My 10-year-old daughter has had the most annoying cough for the last three years. It started out that she would just have it in the winter months when the furnace was on. We assumed it was allergies. The next year it would come sooner and last longer so we took her in for allergy testing and breathing tests. There were no allergies and her breathing tests were fine. No diagnosis. Last year I began to think that her constant cough/throat clearing was OCD related or a habit so I would tell her to stop everytime she did it trying to break the habit. Then it became a bit more of a congested cough and would sometimes lead to a little choking. I decided it was time to get to the bottom of it. I took her to a pediatric pulmonologist. They did a chest x-ray and ran many breathing tests on her. The doctor had all of her previous records and diagnosed her 3-year chronic cough as "asthma." She put her on steroids for 5 days to immediately stop the cough and then an inhaler everyday and another one as needed for an attack. It was over a month later and there was no change. I made an appointment with another pediatric pulminolgist from another children's hospital to get a second opinion. She looked at all of the records from the first pulmonologist and did some of her own breathing tests. She asked us about stomach aches, which my daughter has also been prone to with no major pain or reason for them. She said that she does not believe asthma is the proper diagnosis at all. Chronic cough, chronic throat clearing, and chronic stomach aches can be associated with reflux. She stopped all "asthma" treatment and put her on prevacid, 1 pill a day before dinner. Within two weeks, all of her previous symptoms were gone!!!!! Amazing doctor, thank God that she took the time to actually get to the bottom of this. We just went back for our 2 month check-up and she thinks in four months we can stop the previcid completely.
If you are ever in doubt, spend the extra money, find another doctor and get another opinion. Most insurance pays for this. Reflux is not serious but can be if left undiagnosed/untreated for years. We no longer have to worry that our daughter might have an asthma attack because she doesn't even have asthma.
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