Why wash snotty little noses?

How can nasal washing help my child’s snotty nose?

Using saline nasal sprays or drops in babies and children can help provide relief when they have colds or allergies because clearing a congested nose this way means:

  • Sticky and gunky mucus is thinned
  • Inflammatory chemicals (that the cold virus stimulates in the nasal tissues) are washed away
  • Mucus plugs can be removed
  • Nasal tissues are moistened
  • Crusty, nasal scabs less likely

If you use a saline nasal spray or drop on your child, you might notice they sniff, sneeze or swallow. These are normal bodily reactions that allow him/her to naturally clear their airways so they can breathe better.

So are all nasal salines the same?

No, there are various types of nasal salines available for use:

  • Sodium Chloride (normal saline) with preservative (Benzalkonium Chloride)
  • Purified seawater with no preservative. This product may contain trace elements not naturally found in human tissue.
  • Saline with added minerals and no preservatives, to closely mimic the content of the fluid, which surrounds nasal tissues.

The Flo saline range is preservative-free and closely resemble the fluid surrounding a person’s nasal tissue. If you’re any doubt of which brand to try, ask your pharmacist or GP.

How easy is nasal washing in children?

Many nasal salines require parents to position their child upright when applying sprays or lying down when applying drops. This may be difficult, especially with a child that is unwell, fidgeting or unwilling to co-operate.

Ask your pharmacist or GP for saline sprays that can be used at any angle repetitively such as Flo Baby Saline Nasal Sprays or Flo Kids Saline Nasal Sprays. With these sprays, dosing is very quick and simple and you don’t have to position your child in an awkward manner. Look for sprays at any angle clearly marked on the top of the pack.

Can nasal washing help feeding and sleep?

Due to a baby’s teeny nasal passages, the smallest amount of excess mucus may cause nasal congestion and this can make a baby sound snuffly and blocked up. Mucus blocking these tiny airways may interfere with both feeding and sleeping. And let’s face it, an unsettled baby can have knock-on effects for mum and the rest of the family.

For babies, applying a saline spray or dropper about 10-15 minutes before each feed can help thin and clear nasal mucus. If a baby’s feeding and breathing is improved it makes sense that their sleep may become restful.

For children, apply a saline spray when necessary or as directed by your GP or pharmacist. This may also help result in a more restful night’s sleep for your child particularly when they have a cold or hay fever.

Nasal washing for all the family!

Regular nasal washing is also handy for children returning to day care or school because they are increasingly exposed to cold viruses and allergens like dust, pollens and pollutants. If parents are also seen using a nasal saline spray, not only is it reassuring for the child but it may also reduce parents’ exposure to the germs brought home! Win win!

Still worried about your child?

If your child shows signs of fever or illness and/or is not settling, you should talk to your healthcare nurse or your family GPr.

Important points to remember when choosing a saline product for your child:

  • Try a gentle formulation to mimic the natural fluids surrounding the nasal tissues.
    • Look for “preservative-free” on the pack.
    • Check the product can be used “at any angle” for easier dosing.

If in doubt, please ask your  pharmacist or GP.

Always read the label. Follow instructions for use. If symptoms persist, consult your health professional.

Clinical References:

  • Diagnosis and management of the newborn and young infant who has nasal obstruction. Olnes S Q et al. Paediatric in Review 2000 Dec (12) pp 416 -420.
  • Nasal irrigation with saline solution significantly improves oxygen saturation in infants. Schreiber S et al Acta Paediatrica 2015 Nov 26.