At eighteen months Brandon started experiencing croup at least once a month. Every time he’d get a runny nose, we knew croup wasn’t far behind. He would have it at least once a month and would be given a steroid to use in a nebulizer (a device that produces a fine spray of medication to be inhaled).
After about a year we were told, “It’s likely asthma but he’s too young to test so keep doing the nebulizer and add Flonase once a day.” We added Flonase and also took him to an allergist. All of the tests came back negative.
As he got a little older, “croup” even started to happen when he had no other symptoms, which just didn’t match up with anything the doctors were saying. They always looked at me weird when I would tell them he had no other symptoms at all. They just kept telling me to give him steroids, so we did. It never helped.
At this point, Brandon would cough at night at least two weeks out of every month. We knew something else was up, especially after we saw one specialist that told us, “Asthma is a noisy exhale, croup is a noisy inhale.” This told us that he didn’t have asthma because he was making a very odd sucking sound when he inhaled.
By age four, he had seen a total of five Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Specialists, none of which found anything wrong and diagnosed his symptoms as “croup" or "asthma.” By age five we had read every book we could find on croup, and even tried alternative therapies. At this point, we had just about given up and tried coming to terms with the fact that our poor child had to cough all night for half of his life.
He had a very scary episode at five and a half. The cough was so bad, he stopped breathing for twenty seconds. The next day we took him to the ENT who did a nose scope and saw “no evidence of inflammation, but it was probably croup.” WHAT?! My child couldn’t breathe and he was being diagnosed with croup...again!
In May of 2018, the Orlando Sentinel ran a front page article on the connection between croup and acid reflux. A friend called me and told me to read it, which I did. I ordered the books mentioned in the article—Acid Reflux in Children by Dr. Julie Wei, Dr. Jamie Koufman and Dr. Karen Zur and A Healthier Wei by Dr. Julie Wei—that night on my Kindle finishing both books in a day. We had our answer! The book described Brandon’s symptoms exactly!
We immediately changed his diet and the timing of his food. We are blessed to live only an hour away from where Dr. Wei practices, so we also made an appointment to see her the following month. Within a week of starting the diet, ALL of Brandon’s symptoms disappeared! We stopped the steroids, the Flonase, everything!
When our appointment with Dr. Wei finally came, Brandon was in perfect health. We still went to the appointment to express our gratitude to her for helping introduce the world to respiratory reflux.
Brandon is now six and doing fabulous! We are proud of be part of the movement to share Dr. Wei’s theories because no one really knows about it. We have been to a pediatric gastroenterologist and back to the pediatrician, and had to educate both doctors about it. We won’t stop until respiratory reflux is as well-known as acid reflux because we watched it change our child’s life! He is a much happier boy now and we have Dr. Wei to thank for that!
—Amy, Brandon’s mom
Learn about the “Milk and Cookie Disease” (MCD) and what you can do about it here.