Constant coughing

Has anyone got any tips on dealing with a constant dry cough?

I've had a bit of an ordeal with my 9 year old son over the past two days. He has mild asthma, we've had sketchy advice about how to deal with it, one nurse suggested it might not even be asthma. He's on ventolin and clenil but we stopped the clenil a couple of weeks ago as the local asthma nurse said if he's doing ok we can stop it and see how he is.

Last week he had a bit of a cold, nothing too bad, missed one day of school because of a very runny nose. Yesterday he woke up coughing and just didn't stop coughing. He couldn't speak or move without coughing, he was feeling dizzy, breathless and had stomach ache. He coughed for two hours solid, I couldn't get him a GP appointment until late afternoon so I took him to A&E.

The hospital said his obs were good, oxygen was 99, temperature was normal, chest sounded clear. They gave him a nebuliser and sent him home. He barely coughed for the rest of the day. The doctor told us if it happened again to use his ventolin inhaler and spacer 10 times with 10 breaths in between each puff.

This morning he woke up coughing again and literally couldn't stop coughing. I did his inhalers but they didn't help so I phoned NHS 111 and they called an ambulance. The ambulance crew said it just sounded like a dry cough, so did the doctor at the hospital. His obs were good so they said it wasn't asthma. They gave him a nebuliser which helped for 90 minutes, then he started coughing again. The doctor discharged him and said use a humidifier and give him cough medicine.

We went home, had lunch but the coughing got worse again, he literally couldn't stop coughing and he was getting quite upset about it. I called the helpline and they said to call an ambulance and ask for steroids. The ambulance crew were reluctant to take him in because his obs were fine, good oxygen sats, clear chest, no fever. His peak flow wasn't great but it improved after they gave him a nebuliser which once again helped him. The doctor thought it was a virus but he agreed to prescribe the steroids and he gave my son a three day course of prednisolone. He also said to give him an antihistamine in case he's allergic to something.

My son is still coughing all the time, I am so worried about him. He's feeling dizzy and very poorly, and he is absolutely exhausted. I don't know what I can do for him and he's so upset.

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  • I'm a bit of a cougher myself so I know how distressing it can be when it just goes on and on, especially for a child.

    Pretty much the only thing you can do is make him feel more comfortable - hot drinks with honey and lemon can be very soothing and it he is in pain then careful use of calpol (or whatever you prefer) can help him to get to sleep.

    You might also find that it is worth taking him to a salt cave if you have one handy. It isin't cheap but I found that it really helped - when I went in every breath hurt and it felt as if somebody had sandpapered the inside of my lungs. I found it hard to believe that when I came out I was almost pain free for the first time in weeks. It might not help everybody but it worked for me and it's not unpleasant - all you need to do is sit in a comfortable chair in a quiet room breathing deeply for an hour (and trying not to fall asleep!).

    I hope you find something that helps him.

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