why does my baby cough at night only

Causes of a nighttime cough can vary from minor infections like a cold to more serious problems like asthma. A nighttime cough lasting more than 4 weeks is considered chronic and should be evaluated by a doctor. Keeping a cough journal, including frequency, duration, timing and any associated triggers, may be helpful for monitoring a nocturnal cough and aid the doctor in determining if treatment is necessary. Postnasal drip occurs when the nose produces excessive amounts of mucus. The mucus may drip out the nose during the day, but when the child lies down at night, mucus collects in the back of the throat, triggering a cough. Postnasal drip syndrome is a common cause of nighttime coughing in children. Common causes include breathing cold or dry air, infections like a cold or the flu, allergies and nonallergic rhinitis -- irritated nasal passages typically caused by exposure to environmental irritants such as smoke, pollution or solvents such as cleaning solutions.


Nocturnal asthma is another common cause of nighttime coughing in children. Coughing occurs at night primarily because of changes in the airways that occur with sleep. An asthmatic cough tends to be a dry, hacking cough and is frequently accompanied by wheezing. A January 2009 review article in the "McGill Journal of Medicine" noted that nocturnal asthma may be triggered by allergens or other environmental agents. Discuss any signs or symptoms of asthma with your child's doctor, and develop and follow an asthma management plan as appropriate. Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, occurs when acid from the stomach leaks upward into the esophagus. Stomach acid irritates the throat and may cause a cough, which is generally dry. Some children and adults with GERD experience symptoms primarily at night, because stomach contents can flow into the esophagus more easily while lying down.


According to a May 2013 report in "Pediatrics," some amount of acid reflux occurs in approximately 50 percent of 4-month-olds, but prevalence drops to 5 to 10 percent by age 1. Obesity, nervous system disorders and hiatal hernia -- an abnormal opening in the muscular sheet that separates the chest and abdominal cavities -- increase the risk of GERD in children. Other symptoms occurring with a nighttime cough should be discussed with your child's doctor, including fever, a whooping or whistling sound associated with breathing, coughing up blood, chest pain, listlessness or crankiness. Any cough that persists for more than a few hours in an infant younger than 4 months or more than 3 weeks in an older child should be evaluated by your child's doctor.


If in doubt, call the doctor. Seek medical attention immediately if your child is working hard to breathe, has trouble speaking due to shortness of breath or has a blue or dusky color to his lips, face or tongue.
So much for the 12 hour night we had on Fri night. Sat night was terrible again and the cough then began showing during the day too. I was so sure it was a chest infection as there was also a lot of wheezing, so I booked him in to see my doc on tue (tmw). Anyway so last night he went off to bed ok, but became very unsettled within a few hours. screaming like he was in pain, not settling with cuddles, rocking, anything. We gave him panadol and he nodded off but then continued to wake every 15-20 min for the next few hours. His breathing was sooo noisy and he seemed soo uncomfortable. I ended up taking him into our local hospital at 2am coz I was SURE something was up - whether it was his chest or I was also suspecting ear infection or sore throat.


Ok, so we didnt have to wait too long, however DS was quite happy to be out in the emergency department at 2am. He was chatting and smiling and everyone must have been thinking what the hell have I dragged my baby out for??? WHAT THE? His ears and throat were also fine and doc put it down to a virus. Just keep up the panadol he told me. DH fell asleep on the way home at 3. 30am and continued to wake frequently till 7am. The whole morning so far he has been coughing and wheezing. I cant believe it disappeared at the hospital. Anyway, I will go and see my GP tmw and tell him the whole scenario. I am convinced it s asthma or chest infec (or both). Question. should i try a vapouriser to help him breathe at night? I have heard both good and bad things about these. What exactly do they do?

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