion in toddlers, and it keeps coming back to bronchitis. I really do not feel it is this. The doc has always told me that her lungs seem clear. I am becoming concerned because now I feel like i am medicating my child with mucinex and I am not sure if this is OK. Any suggestions or guidance would be so appreciated. Thanks!
Dr__Parker responded:
I'd vote for possible allergies in her bedroom (dust and mold are the most common). Discuss this possibility with her pedi. Sometimes, as a start, we just recommend to institute dust and mold precautions in the bedroom and/ or try an anti-histamine at night to see if it helps.
cgeigle responded:
My son suffered from the exact same problem at the same age. It was particularly worse in the winter. We would give him anti-cough medicine and mucinex with little to no positive result. He never got a good night sleep and this affected his personality. We really figured out the problem when we took a trip to Mexico. We thought we were leaving all the problems behind if it was allergies, but the first two nights were awful. I got about 2 hours of sleep combined for those nights as my son was having serious breathing problems. With no real medical facilities in the town we were staying, I was a bit freaked out. It all started to change AFTER we washed his teddy bear in hot water! We realized that the only thing we had brought with us that could be the problem was his teddy bear. We had never washed it before and he snuggles up with it at night. After washing his teddy bear, our son slept through the night without coughing. It was amazing! When we got back from Mexico we scheduled an appointment with a Pediatric Allergist. He was great, and the skin testing (which was very uncomfortable for my son) showed that our son was allergic to MANY environmental elements, including dust mites, molds, trees, grasses, dogs and cats. Basically very allergic. The allergist felt as though the problem in Mexico was likely an allergy induced asthma attack. Made sense. During the summer my son also started to clear his throat constantly, I mean it was 10-20 times a minute. It was really bad and he couldn't stop. The allergist prescribed an inhaler twice daily to reduce chronic inflammation, and a pill that is similar in function. It has worked wonders! It took about 4 weeks to really start to work, but now our son only shows problems when exercising... although it doesn't slow him down. ADVICE: Wash ALL bedding in HOT water and dry using HIGH heat. This kills and eliminates the dust mites and mold that are in every bed in America. Go to Target and buy a mattress cover that keeps the dust mites in the mattress and won't let them out. Was the bedding weekly initially and then every two weeks if you see a positive response. See an allergist and have your child tested. It's a hassle, but at least you will know what is going on. See a Pediatric Allergist if possible. I hope this helps, good luck.
Gardenlane responded:
Hi, I read your post on Web MD and am wondering if you have found a solution. My daughter is 11 and has suffered with this exact issue (Chronic Chest Congestion) since she was born. We have tried different allergy meds and am now medicating with Mucinex as well. Hers seems to only occur from late fall to spring and way worse at night. She has also been on Steroids with a nebulizer. Please let me know if you have learned anything that would be of help. Thanks!
beachgirl64 responded:
Sounds like allergy induced asthma. I would have your daughter seen by an asthma specialist (pul monologist). Nighttime coughing is a symptom of asthma. Some asthmatics, like my son, never wheeze. Good luck.

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