Nasal Congestion in babies
Unfortunately our babies are born in this world to breathe an air that is highly polluted. Since babies have low immunity till at least they are 5 years old and are through with their vaccinations, they are prone to catching cold very easily. A slight change in weather or place and they fall sick with congested nose, teary eyes, aggravated allergic rhinitis or itchy eyes. With increasing pollution levels, this is not going to reduce any soon. The need of the hour is get aware of what causes nasal congestion in babies and how we can deal with it.
What is Nasal Congestion?
Nasal Congestion also known as stuffy nose or blocked nose is a simple yet very discomforting condition which makes babies restless and cranky. It is generally a short term condition but can go for a prolonged period of time if accompanied with other symptoms or depending on underlying infections.
What causes Nasal Congestion?
Following are few causes of nasal congestion in babies:
This is an infection of throat or upper respiratory tract that can be caused due to a reason as simple as a change in weather or cold virus.
This is the reaction of baby’s immune system to a foreign substances like pollen, food ingredients etc. The immune system refuses to tolerate foreign substances and results in symptoms of cold like runny nose and teary eyes.
Lack of humidity or moisture in air can make the air dry resulting in dry nasal passages and throat. This results in nasal congestion and itchy throat.
This is the inflammation of sinusitis that leads to thick mucousy discharge and causes nasal congestion.
Nasal structural abnormalities like deviated nasa septum, large inferior turbinate, polyps in the nose etc. can cause nasal congestion.
Enlarged adenoid glands or Tonsils:
Nasal sinuses can lead to tonsils and this can also get into a recurring mode of occurrence resulting in nasal congestion.
Can nasal congestion lead to other health issues?
Nasal congestion is often a cause for other related symptoms like
- Headaches and sore eyes
- Difficulty in breathing
- Ear Pain
- Loss of appetite
If nasal congestion is a symptom of an underlying infection that goes unattended then it can result in illnesses like pneumonia and serious respiratory tract infections.
How to soothe your baby’s nasal congestion?
Simple nasal congestion that is caused because of the reasons listed above, can be handled with some quick remedies like:
- 1-2 drops of eucalyptus oil on pillow covers or on baby’s dress can help baby breathe better
- Liquid saline drops or saline solutions are recommended for babies. It helps in opening up the clogged nasal passage and helps breathe more easily
- Cough and cold medicines are prescribed by doctors in worse scenarios
- Using nasal aspirator or a bulb syringe helps in de clogging the mucous from baby’s nose
- Using a humidifier or cool mist in the room can keep the air humid and avoid dryness.
- Older babies can be given steam by placing them on your lap
- Warm water bath or a steam bath also helps loosen up congestion
- Putting the baby to sleep in a slightly inclined position also helps breathe better
- Holding baby flat will increase the discomfort. Holding baby upright helps.
- Avoiding known allergens help in preventing cold
- Give plenty of fluids and liquids to older babies (more than 6 months of age). Babies who breastfeed should be given small feeds as congested nose makes it difficult for them to suck.
Baby’s nasal congestion should never be ignored. It is always advisable to consult a pediatrician to rule out any major underlying issues especially if the occurrence is frequent. Many of these cold symptoms are because of ear infections which require antibiotics as treatment. Children younger than 3 years have lower immunity and are more prone to infections. By the time children are 5 years of age they have better immunity and they fare well healthwise. Till then ensure they eat healthy and are on schedule for their vaccines.
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Also read: The Best Home Remedies For Cold And Cough