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Saline Nasal Rinse: An Easy Remedy for Night Time Coughing

saline nasal spray for night time coughing

It’s been over a year now that my son, Tristan’s coughing wakes him up at night. The allergist swears it’s asthma, and while he wheezes on occasion, mostly when he’s sick, I’m not convinced his habitual coughing in bed is his asthma flaring up. It got so bad at one point that anytime he laughed he’d have long, intense coughing fits. Again, our allergist said it was severe asthma and that given my son’s condition, he’d be on inhaled steroids daily for the rest of his life.

We’ve been using Flovent on and off for prevention, as well as Ventolin as needed, and both seemed to really help. But I was frustrated because Flovent seems to trigger more aggressive behavior in my five-year old. So, I called the allergist, whose nurse told me it is very rare to see aggression on an inhaled steroid. Usually it’s just the child doesn’t feel well and is aggressive from the breathing difficulties. I could see that. I’m much less patience and on edge when I’m sick or not feeling well. Made sense. I was talking with the nurse for some time and she asked if my son was a good nose blower. To which I laughed. My son HATES to blow his nose and when he reluctantly does so, it’s a weak, pathetic attempt. My daughter on the other hand, she could blow the trumpet with her nose blowing – she’s a pro!

saline nasal spray for night time coughingAfter hearing about my son’s sensitive nose, the nurse suggested a saline nasal spray to remove the leaky drainage and congestion in the nose, perhaps it would help the coughing. My ears perked up because honestly, just one week before, I was reading  Asthma, Allergies Children: A Parents Guide (a must read for any parent of an atopic child) on the plane ride home from the Food Allergy Blogger’s Conference and guess what triggered my interest at that time too? Yup, you guessed it, using saline nasal sprays for asthmatics with night-time coughing! Turns out some of Tristan’s coughing was likely due to inflammation in the lungs caused by post nasal drip! What? Why wasn’t I told this before? Or maybe it was the first time I really grasped it. Goodness knows my brain is always so full after leaving any medical appointment. I know I’m guilty of not taking it all in sometimes too. It’s possible I was told this before, but regardless, it was news to me when reading about it and then when the nurse reinforced this idea.

I hung up the phone feeling hopeful and went to the store to buy a bottle of saline nasal spray. Wow, I thought my son hated blowing his nose, but trying to spray the saline into his nose, honestly, close to impossible. We worked with bribery (I know, the shame!) and sheer force to hold him down for several mornings and nights, each one getting easier, until soon it was barely a fight. And miracles of miracles, the night-time coughing stopped! Completely stopped. He’d have a random cough here and there during the day and sometimes at night, but the wet active coughing was gone!  We completely stopped using Ventolin and Flovent as there was absolutely no need for it!

Since we’re doing homeopathy for my son’s asthma/allergies/eczema as well as the GAPS diet (posts coming soon) for the same reasons, to be sure it was the saline nasal spray doing the trick and not the homeopathy or dietary changes, we stopped the spray alone for one full day – that night he coughed a lot. It was obvious, the saline nasal spray has really helped my son. Have you seen the same for your child?

9 Comments Post a comment
  1. lily #

    Hi my son had autism. He is nonverbal. He has battled a severe chronic cough for several months. Doctors say its asthma and allergies. His flovent and rescue inhaler help somewhat but he still struggles with the bad cough. He does not understand how to blow his nose. I am desperate to help him. Please help.

    Like

    June 2, 2014
    • Hi Lily – I’m so sorry to hear this! Have you tried a nasal wash/rinse to see if it helps at all? The other thing I’d recommend you consider is looking at his diet, which can greatly affect asthma and autism. Have you considered an elimination diet or something more extreme and actually created specifically for autism like GAPS? Jennifer

      Like

      June 5, 2014
      • lily #

        Follow up. The nelimed rinses seem to be helping with daily Zyrtec. He was on Zyrtec prior to rinses but still had the cough. I stopped Zyrtec and the cough came back. I don’t understand the cause of the cough or why it comes back immediately if I stop either the rinses or the Zyrtec. I reaaly don’t like to have him on the Zyrtec but don’t know what else to try.

        Like

        June 13, 2014
      • Lily, I completely understand. Tristan is on Flovent right now with the rinses. Thankfully he doesn’t need the Flovent all the time, but during peak allergen season he sure does. For your son, do you know what his allergens are? Which pollens or is it year round? One thing that helps Tristan and I is this homeopathic allergy spray. Also, do you have an air purifier and prop him up in his bed to sleep with his head elevated? These things help as well. Jennifer

        Like

        June 17, 2014
  2. Hello Ladies. I highly recommend the nasal rince company I listed above. I have tried the mist bottle and it was OK but I found not much actually got in the nose and my son hesitated to use it. Then we tried the rinses where you have to tilt your head to the side (neti pot style) and he was not getting any in his nose. The Pediatric Neil med container works really well. It has the flow of a Neti pot but the bottle is built like a siphon. You gently squeeze (my son can do it no problem) the bottle holding it directly under your nose up to the nostril and it gently creates a straight up stream. I have taught him to gently snuff as he does this and voila the rinse flows in and actually reaches the sinus’s. The bottle comes with little packets of the salt mixture that you mix with water. It is the best system I have found.

    NeilMed Sinus Rinse http://www.neilmed.com/can/sinusrinse_pediatric.php

    Like

    December 9, 2013
  3. Sabra #

    My son has asthma that flares up with colds. He does cough while falling to sleep. The cough, though, is not an asthma cough but more of a throat clearing cough because there is mucous. We have been using the nasal rinse for 3 months and have found it helps with night time snottiness and throat clearing and he says it does make him feel better. We have tried a couple but are favouring the NeilMed Sinus Rinse http://www.neilmed.com/can/sinusrinse_pediatric.php We like the easy-use bottle and the rinse has no funny taste and does not sting. We have found that some brands have a strange taste that is unpleasant. I should also add we employ many things (diet, air purifier, supplements) to help him and this is just part of the plan.

    Like

    December 3, 2013
    • We’re hoping to move to more of a net I pot when we run out of the spay. Much more Eco friendly.

      Like

      December 6, 2013
  4. As you know, my daughter has been on Qvar for a year and it is working well, but I don’t have plans for her to have a lifelong need for inhaled corticosteroids, so we’re also working on getting the nasal saline going. I, too, was amazed by that passage in Asthma Allergies Children, and as I recall, it can also help keep the nasal passages from being damaged, which can sometimes happen with long-term nasal steroid use. I just can’t figure out the proper technique! Any tips? I have this spray bottle, but it seems to shoot out fizzy bubbles and I’m not sure that’s what should be happening. Any tips would be appreciated. :)

    Like

    December 3, 2013
    • Hey Selena! First of all, is your daughter ok with the spray version? My son was totally freaked out by it, but he came up with the idea of blind folding him and then doing it. He doesn’t even flinch. I think for him, it was more the anticipation and seeing the spray getting close to his nose. It works great! Now, you definitely want more of a jet spray, not a foamy mess. Is it brand new? If so, I’d take it back and get another brand. Even better than the sprays are the netti pot, if your daughter will go for it. It’s cheaper and can be reused time and time again. You can get a saline water solution from the pharmacy to refill it with. I hope that helps!

      Like

      December 9, 2013

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