* Nasal Saline to Open a Blocked/Stuffy Nose
- Use saline (salt water) nose drops or spray to loosen up the dried mucus. If you don't have saline, you can use a few drops of bottled water or clean tap water. (If under 1 year old, use bottled water or boiled tap water.)
- Step 1: Put 3 drops in each nostril. (Age under 1 year old, use 1 drop.)
- Step 2: Blow (or suction) each nostril separately, while closing off the other nostril. Then do other side.
- Step 3: Repeat nose drops and blowing (or suctioning) until the discharge is clear.
- How Often: Do nasal saline when your child can't breathe through the nose. Limit: If under 1 year old, no more than 4 times per day or before every feeding.
- Saline nose drops or spray can be bought in any drugstore. No prescription is needed.
- Saline nose drops can also be made at home. Use 1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) of table salt. Stir the salt into 1 cup (8 ounces or 240 ml) of warm water. Use bottled water or boiled water to make saline nose drops.
- Other option: use a warm shower to loosen mucus. Breathe in the moist air, then blow (or suction) each nostril.
*Nasal Rinse STEP-BY-STEP Instructions for Children and Teens
Lean forward and turn head to one side over the sink. Keep the forehead slightly higher than the chin.
Place the tip of the syringe, squeeze bottle or Neti Pot into the higher nostril. Put it in far enough so that it forms a comfortable seal. Usually this is about a fingertip deep.
Nasal syringe: Slowly squeeze the syringe and let the salt water flow into the nose.
Neti Pot: Raise the Neti Pot slowly. Poor the salt water into the nose. ⦁ Squeeze bottle: Slowly squeeze the bottle and let the salt water flow into the nose.
Breathe through your mouth. Gently blow the nose. This will clean out the water and mucus. Some of the water may run down into the back of the throat. Spit this out. Swallowing the salt water will not cause any harm.
Repeat these steps with the other nostril.
* Homemade Cough Medicine
- Age: 3 Months to 1 year:
- Give warm clear fluids (e.g., apple juice or lemonade) to thin the mucus and relax the airway. Dosage: 1-3 teaspoons (5-15 ml) four times per day.
- Note to Triager: Option to be discussed only if caller complains that nothing else helps: Give a small amount of corn syrup. Dosage: 1/4 teaspoon (1 ml). Can give up to 4 times a day when coughing. Caution: Avoid honey until 1 year old (Reason: risk for botulism).
- Age 1 year and older: Use Honey 1/2 to 1 tsp (2 to 5 ml) as needed as a homemade cough medicine. It can thin the secretions and loosen the cough. (If not available, can use corn syrup.)
- Age 6 years and older: Use Cough Drops (throat drops) to decrease the tickle in the throat. If not available, can use hard candy. Avoid cough drops before 6 years. Reason: risk of choking.
* OTC Cough Medicine: DM
- OTC cough medicines are not recommended. (Reason: no proven benefit for children.)
- Honey has been shown to work better. (Caution: Avoid honey until 1 year old.)
- If the caller insists on using one and the child is over 6 years old, help them calculate the dosage.
- Use one with dextromethorphan (DM) that is present in most OTC cough syrups.
- Indication: Give only for severe coughs that interfere with sleep, school or work.
- Don't use under 6 years of age. Reason: cough is a protective reflex.
* Reasons To Call Back
- Earache suspected
- Fever lasts over 3 days (any fever occurs if under 12 weeks old)
- Can't unblock the nose with repeated nasal washes
- Nasal discharge lasts over 14 days
- Your child becomes worse
- Continuous cough persists over 2 hours after cough treatment
- Cough lasts more than 3 weeks