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Suggest treatment to relieve severe cough and congestion due to Influenza A in a toddler

Answered by
Dr. Diptanshu Das


Practicing since :2005

Answered : 3682 Questions

Posted on Mon, 22 Oct 2018 in Child Health
Question: My wife and I took our 18 month old son to the doctor Friday night when he had a 102.5 fever. They ran a multi diognosis test with a swab inside his nose that checked for a couple different types of sickness and determined that he had Flu A. He started feeling bad around 1pm on Friday so he he has now been sick for exactly 6 days now. I have been a little more worried now because his symptoms have been confusing to us off and on with improvements and then worsening again.
Fever- (Friday) first evening 102.5 & 103.5 at around 3am. We put Vick’s on his feet under his socks to help draw the fever down.
(Saturday) woke up sweating around 8am and broke his high fever with his temp just under 100. Took longer nap than usual, but evening energy level seemed back to normal with no fever or cough. Slightly higher temperature that night, 100 to 101 possibly.
(Sunday) still no fever during the day, but noticed a slight raspy cough every once in a while. Other than that, he seemed fine, energetic, and somewhat board from us limiting outside and other activities since we stayed home all day.
(Monday) worsening cough developed. Mostly at night but slight to moderate during daytime. Not any recall of fever that day or night.
(Tuesday) continued worsening cough with congestion and a 102 fever returned last night. Coughs became more frequent, about 1 or 2 heavy coughs every 10-15 min that woke himself and us parents up every time. Day time coughs worsed also.
(Today) his congestion has worsened and near every time he coughs there is a lot of discarge. From yesterday afternoon and all today his appetite has become much less and he has a temperature of 100.1 today around noon. He was still eating normal up until Tuesday.

I guess my summary is that he has been better in the day, sometimes seeming not sick at all, then returning to sick at night, and instead of getting better, he is getting sicker at night again and now showing more day sickness symptoms as well as decreased appetite. He has been well about drinking plenty of fluids. The doctor on Friday gave us tamafu to give him, but he throws it up every time emidiatly after. This is also the only time he as thrown up, he has no diarrhea, and his nasal discharge has been for the most part fairly clear in color. We have given him the baby tylonal, baby ibuprofen a couple times, and an all natural baby caugh syrup recently. We are on day 6 now of him being sick.

I wanted to know your thoughts and suggestions as to what we can do as parents and further actions to help our son get better?

Thank you,

Answered by Dr. Diptanshu Das 4 hours later
Brief Answer:

Treatment is supportive.

Detailed Answer:


I have gone carefully through the details and understand your concern.

Most often such symptoms like congestion and cough are due to an allergic component associated with a viral infection like Influenza A. Irrespective of treatment it usually spontaneously resolves in 5-7 days.

Since such infections are usually associated with an allergic component and giving Atarax Drops (Hydroxizine, prescription medicine) should help. Cetirizine is an over the counter alternative that can also be given instead.

If your child is otherwise active and playful, I would not be concerned. If not, it would be a good idea to visit a doctor and to get the child evaluated.

If the respiratory rate is greater than or equal to 40 breaths/min you would need to take him to a doctor for the possibility of underlying pneumonia. If the rate is lesser, you need not worry.

You need to give steam inhalation to your child. It helps in reducing the congestion and thereby the cough.

Just sit with the child on your lap and place the source of steam before you. The water vapor will be in the air and automatically the child will breathe it in. Water vapor will reach deep inside and would help in diluting the cough and thus would provide relief.

Please be patient. He would soon be fine.

Hope I have answered your question.

Dr. Diptanshu Das, Pediatrician

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Nagamani Ng

The User accepted the expert's answer

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