How to Treat Your Baby's Stuffed Nose
Colds are a fact of life, especially for babies. In fact, they depend on them to help their immune systems develop. There is no cure for the common cold, even in the 21st Century, but luckily, colds are rarely life-threatening. They make your baby feel miserable for a week to ten days, then disappear with no lasting effects, other than a stronger immune system. As a rule, only the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems ever have to worry about any serious problems from a cold.
Since there is no cure, all you can do is to treat the symptoms when your baby suffers from a nose infection. In fact, a nose infection is so common with a cold that the group of over 200 viruses that cause colds are called rhinoviruses (from the Greek word "rhino" meaning "nose"). The virus enters the upper respiratory system and incubates for up to 16 days, at which time no symptoms may be present, even though the virus is still transmittable. When symptoms develop, they include fever, coughs, sneezing, and a nose infection, causing an excess build-up of mucous. This can make it more difficult for your baby to breathe, because babies have a bias towards breathing through their nose.
You should resist the urge to give your baby antihistamines or decongestants, unless specifically prescribed by your baby's physician. They can have side-effects your baby cannot seal with, yet. The best way to handle your baby's nose infection is to use a baby aspirator, and clear the congestion. They are effective, inexpensive, and easy to use.
The most basic type is the bulb-syringe. It is simply a rubber bulb with a short nozzle. It clears your baby's nose infection by a vacuum caused by air displacement. You just squeeze the bulb, hold pressure on it, then gently insert the end of the nozzle in the baby's nostril. When you release pressure on the bulb, it creates a vacuum that sucks the excess mucous from your baby's nostril into the bulb. Then, you just expel the contents, and repeat the process for the other nostril. These have one drawback; since they cannot be disassembled for cleaning, and contain no biological filters, they are difficult to sterilize.
The next step up is a manually-operated aspirator. These consist of a nozzle that goes in your baby's nostril, and a tube made from surgical tubing that runs to a reservoir that collects the mucous. At the back of the reservoir is a biological filter that keeps any contaminated material from your baby's nose infection from leaving the reservoir, including virus spores. Another tube runs to a mouthpiece. The vacuum is created when you put the mouthpiece in your mouth and apply suction. The filter protects against contamination both ways. Simple, but effective.
The next type operates similarly, but instead of you having to supply manual suction to clear the nose infection, it uses a small, battery-powered compressor to create the vacuum. Many people are more comfortable with this type, and they are easy to take apart for cleaning and sterilization.
The last type is really high-tech. It is the Arianna Baby Vac Aspirator. This device uses the efficiency of your vacuum cleaner to supply the suction, and clear your baby's nose infection. It reduces the vacuum to the most efficient safe level, and has gotten very good endorsements from many pediatricians.
Whatever type you decide to use to treat your baby's nose infection, all units should be well cleaned and sterilized before, and after each use. Also, you should irrigate your baby's nasal passages with a saline solution before using the aspirator. This loosens and softens dried mucous, which can hurt when it comes loose, and can damage tender sinus tissue.
Using a baby aspirator is one of the best ways to manage your baby's nose infection, when used properly.
For informational purposes only. Nothing in this article is intended as medical advice of any kind. If you think your baby may have a health issue, seek the advice of a licensed physician.