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The Blocked-up Nose

Babies are simply miserable when they have a cold. If their nose is blocked up, they can’t nurse or suck on a bottle. Here’s how we open that nose:

• First, if there’s a watery discharge, just remove it with a soft rubber suction bulb.

• Second, if the nose is stuffy with little or no discharge, it’s usually blocked up with dried mucus. Suction alone cannot remove dried secretions. Neither can medicines. Warm tap water nose drops are better than any medicine you can buy when it comes to loosening up mucus. They work just as well as those normal saline nose drops. Place three drops in each nostril. After about a minute, use a suction bulb to suck out the loosened mucus.

• Third, the main error in using warm water nose drops is not putting in enough water, not waiting long enough for the secretions to free up, and not repeating this procedure two or three times until the breathing comes easily. Your child may cough a few times when the water runs down the back of the throat, but this is harmless.

In summary, you have to learn how to clean out your baby’s nose. If you’re having difficulty, ask your child’s nurse to show you how to do it. And remember, medicines by mouth have no effect on dried nasal secretions.

During Dr. Schmitt’s 20 years as a medical practitioner and researcher, he has published over 100 articles or chapters on pediatric health care, and has been awarded the distinguished C. Anderson Aldrich Award by the American Academy of Pediatrics for outstanding contributions to the field of child development. Schmitt has also authored five books including Your Child’s Health, which won Child Magazine’s first Hall of Fame Award in 1991. Schmitt is also a professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and on staff at The Children’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado.


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