A congested nose in an infant can be quite troublesome and needs to be treated at the earliest. However, there is no cause for alarm as a stuffy nose can be relieved quickly, that too using household ingredients.
Before you begin trying to relieve your baby’s congested nose, keep in mind that babies are too young for over-the-counter drugs. So, if your baby is less than three months old, you should avoid using drugs or medicines usually handed over-the-counter for colds, the same goes for various liquid decongestants, which may be effective in adults but should not be used for babies, if there are other options available.
Let’s take a look at some home remedies, which can be helpful in treating your baby’s blocked nose.
Steam breathing or vapor bath is one of the best ways to relieve a blocked nose in infants. Exposure to steam can help loosen the mucus blocking the baby’s nose. The mucus then drips out on its own, clearing the nasal passage and making it easier for your baby to breathe. It is not necessary to bathe the child, just sitting with him near a steaming tub can work as a humidifier, clearing his nose. You can also prepare some steam, by boiling water in a vessel and holding it carefully near the baby’s nose, whatever you feel is safe for your baby.
Saline water is another popular stuffy nose remedy for toddlers. You can buy a ready-made saline water kit or prepare one at home. To make homemade saline water, all you need to do is prepare a mixture of one cup warm water and a half teaspoon of table salt. With the help of a dropper put a few drops of the saline solution in the baby’s nostrils (one drop for each nostril is enough in most cases). Then massage the baby’s nose gently on both sides. Before repeating the procedure, ensure that you sterilize the dropper tip to ensure hygiene, as the dropper may have become contaminated.
There are two types of suction devices, or nasal aspirators, available on the market that can help you get rid of the mucus in your baby’s nose. Let’s take a look at them:
Rubber bulb syringes
A one-piece rubber bulb type suction device is often supplied with a new-born kit at the hospital, but you can also purchase one at any local pharmacy. The device has a rubber bulb which ends in a tube like syringe which can be gently inserted into your baby’s nose. Squeeze the bulb to push all the air out and create a vacuum, then insert the tube-end into the baby’s nostril. Once inside the nose, let air rush back into the bulb, it will pull some mucus with it depositing it in the bulb, which you can then squeeze out onto a tissue. You can also put a drop of saline water in each nostril a few minutes before you begin, so as to loosen the mucus inside. Do not use the device more than twice on each nostril, it may cause inflammation of the nasal cavity and lead to further discomfort.
The latest nasal aspirators work on the same principle of suction, however, they have a slightly different design. The device consists of a bulb with a nasal syringe, but it also has a pipe attached to the bulb which is used to suck out the mucus. Once inserted into your baby’s nostril, you can gently pull on the pipe to suck the mucus out, which deposits in the bulb. There is a filter installed within the bulb to prevent contamination. Once you are done and your baby is breathing better, the device can be dismantled and cleaned. A few notable brands of aspirators are hydraSense and NoseFrida.
- Colds tend to reduce appetite and induce long spells of irritability and crying, leading to dehydration. One should make sure the baby gets its requisite amount of fluids, in the form of water and juices.
- Your baby may panic as it finds breathing difficult in such situations, gentle, tender caresses will help your baby relax.
- Always cover your baby with warm blankets when it is struggling with a stuffy nose.
- Nose congestion in babies can occur due to many reasons like common cold or even allergies. An adult may suffer from 2 to 5 instances of cold in a year, however, this may average to 7 per year in case of babies.
- If your baby is suffering from a runny nose and a cold you may want to look out for some symptoms which need immediate medical attention. Take your baby to the doctor if its temperature shoots beyond 102° F (38.9° C), has red eyes, has been coughing for over a week, or if there are blood streaks in the sputum.
- Bishop’s Weed (Trachyspermum ammi) has proven effective in treating nasal blockages, especially in children. The seeds can be wrapped in a fine cloth or handkerchief and inhaled directly for immediate relief.
- Vaporizers or humidifiers are also readily available in the market which can be used to increase the moisture in the babies room and keep the nasal passages soft. One must be careful to keep the device away from the baby so as to prevent excessive dampness.
The solutions listed above are applicable for children of all ages, and not just babies. Dealing with a stuffy baby nose can be quite a daunting task for both you and your baby, yet, there are various solutions at hand which go a long way in relieving the discomfort it may be experiencing. Try these home remedies as a quick-fix for that troublesome nose, but never hesitate to visit your physician if you feel there is cause for concern.