A runny nose can cause a baby to get all cranky and irritated, leaving you with nights of sleeplessness and a definite headache. This is usually a sign of your child being affected by cold, flu, or allergies. In fact, due to their weak, immature immune systems, an average toddler is affected by cold and flu at least eight times a year. Well, that just makes quite a number of drippy noses and cranky kids. Before we can ascertain the appropriate remedy, let us look at the probable causes of runny nose.
Runny Nose Causes
While common cold and flu appear to be the most common causes of a runny nose, do not rule out the allergies that may cause congestion, cough, and runny nose in toddlers. Here is how you can effectively distinguish if your child is suffering from cold, flu, or allergies.
A toddler suffering from cold will suffer from chest congestion, cough, sneezing, low-grade fever, and runny nose with clear mucus. As the weeks pass by, the mucus may thicken and become yellowish green.
Fever and other flu symptoms in babies usually have an abrupt onset. This is accompanied by severe cold symptoms such as cough and runny nose. The fever and cold may be accompanied by diarrhea, poor appetite, and vomiting.
Allergies in kids are often accompanied by itchy skin, repeated sneezing, coughing, itchy and watery eyes, chest congestion, bluish circles under the eyes, and mucus that runs clear. As opposed to colds, toddlers suffering from allergies will suffer from runny nose, but there will be no thickening of the mucus. Allergies to food or other environmental irritants, such as pollen and animal dander, are some of the possible causes of runny nose in a child.
In addition to these causes, objects lodged in the nose might also cause mucus discharge. This smelly discharge usually occurs from one side of the nose. In such a case, please consult a doctor as soon as possible to find an effective method of removal of the obstructed object.
Runny Nose Remedies for Babies
Most of the runny nose remedies for adults such as cold and flu medications are not recommended for babies. Toddlers suffering from allergies may be prescribed antihistamines specially formulated for children. However, for those suffering from runny nose as a result of cold and flu, not much can be done as the over-the-counter prescription medication may cause side effects. In such a case, certain non-medicinal remedies at home can help resolve the problem. Here are a few of them.
To loosen up the mucus, you can squeeze some saline water into the baby's nostrils. Tip the child's head back while doing so. Then using a rubber bulb syringe, suction out the mucus a few minutes later. Saline water is available at most chemists or you can try preparing one at home. For a homemade saline water solution, mix one part salt to three parts of water. To reduce the irritation on the baby's nose, apply some petroleum jelly or ointment.
Dry air can irritate the soft parts of a baby's nose. Use a cool mist vaporizer or a humidifier to moisten the air and alleviate the runny nose problem. Sitting in a steamy room for about ten minutes can accomplish the same thing. The vapor bath loosens the phlegm and reduces the runny nose problem.
Babies who are suffer from runny nose, tend to breathe from the mouth. This causes dehydration in toddlers. Staying well hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids helps beat the cold.
Suction the secretions
Excess mucus and secretions can interfere with the breathing. One of the effective ways of reducing this is by using a nasal aspirator. This is basically a suction device to remove the mucus. The one-piece rubber bulbs are easily available at all major pharmacies.
Elevating the toddler's head
Propping up the child's head using pillows or a couple of towels can help the mucus to drain away better, prevent seepage into the throat, and reduce the coughing fits. Ensuring that the child's prop is at least 18 inches high ensures that gravity runs its course and drains the mucus out.
These remedies can help soothe the baby's symptoms and resolve the problem as soon as possible. If the runny nose remains a persistent problem and is accompanied by high fever, then it is best to consult a pediatrician.