Does Your Baby have a Blocked Nose?
Seeing your child struggle to breathe due to a blocked nose is a painful experience. In infants, this may be caused by a deviated septum, which can be inflicted during natural childbirth. If your child was delivered via C-Section, the fluids and mucus that would normally be excreted when your child passed through the birth canal can cause congestion. Young children are also more susceptible to sinus infections, colds, and swelling of the adenoids, all of which can cause nasal blockage.
CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR
A trip to the doctor is always in order to rule out any infection or serious condition that may be causing your baby's blocked nose. If your child has an infection, the doctor will administer antibiotics to reduce the irritation. If your child has a cold, you will have to use home remedies if you are in the US, due to the FDA's recent ban on infant and children's over the counter cold medication. In some instances, your child may need surgery to correct chronically swollen adenoids or a deviated septum. If you are waiting for your child's medication to kick in, or if there is no major medical cause for his or her blocked nose, there are still some home remedies you can use to relieve their symptoms.
How You Can Treat Baby's Blocked Nose
The use of a humidifier in the nursery can help relieve your child's blocked nose by moisturizing and filtering the air. This higher quality air will help soothe the irritated nasal cavity and allow your child to breathe more easily. You can also use the steam inhalation method with a child, just run the shower or tub in a closed bathroom to fill it with steam, and sit in there with the child for 20-30 minutes. Just be careful not to heat the room to an uncomfortable temperature.
The regular use of a bulb syringe is probably the best way to relieve your child's blocked nose. This device helps to clear the child's nose of mucus and allows them to breathe more easily. Before using the syringe, drop saline drops into the child's nose to make removal of the mucus easier. After this, gently insert the syringe into each of the child's nostrils while the bulb is squeezed shut and slowly release. Hold the other nostril closed while cleaning. Your child may resist and be unhappy, but this is the best way to clear their nasal passage. It is particularly important to do this before the child goes to sleep for the night.
Some nasal blockage is normal and is to be expected in infants and toddlers. If your child has trouble eating or sleeping, or has a fever or any other symptoms, be sure to take him/her to be examined by a doctor. If they are not too young, they can be given a prescription for a decongestant that the doctor can administer in the office to insure safety. If they are still under one year old, there is typically no medication they can receive for a blocked nose unless it is caused by an infection or another condition, in which case use of home remedies is important.