A runny nose is a very common problem in children. This happens when the nasal cavity is filled with a significant amount of mucus fluid. The color of the mucus may vary from clear to white or yellow to green.
Often, it is a symptom of the common cold. In children, however, a runny nose can also be a result of crying or exposure to cold temperatures and possible irritants.
A runny nose can further cause irritability, fever, cough, sore throat, sneezing, upset stomach, sleep disturbance and appetite disturbance. Nasal congestion may or may not accompany a runny nose.
When treating a runny nose in children, parents need to have patience. It usually clears without treatment. Medication cannot cure this problem, and you cannot make it go away in a day.
However, you can try some home remedies to reduce the discomfort and promote faster recovery.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for your child’s runny nose.
1. Saline Rinse
For an adult or child, a saline rinse is one of the best home remedies for a runny nose. A saline rinse helps loosen up mucus, making it easier and more comfortable to expel.
It even clears the nasal passages of irritants and helps your child breathe through the nose.
- Make the saline solution by mixing ¼ teaspoon of table salt in a cup of bolied water which has been cooled to room temperature.
- Put a few drops of the solution into one of the nostrils, while tipping your child’s head backwards.
- Immediately suck out the excess mucus using a bulb syringe, while closing the other nostril with one of your fingers.
- Repeat the procedure with the other nostril.
- Use this remedy up to 3 times a day, but not more than that.
If you find it difficult, do not hesitate to get help from others.
Inhaling steam helps ease the discomfort of a runny nose. It clears out the excess mucus that causes the dripping and sneezing. It will also help your child sleep better, which is important for faster recovery.
- For very small children, turn the bathroom into a steam room by closing the door and turning the shower on full hot. Take your child into the bathroom and sit there with your child for 10 to 15 minutes. Do this 2 or 3 times a day.
- For older children, you can opt to use a facial steamer. Sit with your child on your lap and lean over a bowl of hot water with a towel over your head to trap the steam. Ask your child to breathe in the steam for 5 to 10 minutes, then ask him or her to blow their nose. Do this a few times a day.
3. Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus can also help reduce a runny nose and associated symptoms in children. It works as a decongestant, which makes it easier for your child to get rid of mucus.
- Put 4 or 5 drops of eucalyptus oil in warm bath water for your child. Let your child enjoy the bath for 10 minutes. Repeat twice daily.
- Alternatively, mix 10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil in ½ cup of warm extra-virgin olive oil. Give your child a gentle chest massage with this aromatic oil, especially before his or her bedtime.
Another good herbal remedy for a child’s runny nose is basil. It has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties that help fight the cause of the runny nose.
It even builds your child’s immunity.
- For young children, give a few basil leaves with a little jaggery to eat two times per day.
- For older children, give some fresh basil leaves to chew before breakfast every morning and before going to bed at night.
- Alternatively, extract 1 tablespoon of juice from fresh basil leaves. Mix the basil juice with equal amounts of ginger juice, lemon juice and honey. Give your child this mixture 2 or 3 times a day.
Honey is another effective remedy for a runny nose in a child who is 2 years of age or older. For small children, honey should not be used as it may cause a bacteria that causes botulism.
The soothing, antibacterial and antiviral properties of honey help reduce the various symptoms of a runny nose. It even helps treat coughing and a sore throat.
- Mix 1 to 2 teaspoons of raw honey in a glass of warm water. Give this to your child to drink twice a day.
- Alternatively, mix 1 tablespoon of honey and ½ teaspoon of fresh lemon juice in a glass of warm water. Give it to your child to drink while it is still warm. Repeat twice daily.
For babies who are at least 1 year old, the herb chamomile can relieve the symptoms and discomfort of a runny nose. This herb is an immune booster.
It also reduces sneezing due to its excellent antihistamine properties.
- Put 1 teaspoon of dried chamomile flowers in 2 cups of boiling water.
- Cover and steep for 5 minutes.
- Add some honey for taste.
- Give this mild tea to your sick child twice daily.