Infants are not good at breathing through their mouths. So, when their tiny noses get clogged due to a cold or allergy, they have to struggle a lot to breathe properly, especially while sleeping and eating. This AptParenting article will give you information on what can cause runny nose in babies, along with some natural ways to deal with it.
Comforting a baby when he or she is having a runny nose can be quite difficult at times. Nasal congestion or stuffiness can produce a lot of discomfort, especially while sleeping and eating, which can make your child cranky and irritated. Nasal congestion or a runny nose is usually associated with an allergy or the common cold, which can cause the buildup of excess fluid or mucus in the nasal cavity. The medical term for runny nose is rhinorrhea, which is actually derived from two Greek words, ‘rhinos‘, which means ‘of the nose’ and ‘rrhea‘, which means ‘discharge or flow’.
On an average, most babies get a cold once in a month, the frequency of which usually increases during the winter days, and then reduces to some extent in summer. Babies are more susceptible to colds, as their immune system are still developing. The common cold or an upper respiratory infection usually lasts for a week or so, and then subsides on its own. A viral infection like common cold does not respond to antibiotics. It runs its own course and then resolves gradually.
Next to the common cold, allergies are the second most common cause of nasal congestion in infants. An exposure to environmental allergens like dust and pollen, as well as food allergies can trigger an episode of sneezing and a runny nose. Hay fever, a seasonal rhinitis caused by an allergic reaction to pollen, can also cause a runny or stuffy nose in a baby.
Babies who get exposed to secondhand smoke have been observed to suffer from frequent colds or upper respiratory infections. Moreover, their colds can last longer than those of other children. So, consider to quit smoking, and be sure to keep your child away from areas where he or she can get exposed to secondhand smoke, and other irritants or substances having a strong odor.
Like colds, influenza is also caused by viruses. But a cold is usually a milder infection of the respiratory tract, as compared to flu or influenza. The symptoms of both the conditions are more or less similar, but flu symptoms are usually severe than cold symptoms. Influenza is usually characterized by the excess secretion of mucus, a sore throat, headaches, muscle aches, and fever. The symptoms of influenza can last for a few days, and then improve gradually.
✧ A mild fever
✧ Watery eyes
✧ Green or yellow nasal discharge
✧ Watery discharge from the eyes
✧ Redness of the eyes
✧ Itchy eyes
✧ Fever with chills
✧ A sore throat
✧ Dry cough
✧ Loss of appetite
✧ Diarrhea and vomiting
✧ Crankiness or fussiness
You can employ a few safe home remedies to comfort your child by clearing up the congestion. Children cannot blow their noses till they become 4 years old. The following measures or home remedies can help clear up the congestion, and enable your child to breathe normally.
Consider to call your pediatrician, if:
☛ The cold persists for more than 10 days
☛ The child fails to eat or drink properly due to congestion
☛ The child is struggling to breathe
☛ The child expels green, yellow, or brown mucus
☛ The child is pulling his or her ears, and seems irritated
☛ The child is lethargic and is not wetting the diaper for more than 6 to 7 hours
Nasal congestion and stuffiness can be treated easily with the simple home remedies mentioned in this article. However, if the symptoms look alarming, and they last several days, you should take the help of your pediatrician. Persistent and untreated colds can lead to bacterial infections like pneumonia and ear infections. It is best to consult a pediatrician, if your child’s cold lasts more than 10 days, and if he or she is not able to breathe properly due to congestion.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for professional medical advice.