Daily Health Tips: De-congestion Of Blocked Nostrils


Q: Good day doc, first, thanks for the good work you are doing. Please, my 2 month-old has catarrh and I have been managing it by keeping him warm, applying Vaseline on his nose and removing excess mucus using bulb syringe or nasal aspirator. But this would only work when his nostrils are not blocked, so my question is, what do I use to de-congest the nostrils when they are blocked? I learned I could use saline nose drops but not sure I can get this in our medicine stores

A: Thanks for writing in and for your kind words. I’m sorry to hear that your baby is feeling poorly.

You’re already doing well with the measures you already adopted but you are right, these may not work for when the nose is blocked. If you ask at a registered pharmacy shop, you should be able to get a saline spray. Use a humidifier or let your baby inhale some steam. For details of what to do, I reproduce here, a post I had made a while back which has the answers you are looking for.

Q: Good morning Dr Ketch, please this is very urgent. My two months old baby is having a serious cough and I took him to the hospital and I was told he cannot take a cough syrup until he is a year old. So they gave him some antibiotics but the cough is still persistent. Today makes it a week since he has been coughing. Please how true is it and what can I give my baby again to relieve him of this cough?

A: As a parent, it’s very normal for you to feel worried when your baby is ill especially when it appears you’re helpless and really can’t do anything to help him/her. However, when your baby has a cough, giving cough syrups may not be the way to go…and I’ll tell you why.

First, if your baby’s cough is due to a cold, you really don’t need to give your baby any drug. A cold is a viral infection and once it causes an infection, it will run its course before it stops. And so, with or without drugs, a cold will go. It would usually last for about a week to 10 days and then disappear. There’s no need for antibiotics for a viral infection. Indeed, taking antibiotics when they are not needed leads to antibiotic resistance where the antibiotics can no longer properly do their jobs when they are really needed to fight infections.

Then some of the ingredients in the cough syrups can also cause a baby’s heart to beat faster, may cause convulsions and basically do not treat the cause of the cough. They are actually not supposed to be used for children younger than 2 years of age.
Now, what can you do in the mean time:
Let your baby sleep in your arms or in a semi-upright position.

You can prop him up with lots of pillows at night.

Offer your baby fluids and if there is congestion in the nose, use a saline spray. You can ask your doctor or pharmacist for this.

An air humidifier also moistens the air and makes it easier for your baby to breath. If you don’t have this, you can let your baby breath in steam from a hot shower.
A suction bulb can also help remove mucous from your baby’s nose. You can ask for one in the hospital or a pharmacy.

Please see your baby’s doctor if this cough continues and/or your baby develops a fever and this cough lasts more than 2 weeks. If your baby also has difficulty breathing, cannot breath or feed, you should also see his/her doctor.

Have a great night, everyone 😀

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