my 4 year old twins wake up at night, and only night, coughing so hard that they vomitt. this will last about 3 weeks and go away, but then about 2 months to 3 months, they start coughing and vomitting again, only at night. what would cause this.

(November 9, 2010)

Coughing is a reflex which is essential for clearing out irritants, secretions, foreign particles and microbes that tend to block the breathing passages. Recurring coughing bouts are usually indicative of a bacterial or viral infection of the respiratory tract. A toddler with a weak immune system is prone to various infections. A cough lasting for about three weeks is generally a result of a common cold or influenza. These are the most widespread forms of toddler illness. A coughing bout can also be set off by allergens, smoke, pollutants, respiratory disorders and gastric reflux disease.

Cough, fever and a sore throat are the most common symptoms of influenza as well as the common cold. However, the symptoms do vary from individual to individual. Being extremely contagious, your twins are bound to catch the infection together. During the day, toddlers are aware of irritants and microbes and are able to clear their nasal and respiratory passages with ease. However, at night, while sleeping soundly, they would be oblivious to these small microbes and various microscopic irritants. Mucus from the nasal passage may also trickle into the larynx. This is when the body’s inbuilt defense mechanism takes over and the child experiences a coughing bout. A fall in night temperature could also bring about coughing. The gag reflex triggered by excessive coughing commonly leads to toddler vomiting. The intensity of the cough may cause nausea. Expulsion of mucus and phlegm is mainly observed. In case of a low grade infection, fever may not be very prominent. Hence, toddler vomiting with no fever may be observed. Allergens are another cause for coughing resulting in toddler vomiting. Asthma is another known cause for coughing and vomiting.  

Encouraging your toddlers to drink plenty of water is essential to prevent dehydration. Water also plays a vital role in flushing out infectious microbes from the body. Foods rich in vitamin C are highly recommended as they help to boost the immune system thus, preventing the recurrence of toddler infections. Ensuring that the area is free of dust mites and possible allergens is essential. Before going to bed, get your toddlers to inhale steam to clear up the respiratory tract. Installing humidifiers will also reduce the chances of incessant coughing. Reassuring your toddlers that all is well will go a long way in minimizing discomfort and fear. Last, but not the least, consulting a pediatrician is highly recommended so as to minimize the risks of further complications. 

Submitted by N on November 9, 2010 at 04:40

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