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allisonjayne wrote in parenting101
Thanks all for the comments on my nightweaning entry. It's actually been going pretty well - she's getting better and better at getting herself back to sleep without help from us - but this cough she's got is putting a bit of a wrench in it.

She's been off and on sick for a few months - she's been in daycare since she turned 1, so this seems pretty normal, but the past few nights her cough has been really bothering her. She has a bit of a runny nose but not too bad, it's mostly just this terrible coughing, causing her to wake up way more than usual. Her appetite has been really off too - apparently she's eating ok at daycare, but at home she's barely eating any breakfast or dinner.

So far we've just been giving her lots of water, sometimes herbal tea with agave (I read conflicting things about honey) if she'll drink it, trying to limit dairy (though I'm still nursing her 3-4 times a day), last night I gave her some of those Boiron homeopathic things which may or may not have helped.

Tonight I think I want to give her a cough suppressant so she can get some sleep. She looked exhausted this morning. I'm not normally one for going the medicine route with 'just a cold' but in this case, I think it's necessary.

I found some dosage and brand recommendations on the Dr Sears site, but I wanted to check here for any additional thoughts/cautions/etc? Should we do just a suppressant or the suppressant/expectorant? Her nose is slightly runny but the main problem at this point really is the cough.

When we were at the doctor last week, we talked about coughs/colds and their stance is basically unless it persists without improvement for more than 2 weeks, just treat it at home, so I don't think she needs to go to the doctor at this point.

Edited to add: she's 18 months. We don't have a humidifier or vaporizer (yet). We live in Canada. It *sounds* like a dry cough, and her runny nose is on and off.

Edited to add: Thanks everyone. I guess based on this and the information we got from the pharmacist, we'll avoid the cough medicine for now and hope that it passes on its own soon.

I would personally not combine a suppressant and expectorant, or a suppressant and anything mucosolvent. If the cough is wet and productive, I would not take a suppressant. If dry cough is keeping her awake, I'd take a suppressant only and something mucus solving in the daytime (plus loads of fluid). Homeopathic stuff won't hurt, in the best case it will help (or do nothing).

Some croup-like coughs get better with cold air, so you could try opening the window in the bedroom, ideally when she's wearing a sleep sack (something she can't throw off). From what I've read in other similar entries, air humidifiers or cut in half, raw onions on the bedside table seem to help some children with cough as well.

What helped my son with his cough was inhaling with a special vaporizer and sterile saline solution (NaCl 0,9%) that we rented in the pharmacy. (Inhaling over hot water helps just as well, but yeah, safety hazard x1000 with young kids.) They have both masks and mouth pieces, usually masks for babies and mouth pieces for toddlers, but my son never tolerated the mask and went straight to the mouthpiece when he got his first bronchitis at 14 months. These inhalations without medication are apparently praised by some peds and condemned by others... it helped my son, but it didn't work for me, so I guess it's a bit of an individual thing that can't hurt to try.

When she has a runny nose, it could also be that the cough comes from snot running down and tickling the back of the throat (there's a term for it like nasal backdrop or nasal drip back?)... unfortunately I have no idea what to do against that. I hope this cold will pass soon, and that she can get enough rest.

Edited at 2012-11-07 03:22 pm (UTC)

There is a lot of "do not give cold medication for kids under six" stuff floating around and I suspect you will get a fair bit of that here. Some of the info says it's because parents were overdosing their kids, other info says that "will not work on children under a certain age" type thing. I personally believe there is a time and a place for medication, even for kids under six, as long as you use a reputable dosing guide (like Dr. Sears') and use the medication responsibly.

Colds can be vicious, especially in little kids. You need them to sleep to get better, but the cold is making it difficult for them to sleep. I personally would stick to just a suppressant for now and follow Dr. Sears' dosing, and only offer it at night and allow her body to do what it needs to during the day. If it gets worse or prolongs longer than a week with crap sleep, I'd get her in to the doctor.

Edit: Also, at your earliest convenience, get a humidifier for her bedroom.

Edited at 2012-11-07 03:20 pm (UTC)

Over-the-counter cough suppressants and decongestants are no longer labeled for use with children younger than age four, leaving parents in a quandary about how to comfort young children and babies with colds and coughs. In most cases, the best strategy is to offer comfort measures and allow the cold to run its course. Watch your young baby carefully, though, for signs of more serious illness.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/515245-natural-cough-suppressants-for-babies/#ixzz2BYBxXC3P

In January, the Food and Drug Administration recommended that over-the-counter cough and cold medicines should not be given to children under age 2 because of the risk of "life-threatening side effects." According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, cough and cold products may pose serious risks in these children, including death, convulsions, rapid heart rates and reduced levels of consciousness. Manufacturers have voluntarily withdrawn cough and cold products for children under age 2.

In October, an advisory panel to the FDA noted that these products aren't effective in children under age 6 and shouldn't be given to children that age.

what I haven't understood is are the things like brain bleeds caused simply by the medication no matter the does, or in cases where the parent over dosed the child?

i'm not sure but i wouldn't feel comfortable testing it out for myself! especially when its so hard to get accurate dosing information for a child that age.

If you don't have a humidifier, keep a large pan of water going on the stove during the day, which will put more moisture into the air. The moisture keeps the phlegm moist, which is easier to cough up than when it is dry and thick. You can also try elevating her head, by putting a folded blanket, pillow or a couch cushion under the end of the mattress where her head will lie.

She's pretty young.... I wouldn't give her any traditional cough medicine.
I would give her Chestal Children's cough syrup though. (Rite Aid sells it) It's mostly honey though, so if you're not comfortable giving her honey yet, it wouldn't be the one for you.

We just got a set of humidifiers this last summer when everyone had a nasty cold. They are AMAZING. I would try that first thing.

A spoonful of honey is an excellent cough suppressant and not harmful for babies over 12m.

This. I've seen studies that have shown that plain honey is just as effective as medicated cough suppressants, and certainly doesn't carry the same risks.

Are humidifiers and vaporizers hard to find where you are? Where I live (in the US) it seems every drugstore and big box store has piles of humidifiers, and the base models are inexpensive (less than $20), so there's almost no reason not to get one when you have a cold. Helps a lot with the dry cough, keeps the throat moisturized.

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