At what point should I bring him to the ER?



My child is 19 months and he's been really healthy for about a year....He was in the hospital off and on for the first 3 months... So it's still kinda foreign to me at what point they need to be seen... He's coughing a lot and I've given him albuterol but that didn't seem to do much for him.... He's got a runny nose... But his coughing is what has me the most worried. It's only been going on today... At what point do I bring him to the hospital?


Super Moderator
I would NOT take him to the ER but rather call the CF clinic and indicate you need a response today. Typically, they have you up treatements to 4x a day and if he has cultured anything they might have you put him on an antibiotic. But I don't know what "a lot" is and that is something the CF doctor can assess. Most likely though if you go to the ER you'll just have some doctor who doesn't know what he's doing calling the CF doctor for a consult and sending you home with the exact same outcome 4 hours (and many germ exposures) later. The CF doctors (especially when the kids are younger), expect moms to call with these questions. And if you don't get an answer before 5, I'd call back after b/c on call doctors must return calls within a certain # of minutes and they will likely call his normal CF doctor if they aren't up on it.


Staff member
Ditto on calling the CF clinic. Also, you mention you give him albuterol. I'm assuming you're just nebbing him and not doing any form of chest physiotherapy (CPT)??? Our doctor always mentions increasing cpt treatments to "beat the cough out of him"


Super Moderator
Absolutely agree with Bill, but that is also why all they will likely do is call the CF doctor who will tell you to up treatments and maybe start on an antibiotic, absent something they can hear lung wise as a serious problem, which if the cough just started, is probably unlikely. And you can also try to get into the CF clinic on Monday if the cough is continuing and his normal (or a) CF doctor can see.

That's what we did with DS when we called CF Clinic and they said to take DS to emergency room for potential blockage. They had said closet one or the one at their hospital--we opted for the CF hospital which is good b/c the ER doctor was ready to send us home until they called the CF clinic and the CF doctor said "no," Xray and then admit.


New member
Both times I have gone to the ER, the doctors didn't do much except call the ER at my clinic and in the case of the first trip, give me some pain meds to help me last until I could get to the clinic. They don't have the CF experience and training to make a diagnosis and treatment. I agree with everyone saying call your CF doc to see what is said. Even over the phone, they can usually make a better call than an ER dic could.

Hope your little one feels better soon!


New member
Our clinic has an on call Pulmologist to call with questions. I would take my child to the ER if I thought that they were having breathing difficulties, or if they cannot stop coughing at all severely and cannot catch thier breath after being treated with meds or if there is a change in their behavior like being lethargic or extreme weekness or if they have bluish lips or fingernails this would be cause to call 911.


New member
As the others said, call your CF clinic. Up your therapies to 4 times a day (but call your clinic first). What you can do without asking your doctor though is CPT 4 times a day. I know my mom would up the number of CPTs as soon as I was starting to cough a bit more than usual, as well as as soon as I showed signs of a cold.