How To Treat Nasal Congestion When Your Baby Gets A Cold

Posted by Mybabyvac on 11/23/2012 to Baby Vac

How To Treat Nasal Congestion When Your Baby Gets A Cold

Colds, which are actually caused by a few hundred strains of rhinovirus, are an unfortunate fact of life. No matter how healthy you are, at some point, you will suffer from a cold. The good news is that, although incurable, the disease is rarely ever fatal, and only a risk for the very young, elderly and persons with compromised immune systems. Under normal circumstances, the virus will make you miserable for a week to 10 days, then disappear with no lasting effects. In rare cases, a cold can stick around for up to 25 days, but still usually does no permanent harm. Of all the symptoms a cold generates, none is more aggravating than nasal congestion. Excess mucous restricts airflow in the nasal passages, making breathing very difficult, and uncomfortable.
Babies are especially susceptible to colds, because their immune systems have not developed enough to fight off the viruses that cause the illness.
As hard as it is to treat nasal congestion is for adults, in babies it can be especially problematic. Up until 6 months of age, or so, a baby will favor breathing through it's nose, even when it is blocked by excess mucous. That is not to say your baby can suffocate from a cold. Automatic fail-safes in the brain will make the baby breathe through it's mouth, but it will be very unhappy, and will continue to try to breathe through it's nose. This causes aggravation, and an urgent request for assistance in the form of loud crying, and restlessness that interferes with the baby getting the rest it needs to recover from the illness. The best way to treat nasal congestion is to just remove it. There are several ways to do this.
First off, never, under any circumstances, give your baby any antihistamines or decongestants unless specifically prescribed by your doctor for your baby. They can have side-effects that your baby is not able to deal with, yet. Instead, use a mild saline spray in the baby's nostrils to loosen up dried mucous. Then, remove excess mucous using a baby nasal aspirator. This is the easiest, safest, and best way to treat nasal congestion.
There are several types of aspirators on the market, and they all work well, so the type you use is mainly a matter of personal preference. There are simple manual aspirators consisting of a rubber bulb-syringe, manual-suction models, electric models, and one that even uses your vacuum cleaner to provide the suction (I'm not making this up, honest. It is called the Arianna Baby Vac, and it works great.  You can see it at All of them are very reasonably much so that there is no reason not to have one of these if you have babies in the house, yours or otherwise. Anyone can afford one of these.
The Bulb-Syringe type is one of the easiest to use, but the most difficult to sterilize, because they can't be taken apart. But with a little extra care, they are fine for treating nasal congestion..
•    Start by mixing a solution of chlorine bleach in water, about 1 part chlorine to 10 parts water. Or you can use alcohol (rubbing). Put the sterilizing solution in two glasses, no more than 1/2 full.. One glass is for clean solution, and the other will be for the removed mucous (chlorine kills most types of viruses on contact). Now, put on a surgical mask (to protect yourself from exposure to the virus), don a pair of thin latex gloves, and draw chlorine solution into the syringe by putting the nozzle in the glass, squeezing the bulb, then releasing pressure on the bulb. Shake it up several times, then expel the solution into the other glass. Set the syringe aside, being careful not to let the nozzle touch anything.
•    While sitting, place your baby in your lap with it's feet against your abdomen. Spread your knees just enough so that the baby's head tilts back slightly.
•    Using an eyedropper or mister, place a small amount of saline solution in each nostril and wait for 10 seconds or so, keeping the baby's head as still as possible (good luck with that......).
•    Squeeze the bulb on the syringe, and gently insert the tip of the nozzle just inside the baby's nostril.
•    Gently and slowly release pressure on the bulb, allowing the mucous to be drawn into it.
•    Expel the mucous into the dirty solution glass, and rinse the nozzle once again in the clean solution.
•    Repeat for the other nostril.
•    Discard both glasses of solution in the toilet (not the sink), and flush. Glasses should be rinsed in very hot water and soaked in fresh chlorine solution for 10 minutes before using them again.
•    Discard your mask and gloves, and wipe all surfaces that you have been in contact with with fresh chlorine solution. Rinse the syringe several times in fresh chlorine solution before storing.

For other types of aspirators, follow the directions for using them to treat nasal congestion. Most of them are much easier to use, and more sanitary than the syringe type. Try not to aspirate your baby's nose more than 3 or 4 times a day, as it can irritate tender nasal tissues.
With proper care, aspirators can be a valuable tool to treat nasal congestion in babies.  

Nothing in this article is to be taken as medical advice of any kind. It is for informational purposes only. If you feel your child has a health issue, seek the advice of a licensed physician.



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