Stuffed-up or runny nose

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?

Information essentielle, à retenir

It’s best to use a different dropper or spray bottle for each child.

In order to clear your child’s nose, it is sometimes useful to thin out the 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 that is suitable for your child’s age. Use them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Always use saline solution (salt water) and avoid medicated nasal drops and sprays (such as decongestants) (see Saline solution (salt water) recipe to treat stuffy noses). Ask your pharmacist for advice.

If necessary, you can also use a nasal suction device. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Bulb syringes are less effective and may injure your child’s nose.

If the skin on your child’s nose is irritated, you can apply Vaseline or unscented moisturizing cream.

You can ask your healthcare provider if there are other methods of clearing the nose that may suit your child (see Nasal irrigation).

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.

If you think he might have COVID-19, and you have questions, contact Info-Santé (8-1-1).