There is little evidence that cold medicines such as over-the-counter decongestants work to treat a child’s cold. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend giving OTC medications to kids under the age of 4 because they can cause serious side effects such as irregular heartbeats. For children between ages 4-6, these medicines should only be used as recommended by a pediatrician.
Here are 9 ways to relieve your child’s stuffy nose at home.
9 ways to relieve nasal congestion in your child
1. Remove potential allergens
2. Use a nasal bulb or aspirator
3. Give them nasal saline drops
4. Run a cool-mist humidifier
You can place a cool-mist humidifier near your child’s bed and run it at nighttime. This will help loosen mucus and relieve your child’s nasal congestion.
5. Run a hot shower
6. Encourage your child to blow their nose
After you have added moisture to your child’s nose with nasal saline or humidifiers, encourage them to blow their nose to clear up their nasal passage. This is only recommended for older children who are able to do so.
7. Apply petroleum jelly
Blowing their nose often can cause your child’s skin to become dry and chapped. Applying petroleum jelly over their nostrils acts as a moisturizer and can prevent chapping.
8. Give them plenty of fluids
Give your child warm broths and other drinks to make sure they stay hydrated.
Chicken soup in particular is an excellent home remedy for a stuffy nose in children because it aids in thinning mucus and congestion.
9. Avoid smoking
When to seek medical help
Sometimes, nasal congestion may not resolve easily or on its own. If your child’s condition worsens, it may be best to seek medical help.
Visit the nearest emergency room or call 911 if your child:
- Has difficulty breathing
- Starts coughing suddenly after having food
- Coughs with bluish discoloration of the skin
- Is unable to talk or eat
Visit your child’s pediatrician if your child has: