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Isn’t it heartbreaking to see your child suffering? When toddlers get a runny nose or have sleepless nights, it makes you feel helpless. When the child is under 3 years of age, you are unsure what is causing the stuffy or runny nose. There are a number of causes for stuffiness and running nose. Firstly, you need to understand that the toddlers are not adults. They are starting to build the immunity to fight diseases/viruses.
Your mind thinks of one question – What can you give a toddler for a runny nose?
It is risky to offer cold medicines to the small child. There are limited treatments for curing the stuffiness. In such instances, you may feel helpless but there is a fix for it. Here’s a post that covers the ways to treat a toddler’s runny nose.
Understanding the Cause
Speak to the pediatrician and understand the cause for the runny nose. An expert will not jump to the treatment options before understanding the health condition.
The causes could be the following:
Allergies or Hay Fever
When the child has an allergy, you will notice symptoms such as runny nose, red eyes, congestion, sneezing, tearing, constant itching and stuffy nose.
When the allergy gets worse, the toddler might even get a sore throat. Once you start seeing the above-mentioned signs, take the child to a pediatrician immediately.
The child may be suffering from respiratory tract infection. The symptom includes running nose, sore throat, fever, cough and congestion. The child’s fever may rise up and become 102 degrees. If the fever persists for more than 2 days and the runny nose does not get better in 6-7 days, it is time to see the doctor.
The toddler depends on you for medical attention. They may not be able to convey their discomfort through words, but the actions will be loud and clear.
The weather keeps changing and the toddler is still in the ‘building immunity’ stage. If it gets too cold or the baby gets exposed to extreme weather conditions, it could lead to a runny nose.
The Safest Treatments
The safest way to treat the toddler’s runny nose is to use saline water. Use a nose drop or a spray to put the saline drops into the nose. The product is easily available in a pharmacy. You do not need a prescription to buy the nasal saline drops.
In case you are using the drops, make sure these are only two drops. Invest in a suction bulb that helps in withdrawing the mucus and saline. Simply squeeze the suction bulb before you place it inside the baby’s nose. Once you release it, the bulb pulls out the saline and mucus from the nose.
Note – Do not squeeze the bulb inside the nose. This will push the mucus further inside the nose.
You can use this procedure to clear the runny nose before bedtime or feeding the child. When the baby has a runny nose, breathing becomes difficult and they might struggle. It is important to clear the nose before the condition becomes worse. Also, sleepless nights of the toddler means extra work for you! If the baby sleeps peacefully, you can sleep without any interruptions too.
Apart from using the plain saline drops, you can try the humidifier or vaporizer. The cool mist vaporizer or humidifier works well! Make sure the mist reaches your baby’s nose. Place it at a closer distance but do not let the child touch it.
Hot steam inhalation works well, but add herbs to the solution. Also, the toddler cannot do it on their own and that’s why you would need to supervise.
Basic tips for clearing the runny nose
You can use the following tips to clear the runny nose:
- Make sure the child is drinking enough water. Keep them hydrated and do not give sweet drinks.
- Placing a pillow/pillows under the mattress can help. With the elevated position, the mucous may drain out of the nose. If the baby sleeps in the crib, avoid this method. This is only to be used for toddlers who sleep with you on bed.
- Once the child starts understanding your language and hand gestures, teach them the method of blowing their nose. Children are good at imitating what adults do! You can show them in actions how one can blow their nose.
- Take your toddler for a steamy shower! A warm water bath with steam in the bathroom can clear their runny nose. Never leave the toddler alone in the bathroom. Bring your child to the steamy bathroom before bedtime. This will help them to sleep peacefully!
When should you visit the doctor?
If everything else fails, your toddler would need a doctor. Doctor’s intervention becomes necessary once the following symptoms start showing:
- Inflammation/swelling of eyes, forehead, cheek or nose.
- Throat pain
- Discharge from the toddler’s nose. This could have a bad smell.
- In case the symptoms do not go away for 3 weeks
All the tips and treatments will help, but in case it takes more time, you should visit the pediatrician. They will give you medicated nasal drops to clear the baby’s nostrils. They might even do allergy tests, blood tests and X-rays.
Do not be scared because runny nose is quite common in children. The first thing you need to do is figure out the exact cause. Once you and your doctor know the cause, the best method for clearing the runny nose can be used.
Till then, keep them warm and use a vaporizer and steamy baths for improving the situation. Always remember that the child will show his/her discomfort through crying and getting irritable. It is your duty to calm them down and use all the possible treatments to clear the nose.
A runny nose is not the most comfortable health condition for babies! Make sure you try all the safe treatments and speak to your family pediatrician as well.