The symptoms of nasal congestion not only experienced by adults. Babies or even children may experience nasal congestion that makes them having difficulty in breathing normally as well.
Nasal discharge of mucus often accompanies the nasal congestion; hence, some parents believe that congestion occurs due to the thick mucus inside nasal cavity, but this is not entirely true.
Baby nasal congestion occurs due to the inflammation of the blood vessels in the nasal cavity, leading to the membranes lining the nose become swollen.
The air we breathe contains lots of impurities. Our nose along with the immune system work as a filter for these impurities. Anything that goes through the nose filtered by our immune system, which means that when it is not supposed to be in the body, the immune system releases the body chemical called histamine.
Histamine encourages the body to send more blood toward the nose so that the tissue inside the nose become swollen and gets clogged. The membranes lining the nasal cavity produce excessive mucus due to swelling. This mucus is used to ‘flush out’ whatever the body wants to remove.
In reality, nasal congestion is a symptom and not a condition; therefore, it is not a serious thing for the short term. However, the conditions that cause the nasal congestion may cause other serious problems.
Babies are mostly known as ‘obligatory nose breathers’ when their nose get clogged, they unable to breathe through their mouth instead of the nose. Unfortunately, this symptom sometimes affects the baby’s ability feed properly and may cause more distress to the baby.
Several Causes of Baby Stuffy Nose
There are a few causes that trigger the emergence of baby stuffy nose, including.
♦ Dry air.
♦ Irritants such as dust, cigarette smoke, or perfumes.
♦ Viral illnesses (such as a cold).
How to Relieve Baby Stuffy Nose
You may use some of the following aids for baby nasal congestion quick relief, if your baby keep having difficulty to breathe, you should consult your doctor to find out any condition that may cause a stuffy nose.
Infant Nasal Aspirator or Bulb
Infants may have difficulty to blow their nose when it gets clogged. An infant nasal bulb or aspirator could help to remove some of the mucus inside the nasal cavity to relieve nasal congestion.
Using infant nasal bulb is relatively easy, but you need to be careful to avoid further nasal issues.
Ingredients you need: (i) Infant nasal bulb.
- If the mucus is thick and sticky, loosen it up by placing 2-3 drops of saline into each nostril prior using the nasal aspirator.
- Now lay your baby down on his back. Take all of the air out of the bulb by squeezing it, then gently insert the bulb’s tip into the nostril while squeezing, do not go too deep in order not to damage the inside of the nasal cavity.
- Release the pressure from the bulb slowly and let the air flows back into the bulb while drawing the mucus out of the nose.
- Dispose the mucus from the bulb, and repeat this process for the other nostril, but wash out the bulb with water before and after the suction.
Note » Removing the thick mucus provides temporary benefits, as the inflammation of the blood vessels subsided, the congestion disappears; therefore, you should cure the swollen blood vessels with proper medication.
Saline Nose Drops
You can also break up the mucus in the nasal cavity of infants using salt water (saline) solution. A saline solution that contains 0.9% sodium chloride in water is available in drops or sprays which you can buy easily at the drug stores.
Ingredients you need: (i) Saline solution – sufficiently. (ii) Tissue or cotton – sufficiently.
- Lay your child down and place a folded towel or small blanket under their shoulder and slightly tilt his head backwards to let the drops easily to go in.
- Simply put 2 or 3 saline solution drops into each nostril and leave for about 30 to 60 seconds to loosen up the mucus in the nasal cavity.
- Help your child to sit down afterwards, as it contribute to draining their nose properly. Your baby may sneeze, but it is okay, allow the mucus and salt water out of the nasal cavities and wipe it away gently using a tissue or cotton.
- Rolls the tissue or cotton on the outer side of the nostrils to draw the mucus out, avoid to insert the cotton into the nostril.
- Saline drops or sprays can help to wash out your child’s nostrils and relieve the congestion due to ‘irritants’.
- It is use as a moisturizer nasal cavities due to the dry air. However, they only have a small effect if the congestion due to other causes.
Note » They contain no medication, and can be used freely at your discretion, but don’t forget to warm up to room temperature prior using it.
Make Your Child to Blow His Nose
You can ask your child to blow his nose regularly to remove the mucus inside his nose; however you can do this method if your child is not a newborn baby and is old enough to understand what you tell him.
Using a Humidifier
If your baby suffers from a dry nose, he may also be suffering from nasal congestion. If you notice this situation, you may use a humidifier to encourage the release of mucus inside the nasal cavity of your baby.
Ingredients you need: (i) Humidifier. (ii) Bathroom shower – optional.
- Run and fill in the humidifier every day and allow your child to inhale the steam for a few minutes from the humidifier before going to bed.
- If you do not have a humidifier, you can bring your baby into the bathroom and use the steam from the bathroom shower.
Note » Do not forget to clean up the humidifier correctly to avoid the germs and mould which are circulated through the air and breathe in by the baby.
Give The Baby More Fluids to Stay Hydrated
Giving more fluids may keep the baby to stay hydrated, for the newborn baby and has the minimum age of 3 months, the nasal congestion can be relieved by giving the apple juice or water. You can give a hearty soup, broth, and herbal tea in addition to the juice and this applies to your older child.
Raise the Mattress in Your Baby’s Crib to Make Him Breathe Easily
You can ease your baby to breathe, although his/her nose is blocked by raising the mattress. Simply put a towel under the head of the mattress so that his head is slightly elevated. It also helps to relieve baby stuffy nose at night.
Onion Slice to Relieve Baby Stuffy Nose
Your baby can not consume the onions or onion juice directly. However, you can slice the onions and put them in your baby’s room to help break up a stuffy nose of your baby. Prepare a plate, then slice the onions and put it on the plate. Place the plate next to your baby’s bed.
Tips for Medication and When to See a Doctor
There are many causes of a stuffy nose on the baby that you are familiar with, and to treat various kind of symptoms you need to use a different type of appropriate treatment as well.
Every treatment works in a different way. Before using certain medications, make sure you understand the causes and purpose of the treatments for your baby.
Consult your doctor if you see following symptoms on your baby:
- Having a fever.
- Having a rash.
- Having difficulty in breathing or quick breathing.
- Your baby refuses to drink or eat or having difficulty in feeding.
- Having nasal congestion for more than two weeks.
- Having any swelling on the face, especially eyes, side of the nose or cheek.
- Having symptoms of allergy.
- Having signs of flu or a cold, even running a wheeze or cough or wheeze.
- Your baby seems to be in pain.
The Important Points When Dealing with Baby Stuffy Nose
- Nasal congestion occurs when there is a swelling inside the nasal tissue.
- Nasal congestion usually disappears naturally within a week.
- You can use saline solution to relieve nasal congestion for your baby.
- See your doctor immediately if the baby having difficulty in breathing after the clearance of the mucus.
It is wise for you to see a doctor if you are concerned about your baby stuffy nose or else you just don’t know what to do with your children.