There are various reasons why a child may have a stuffed‑up or runny nose: crying, environmental factors (e.g., heat, humidity, dust, animal hair, tobacco smoke), or colds or other infections.
What to do?
Clearing the nose
It’s best to use a different syringe, dropper or spray bottle for each child.
If your child has a stuffed-up or runny nose, you can clear it using nasal irrigation (see Nasal irrigation). You can also use a nasal suction device according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Bulb syringes are less effective and may injure your child’s nose. It may be helpful to thin out your child’s secretions before clearing his nose.
Thinning out nasal secretions
Here are two methods:
- Take a long shower or bath with your child or let him play in the bath. The water can help thin out the secretions.
- Use saline solution (salt water) with a dropper or nasal spray bottle. If you are using a nasal spray bottle, choose one that’s suitable for your child’s age and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Always use saline solution (salt water) and avoid medicated nasal drops and sprays (such as decongestants). Ask your pharmacist for advice.
If the skin on your child’s nose is irritated, you can apply Vaseline or unscented moisturizing cream.
When to see a doctor
Call your doctor if your child has a runny nose for more than 10 days and his secretions are yellow or green or you are concerned about his health.