Thursday, December 02, 2010

Cough Variant Asthma

This is the story of Luke's health struggle the last seven years and how we *think* we have finally found the answer to his problem.

Luke had RSV when he was 9 months old. It didn't require hospitalization, and he recovered quickly. We were relieved about that. But in caution over his "twitchy" lungs and wheezing, we were sent home with a nebulizer and Albuterol to help control "possible asthma."

But no one ever said anything about asthma again.

We heard about allergies (tested with the stick method twice)
We heard about steroids (given them a lot)
We had his tonsils and adenoids removed when he was 3.
We heard about sinus infections (and administered countless antibiotics to him over the years, literally, dozens of rounds and I don't want to THINK about how many x-rays he has had)
We heard about sinus passages, and how sinus surgery was a last resort.
We tried medicine after medicine. Singular, Zyrtec, Albuterol, Alavert. You name it, he tried it.
At one point, he was on 9 different medicines.
That's when I decided to take him off everything.
That didn't work either.
We tried sinus rinses. They helped.
But regardless of all these things, Luke still struggled with this:

RELENTLESS COUGHING, primarily at night. Coughing until he vomited. Coughing so hard blood vessels broke in his face. And there was absolutely no cough medicine that would make a difference. Fresh air, lemon and honey, cough drops, lollipops, they were all mocking us. He lost sleep. His face puffed up. And then we would crawl back like servants to an antibiotic, the only thing that would relieve what we believed were sinus infections. No one really seemed to get it but Tom and I. The helplessness we felt when we heard that first little strum of a cough, the unproductive, tight cough that was a sure sign of a long, long night.

And then, at age 7, our ENT recommended an Infectious Disease doctor. Just in case Luke was dealing with some kind of immunity problem, because after all IT'S NOT NORMAL FOR A KID TO HAVE A CONSTANT REOCURRENCE OF A CONDITION SUCH AS A SINUS INFECTION. I get that now. I get that I should have searched harder and quicker. But Dr. Chang sat and listened for an hour to Luke's health history. I could see his wheels turning. He is one of those people who is smarter than smart, yet personable and warm. After I took Luke for a potty break, we walked back in and Dr. Chang gave me his tentative diagnosis:

Cough Variant Asthma.

People with CVA have no classic symptoms of asthma, such as wheezing or shortness of breath. For that reason, it is a very difficult condition to diagnose.

Here is what I found on "Pediatric Planet" - Some children with a persistent cough have a condition called "cough variant asthma." This means that we believe that the child is coughing because his or her breathing tubes (bronchi) are reacting to irritation by squeezing in to a smaller size, just like in asthma. Children with cough variant asthma do not make the wheezing sound that we usually hear in children with ordinary asthma, though. This can make it difficult to diagnose the condition, and very often children with cough variant asthma have been through a number of other diagnoses or treatments. Parents of children with cough variant asthma usually find that regular cough and cold medicines don’t help their children, and of course antibiotics don’t help either. Cough variant asthma can be a very frustrating condition.

This blog also helped. It helped me to hear the story of another parent who dealt with similar issues.

So, we have been treating Luke's asthma for the last few weeks, and so far, it's like magic. He's doing very well on the Flovent inhaler. And it's such a relief to have a healthy little boy. It's only been a few weeks, so I am a little hesitant to declare it a total cure, but we are very optimistic that we have made some progress by finding out about CVA.

6 Wonderful Responses:

Shannon said...

I have never heard of this - but it makes perfectly good sense. I am going to send my SIL a link to this post. My nephew has many of the same symptoms that Luke does. Hope he continues to do well!!

Malinda said...

Over the years our daughter had a persistant dry cough that no cough medicine could touch. I feel your pain when you say the cough makes for a long night. After a month of coughing this time her doctor said let's try an inhaler. First day we noticed a dramatic difference and within two days only an occasional cough. Encouraging to hear your story!

Kryskrys said...

I there, my son has been coughing for 6 months. I dread the sound of a cough now more than just about anything. Our dr recently brought up the possibility of cough variant asthma. We have started a 3 day treatment of liquid steroids in tandem with an inhaled steriod. Just wondering if your son did continued to do well on the medication and how long it took before you saw results from the medications. We hope you are doing well, thanks :)

Unknown said...

I am 68 yrs. old and have had coughing variant asthma since I was 20 until I was 66yrs old. If my wife wanted to find me in a store all she had to do was stop and listen for me to cough. Many things would make it worse like the weather, dust, wet, cold , very hot weather. Perfume, etc.

In the early years the most relief I got was from Touch From Health therapy.

Not to bore you with years and years of stories here is what I found that worked for me.

I was in the Wet State of Washington visiting my Military Son for Christmas in 2013
In less than two weeks I was in the hospital with pneumonia. I got down sick and could not stop coughing I didn't have my prednisone or antibiotics with me. A couple visits in a row to ER didn't help. I ended up the day after Christmas in Oregon where I decided to go to the hospital and was admitted on the spot.

I was able to get out of the hospital and spent weeks there in my daughters home getting well enough to travel home (back east).

I was still taking antibiotics and prednisone for quite some time but eventually got better.

Now here is how I medicate myself now to avoid getting sick and getting rid of that awful cough I had all my life. I wash out with a netti pot Nasal flo and always suck up the last rinse into my sinus on both sides If I have an infection in my sinus, leaving the salt water up there until it eventually comes out keeps the infection down. Be sure to use distilled water. Here is the big trick that works for me and keeps me from coughing. I take mucus relief pills every day several times a day. I get them from Walmart for .88 cents the bottle has 15 pills in it.

The mucus relief is great. I still stay in the house during cold winter and hot summers . If I start getting sick I grab a few prednisone pills for a couple days.
I very seldom use the antibiotics any more. I am a lot better than I have been for years along this line. But I am getting old so I take vinegar for kidneys and cayenne for other problems I have at this old age.
The sinus control is the main thing for me. Wish I had know this info. 40 yrs ago. My life in this respect is so much better.
If a doctor wants to give you levaquin I suggest not taking it. It is for sinus and pneumonia. Read about it I got Peripheral Neuropathy, Terrible long term damage to your body that doesn't stop destroying your nerves. Johnson and Johnson failed to warn people and doctors of the terrible side effects. I hope the mucus pills work for you like they are for me.
CAL in Ohio Valley. glferg3@gmail.com

Babs Black said...



With today's knowledge and treatments, most people who have asthma are able to manage the disease. They have few, if any, symptoms. So we provide you the best Home Remedies For Asthma and there is no side effects. They can live normal, active lives and sleep through the night without interruption from asthma.

Jenn said...

Curious how he is doing now? My daughter has been struggling with this as well.