Keep the nose clean and moisturized with saline!
Normal saline nose drops are a salty liquid that is like the fluids your body normally produces (tears, mucus), which makes them more comfortable in the nose. Saline is used to moisten the lining of the nose or break up thick nasal secretions.
Cleans the mucus out, which prevents:
- Extra mucus from building up and blocking the nasal airway, which can make breathing and feeding difficult, particularly for babies.
- Nose inflammation from trapped bacteria, viruses and allergies that causes swelling of the nose lining and can further block the nose and the Eustachian tubes leading to the ears, increasing the risk of sinus infections and ear infections.
- Post-nasal drip, resulting in sore throat, cough and irritation.
Moisturizes the lining of the nose, which prevents:
- Build-up of mucus crusting
- Nose bleeds, which frequently occur after the sensitive lining of the nose dries and cracks, breaking open a blood vessel.
Allows nasal spray medication to work better by cleaning off the lining of the inside of the nose before using the medicated spray to let the medication get to the inflamed nasal tissue.
Clean your child’s nose
The best time for nose cleaning in children is just before feeding or sleeping to allow them to breathe through the nose more easily and improve feeding efficiency and breathing during sleep. If your child also uses a nose spray medication, clean the nose BEFORE using the medicated spray to avoid washing away the spray.
1) Use nasal saline spray (Simply Saline Baby or other wide-tipped pediatric aerosolized saline spray, or make fresh saline at home (recipe below) and apply with clean dropper or syringe).
- Lay your child on their back and tilt their head back slightly. Have another adult help you gently hold their head still if needed until they get used to “nose time.”
- One spray/drop in each nostril for babies under 2 years old
- Two sprays/drops in each nostril for children over 2 years old
- If the spray bottle or dropper touches the nose, rinse it in hot water and dry with a clean towel. Do not use the same bottle or dropper for other children.
2) Wait for several minutes to allow the saline to loosen the mucus in the nose.
3) Have your older child gently blow their nose OR suction each nostril gently 23 times or until the nose is clear, and wipe away any visible mucus from the outside of the nose.
- A Nose Frida or other wide-tipped suction is preferable to bulb suction because it doesn’t penetrate too far into the nose and creates a good, comfortable seal at the nostrils to suction the whole nose at once.
- If using bulb suction, insert just inside the nostril (~1 cm deep) to avoid inserting the narrower tip too far and causing pain or trauma)
- Clean the suction after each use in hot soapy water and let dry
4) Use saline spray again after suctioning to moisturize the nose.
5) Repeat two to three times a day as needed, when healthy. Four to five times a day if your child has a runny nose or nasal congestion, but not more often in order to avoid irritating the nose with excessive suctioning.
Moisturize your child’s nose
1) Use nasal saline spray (Simply Saline Baby or other wide-tipped pediatric aerosolized saline spray, or make fresh saline at home (recipe below) and apply with a clean dropper or syringe)
- One spray/drop in each nostril for babies under 2 years old, 5-10 times a day
- Two sprays/drops in each nostril for children over 2 years old, 5-10 times a day
2) Apply Vaseline ointment to each nostril, 1-2 times a day
- Dip a clean Q-tip into the ointment
- Roll the Q-tip gently just inside the nostril to coat the inside of the nostril
- The ointment will slowly melt back and coat the deeper lining of the nose
Recipe for normal saline solution
It is very important to use fresh saline solution because bacteria can grow in saline and bacteria can cause infections. If you are buying a saline solution, replace it after its expiration date and use one separate bottle for each child.
To make your own saline solution:
Mix 8 ounces of distilled or boiled and cooled tap water (1 measuring cup) with ½ teaspoon of non-iodized table salt and a pinch of baking soda.
Make a fresh supply of saline solution every time you do a nasal rinse.