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12 top snot tips

 
What to do when the Snot Monster runs riot in your child’s early years.
girl picking nose
Scott Dunlop

Pic: Shutterstock

Some parents experience the Snot Monster very early in the lives of their children; others find it rearing its ugly head upon introduction into a crèche or day care. It’s gross, sometimes scarily persistent and something almost every child will go through. Here are some facts and tips about snot and bogeys:

Good snot, bad snot
  • Some snot is good- we all produce it, and we need it to help clear our sinuses. Snot also helps to keep our nasal passages moist.
  • When a child gets an upper respiratory tract infection, the body produces even more snot.
  • When snot goes yellow or green, it’s not necessary to run to the doc and demand antibiotics- Yellow is most often associated with viral cold infections for which antibiotics aren’t much use. Brown or red in snot indicates the presence of blood, usually due to too much rubbing, blowing or picking, and shouldn’t be cause for alarm unless produced in large volumes.
  • According to Dr. Michael Smith from WebMD: “It's OK to have yellow or green snot, but if it persists for seven to 10 days, then you probably should let your doctor know. That may mean that you have developed a bacterial infection, sinus infection, possible bronchitis, but for few days, it's nothing to worry about.”
  • Many day care centres have a policy of sending a child home when he or she has green snot, saying that this means the child is more infectious, although it is generally a symptom of the common cold, and does not necessarily imply a bacterial infection, unless it persists for several days.

Mucus management

  • The best ways to get rid of mucus are by either keeping it wet or by using a saline nasal solution, either as a spray or as a douche to rinse out the nasal passages.
  • You can use a bulb suction device in order to remove mucus, but then you also need to administer saline nasal solution.
  • Remember to clean the bulb thoroughly, and make sure that it dries out without becoming mouldy or full of mildew inside.
  • Allergies, sensitivities to foods, pets in the home, carpeted surfaces and more may increase snot production in kids. Check out this more comprehensive list at Health24 in order to check for possible influencing factors: Health24: Mucus disease.
Green diamonds?
  • What about bogeys? Those green lumps in the nose are an indication that the body is healthy and producing mucus. The mucus collects particles of dust and sand and forms a hard lump.
  • Surprisingly, eating them ISN’T necessarily unhealthy (although it is yucky and antisocial), but putting a dirty finger into the nose could introduce germs and bacteria to the nose. The same goes for putting the same dirty finger into your mouth.
  • The gunk that forms in the corner eye while sleeping is very similar to nose bogeys, and is more common in kids with allergies or infections.
Managing snot and bogeys includes keeping the nose clean and moist and practicing good hygiene. Teach your older child not to use sleeves or other surfaces to wipe away snot, and to discard used tissues in the bin.

If concerned about a mucus or snot problem, or if the mucus problem does not respond to saline treatment within a few days, do consult your child’s doctor or an ear, nose and throat specialist.

Have you got any helpful tips for fellow parents for dealing with the Snot Monster?

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

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Read more on: children  |  colds  |  flu symptoms  |  parenting
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