Symptom Guide: Runny and stuffy nose
Decipher the possible causes of your baby’s runny and stuffy nose and know what to do


What it could be

What to do

Congestion, runny nose with clear mucus that can turn yellow or green in time, sneezing, coughing, fever.

If there is a cough and congestion before the onset of any fever, it’s likely to be a cold. Babies are vulnerable to catching colds as their immune systems are still immature. Colds are common in winter. On average a child can get six to ten colds a year, and more if he is in daycare. Poor hygiene helps spread the germs that cause colds.

Ensure your baby gets plenty of rest and liquids. Speak to your doctor about appropriate cold relief medications to use. Breastfeed for as long as possible to help your baby build immunity against illnesses and keep him away from cigarette smoke. See a doctor urgently if your baby’s fever persists for longer than three days.

Worse cold symptoms, running nose, coughing, sudden onset of high fever, chills, fatigue, diarrhoea, vomiting, not eating.

Flu spreads easily in close contact through coughing and sneezing. It’s caused by the Influenza virus and is particularly dangerous to infants and children under 2 years who usually have to be hospitalised with flu more than older children. A person with flu is contagious for about a day before symptoms begin and for about five days after.

Ask your doctor about pain relief medications. Give your baby plenty of rest and liquids. Practice good hygiene to prevent the spread of the virus. To help minimise flu, consider an annual flu vaccination for your baby that can be given from 6 months onwards. If fever persists for three days and symptoms worsen, see a doctor immediately.

Congestion, runny nose, sneezing, teary and itchy eyes. Possible coughing.

Allergies are the body’s immune reaction to environmental substances called allergens. Allergens are inhaled, ingested or absorbed by the skin. The body views these allergens as invaders to the body and attacks them resulting in allergy symptoms like congestion, runny nose etc. Allergies can be inherited, especially if both parents suffer from them.

Allergens include pollen, animal dander, dust mites, medications, foods or mold. Check with your doctor for allergy relief medications. Also try to keep your baby away from the allergen. In the case of severe swelling of the face and lips and trouble breathing caused by an allergy, call for an ambulance right away.

Runny mucus from one nostril only, possibly a smelly discharge. Crying due to discomfort and pain. Possibility of nosebleeds.

Children are fond of sticking all sorts of things up their noses. It could be a bean, grain of rice or button. Be careful if trying to dislodge the object yourself as there is a danger you could push it in further. Rather seek medical assistance.

See a doctor immediately. He will know best how to proceed with getting the object out depending on what it is. He may prescribe antibiotic nose drops to prevent any infections from developing. Don’t give your child toys with small parts to play with and always supervise their playtime.

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