A stuffy nose can make for a very unhappy baby. Besides disruption of sleeping and eating patterns, nasal congestion in an infant can also lead to ear infection, serious breathing conditions or in some cases, death. While most cases of infant nasal congestion are mild and produce only minor irritation and crankiness, it is important to establish if the congestion is more serious than just a common cold.
To determine the severity of an infant’s stuffy nose, it is important to examine the symptoms he or she may be experiencing. Here are a few signs that an infant may be suffering something more serious than common congestion:
*Fever over 101degrees
*Pulling at the ear
*Weeping from the eyes
If an infant is exhibits any of these signs, it is best to seek the advice of a pediatrician. Generally, these symptoms are good indicators of an ear, nose, or chest infection.
If no signs point to infection, it is reasonable to assume the infant has succumbed to ordinary nasal congestion. To relieve symptoms of nasal congestion, here are a few tips:
AVOID OVER MEDICATING: Do not give an infant medicine to alleviate symptoms unless the symptoms are causing significant disruption of daily function. Stuffiness is a sign that the body is fighting off something foreign and it is often best to let the virus run its full course without intervention.
USE A NASAL DECONGESTANT: If the infant is feeling miserable, he or she may not eat or sleep properly. In this case, an over the counter cold medicine should reduce the symptoms enough for the infant to rest and get adequate nutrition.
USE A VAPORIZER: Vaporizers raise humidity indexes in the air which helps to reduce inflammation and swelling in the nasal cavity.
ELEVATE: Raising an infants head slightly higher than the rest of the body helps mucus runoff and aids in keeping airways unrestricted.
OFFER MORE FLUIDS: This helps an infant stay hydrated and aids in the body’s cleansing process.
Nasal congestion is a common difficulty for many infants and usually lasts between 1 to 3 days. It is often frequent and seemingly without cause. With a little TLC those days don’t have to be unbearable.
If the above mentioned methods do not reduce the symptoms of nasal congestion within 3 days, it is best to contact the infant’s pediatrician for a more accurate diagnosis and treatment.