There’s this deep, dark barking seal in my home, and for the last 2 weeks rather than nesting on the shorelines it has been barking in my house all hours of the day and not stopping until about 12 midnight. The seal is my son, and the intensity and magnitude of the asthmatic cough has just gone wild. Please know as you read this, I am not a Dr., and not suggesting any meds for your child, this is just our trials and tribulations as a family struggling to battle a recurrent Asthmatic Croup Cough that fights us hard, and we fight back harder! As you have read time and time again, my youngest has so many health issues from horrible life-threatening allergies to surviving pre-cancer in his belly, it has just been a wild ride as we have spent so much of his childhood at a Dr.’s office. This latest battle we have been waging has been against a respiratory illness that sweeps out of nowhere, attacks the breathing as well as the voice-box and then as quickly as it comes, if treated, it leaves. My 3 children have all somehow managed to contract this respiratory viral illness, but each of the other two has managed to shake it off. My youngest son, can not shake the virus, in fact, we have gone from virus, to bacterial infection back to virus, missing a few weeks of school so far. An asthmatic cough that sounds like a barking seal will not leave his body, as we lavishly live life fighting for his bronchial tubes to repair and his health to return.
What Caused All This Sickness & Asthmatic Croup?
There is a nasty respiratory infection going around and of course my household decided to embrace it and pass it around. The headaches, sore throats, and the inability to breathe which necessitated the need for steroidal inhalers as well as duo-nebs(2 meds in one vial for the nebulizer). Rescue inhalers are not working and once treated, it will go away, but we were not so lucky.
The Asthmatic Cough –
Generally when my son gets sick, it sends his Asthma in to overdrive and some form of cough occurs. Over the last 2 years we have fought back hard and we have been visiting one of the best allergists and immunologists Pittsburgh has, but that is still not enough with this latest round of sickness. The Asthmatic cough takes his breathe away, stays consistent day-long, and makes him feel nauseous after coughing for hours upon end. I sit by helplessly, keeping him hydrated, hoping that one of the medicines that he has been given will kick in and alleviate the bronchial spasms but to date nothing has worked. The cough began at Day four
The Medicine Line Up In The Fight Against Asthmatic Driven Croup
Our PCP has fought hard against this particular virus. We started out with Oral Steroid, in an attempt to allow the bronchial airways to open and allow airflow, but that was unsuccessful. This was a 3 day dose. He then went into a very bad sinus infection, which we then battled with antibiotic, which actually worked rapidly and relief was on its way within 24 hours of the first dosage and by the last he was doing so much better- nasal wise. There was no post-nasal drip but his throat was still raw. We tried Tessalon-Perle drops to help that cough stop, and while initially the onset use of these pills was helpful, they stopped working on day 2. We tried Motrin to decrease the swelling in the bronchial airway and the to try to help rid the headache but that failed as well. We flushed him with many beverages around the clock(which only contributed to more unrest as he needed to go to the bathroom over and over again. FEELING LIKE A FAILURE AS MOM AT THIS POINT….
After these medicines were not working, or were working but not as much as we needed, we then tried to increase the use of Atrovent, which has been a key player in our previous bouts with this type of Croup, again no dice here. Working within the knowledge set learned from previous sickness we were also aware that the use of inhaled steroids as well as the use of Albuterol longer than a few days could result in more coughing we stopped using it. We tried heat packs, ice packs, cool mist, air purifiers, popsicles and continued to flush him with water. Our Dr. checked him for the 4th time for pneumonia but thankfully nothing. We started him back on reflux meds to see if reflux was playing a role. It to date has not been reflux playing a role in it. More trips to the Dr.s office and calls to our wonderful PCP(who has been nothing but caring and devoted to our kids).
The Time Line For Croup
Day 1-4- Horrible headache, sore throat, breathing problems, light coughing, throw-up feeling from wheezing. (Dr.’s 2x and many calls in between)
Day 4-12 A Croup-like cough that sounds like a barking seal, temperatures that flux from 99 to 101, a sinus infection that decided to set in, nausea from non-stop coughing(until he falls asleep), a headache, and lack of appetite. (repeated visit to Dr.’s as well as phone calls back and forth)
Feeling Crazy from the Croup Cough –
If you are a parent of a child and you have never had a Croup Like cough in your home, wow are you lucky. It is super hard to explain to people what is going on and when your child is sick, coughing non-stop, and there is nothing you can do, you feel powerless. I called our immunologist, he was out of town and does not have a partner, so we were kind of stuck. We called our Pulmonologist and we are headed there next.
No matter what waiting room we go to, or what errand we have run, people comment on his cough, how deep it is and why I have him out, as if it is anyone’s business but my own. He is becoming self-conscious because people keep asking questions, but he is NOT contagious, just annoyed that he can’t stop coughing and that his quality of life has been depleted over the last few weeks. No running, no jumping, no ice hockey, just bed rest.
Taking Things Into My Own Hands
Now in the meantime he has missed weeks of school and all of his ice hockey time(multiple days). I decided to take things into my own hands because I feel bad and there just has to be something I have missed. We have tried both ice and heat packs, and they don’t help. We have done saltwater swishes and they are useless. We have tried Menthol Rubs and that is not helping. Cool Mist, Moist Heat, warm clothes, cool clothes, elevated pillows, feet covered with socks and menthol on his feet and NOTHING. So I pulled out the big guns, the Apple Cider Vinegar(ACV) and I gave him a teaspoon, remembering that back a few years ago we used this remedy as well. He choked it up as he was putting it down, but then we stirred in cinnamon and he drank it down. I chugged one with him, just to make it all better and then we ran for our toothbrushes because YUK to the taste!
Results of this were kind of amazing, because the coughing slowed down, but then a little while later we heard the same barking, crappy cough that we have been battling. Thinking I was onto something I went ahead and ran to GNC and got these, ACV supplements, to take 2 per day, rather than swallowing cold, hard nasty vinegar. Are we on to something here? As the day progressed we had a few breaks in the on-goings?
The story of lavishly living Croup will continue as we visit the Pulmonology department tomorrow, but maybe he will wake up without a cough? Now as odd as this may seem, another person at a local store told me another mom had just been in to buy Apple Cider Vinegar for her child would could not stop coughing, so is it me or is apple cider vinegar a cure? This is TBD, but we are trying. I feel affirmed that someone else was doing what I was doing, because there has to be a better way than meds that are ineffective. 2 weeks of being up all late at night until my son can actually pass out makes you really grasp at straws. While I may not use that straw to drink ACV down, I can tell you it is all natural and may work. Stay tuned for more updates of lavishly living Asthmatic Croup Out Loud as we seek a solution to the non-stop cough. Battle ON!
I am not a Dr., these are my experiences, and I am not recommending any medicines. These are our personal trials and tribulations all supported by our Dr., who has made many recommendations in order to help our son, feel better. Consult with your own DR. before trying any medicines. Dana Vento is not responsible for your choices with your children.