A gentle way to clear the day; common colds or allergies in children
|Nisha R. Baur DO; FAAP
Board Certified Pediatrician
As a general pediatrician I am at the front line of care when it comes to treatment of nasal and sinus symptoms. Children typically experience 6-8 colds per year, and if in school, preschool or daycare this can almost double. Parents have a unique role in the treatment of the cough and cold in their children, to help relieve symptoms and limit side effects. In adolescents and especially young children, we try not to interrupt the delicate balance of the body by using natural means to treat symptoms. Children also pose several unique challenges when it comes to clearing the nasal passages as many have a difficult time blowing out, have smaller passages and are inclined to more frequent and longer duration symptoms related to both viral and bacterial illnesses. While many adults quickly clear a common cold, a child will have greater length and intensity of symptoms. As parents’ concern increases over their young child or infant struggling to sleep and eat well while being congested, the fatigue of sleepless nights and missed days of work compounds the worry to an even greater extent than if the parents were ill themselves.
Nasal saline and aspirators are a great way to lessen this concern and worry, as infants and children struggle to clear their own sinuses, parents can step in and help relieve symptoms, improve both sleep and eating and lessen the duration and intensity of the symptoms. Several over the counter cough and cold preparation have significant side effects or are limited in use for pediatric populations. Many of these preparations have more than one active ingredient making it difficult to dose and the dosing has not been well studied in children. Several may speed the heart rate and if they lessen congestion by thickening it, this can actually be harder for young children to manage. As parents reach into their medicine kit with NeilMed tools to help irrigate and clear the nasal and sinus passages these parents can lessen their concern as they relieve their child’s symptoms with a gentle, balanced, natural technique. Not all aspirators are created equal. Some do not generate a good suction or seal, and with delicate linings some are too hard for an infant’s nose to be used several times throughout the day. Picking a product that is gentle and effective is paramount to good use and relief of symptoms. In addition to clearing the passages, raising the head of the bed, clearing secretions just before bed, and increasing fluid taken orally to keep secretions thin and easily managed are also ways to naturally help your child through their cold in this upcoming winter season. Being on the frontline of illness, I recommend irrigation, saline rinse and nasal suction as first line on the frontline.