Doctor Betti
Dr. Betti Hertzberg Ressler is a Board Certified Pediatrician on staff at Miami Children's Hospital. Dr. Hertzberg developed the toilet training video "Let's Go Potty." She is the co-author of "The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies for Children."


Question: My daughter is 2 and has a reoccurring cough (mostly at night) due to post nasal drip. She is on Claritin and we give her cough medicine (which does little good). What should our next step be. She (and we) are having trouble sleeping. Loryn

Answer: Chronic cough, especially at night may be a symptom of allergies, reflux or hyperactive airway (also known as asthma). You mentioned a post nasal drip which may be a factor in triggering the bronchospasm (cough) that occurs at night. ALLERGIES can be directly related to the symptoms that you are describing.

If your daughter is fine during the day without these symptoms, you may want to "allergy-proof her bedroom." This entails removing the stuffed animals, not using feather pillows or comforters, no ceiling fans (or any fans), frequent changing of air conditioner filters, removing carpet (if this is feasible). Smoking is an irritant that may trigger allergies.

If symptoms persist after doing all this, check with your child's pediatrician. Make a diary of your daughter's symptoms. This will help to diagnose the problem.

Genetic factors play a big role in allergies and symptoms of asthma or similar symptoms. If there is a family history of allergies/asthma, etc., there is a greater chance you may see similar symptoms in your daughter.

Without more information (i.e., cough with exercise, cough after eating certain foods, etc., it may be difficult to guide you in a certain direction. It does sound like the trigger is some form of allergy. The fact that "cough syrup" does not work, makes me lean toward bronchospasm (reactive airway/asthma-like symptoms).

Please consult your daughter's pediatrician who can guide you with more detailed information.

Dr. Betti

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    This information is not intended to be a substitute for visiting your pediatrician. If you or your child has specific concerns, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.