Respiratory Disorders Expert Forum
Reactive Airway Disease in Children
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Reactive Airway Disease in Children

My 20 Month Old son has had a chronic cough with wheezing for over 6 weeks. His pediatrician has diagnosed him with RAD. It started out as a very bad chest cold and he has been fluxuating between upper respiratory colds/infections since. He took two different antibiotics over the course of 4 weeks.
We have had a chest x-ray which showed no additional abnormalities. He is scheduled for a sweat test this week to rule out CF. However, my husband is hispanic and highly unlikely we are both carriers (Neither of us have ever been tested to our knowledge).
My son is currently on inhalation steroids and Levabuteral thru a nebulizer. He has previously also taken oral steroids in addition to the inhalation.
I am wondering if addtional testing should be done or if a specialist is in order at this time. There is no history of this RAD in either of our families. It just seems that he has been sick for too long.
Although I like and respect our pediatrician, I can't help but wonder if a second opinion is in order. I understand that RAD is common in young children. However, they have not been able to get him stablized over this long period of time.

Thanks!
Amy Caraballo
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It is obvious that the nature and duration of your son's symptoms are of concern to you. The diagnosis of RAD (Reactive Airways Disease) simply means he is wheezing and coughing because his airways are inflamed and reacting to something. There are many reasons for this to occur.
One could be a short term (weeks more than months) effect from the infection on the airways. The most common form of this is Bronchiolitis with a viral infection.
One could be a longer-term reaction following an infection of the airways. As this goes past weeks, it is most often called asthma and requires a more long-term approach.
One is that the infection is persisting and irritating the lower airways. This occurs with chronic sinus infections. It looks a lot like asthma, but can go away when the sinuses are relieved of infection and inflammation.
One is that this is asthma, which has simply been triggered by the infection or in association by the infection.
If your son's symptoms are persisting, our recommendation would be to see a specialist to determine what the cause may be and direct therapy to the cause.
Good luck.
4 Comments
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My Boy is 9 Months old and he has had RAD since he was born.It started off a dry cough and now its a flemie cough. I couldn't figure out why he was coughing so much, so I took him to see a periatrican. The Doc. told me what was wrong with him, and told me to go home and come back in the fall if it get's worse. We went back Nov 30, and he told me there is nothing we can do for it, and we'll have to live with it, the chocking on the flem (phlegm) is what scares me. I'm trying to reserch as much as I can becase the Doc Never gave me any info.
Casey
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi, I'm a first timer. My 5 1/2 y/o son has had many bouts with Croup. He's been brought to the ER quite a few times for tx. I had asked his pediatrician if his frequent Croup could be indicative of Asthma, and got very vague info.
Well, yesterday, my son was back in the ER. He had high fever, and very resricted breathing. He received medical tx. (Albuteral and Prelone). The Dr. diagnosed him with RAD. The Dr. said to finish both of the above mentioned medicines and to then go on Singulair for at least 30 days.
This is a little new to me and I'm wondering if my son should go to a specialist for a more formal eval. Yes the med's seem to work.  However, in the next couple of months, my son will experience this again. I need some guidance, please.
Signed, L
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Avatar_n_tn
I was born with RAD and haven't had any reactions to in the 15 some years i've been alive. I've had about 3 occasions now where my lungs fill with nasty snot stuff that has the consistency of rubber. I only get sick though when i smoke marijuana. I don't want to quit smoking, and am looking for some kind of drug i can take regularly that will supress my RAD. Any ideas?
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