Runny nose in babies

Up to ten infections per year are normal

Many parents know that In the Winter in the Baby life is sick, the nose constantly and the nights are exhausting. In this case, the child has neither a chronic disease nor back. Rather, there are a plurality of successively-occurring infections, which can make parents and children a hard time. Because the immune system of babies is not yet Mature and there are many different cold viruses.

In the first months of life the infant is protected by maternal antibodies transferred across the placenta from the mother to the child. In the second half of the year, these antibodies will lose, however. Then the little body needs to learn to protect themselves.

Up to ten slight respiratory infections per year in young children than normal. The are, of course, not evenly over the year distributed, but mainly in the winter months. “Due to the many infections that can make children, builds your immune system,” says Edwin Ackermann, a pediatrician and spokesman for the professional Association of child and youth doctors North Rhine. “A cold is usually a harmless disease, but for an infant, nevertheless, often very unpleasant, because of not blowing your nose, or the nose pull up,” he says.

Add to this that the nasal passages in babies is very small and tight are. “When the mucous membrane is only a bit of swell, the narrowing of the fast and the Baby gets bad air,” explains Ackermann. Because children make so many infections, increase often the lymphatic tissue. Tonsils and adenoids are thicker and can make it difficult to in addition, the breathing.

No nasal spray for babies

Against the cold virus itself, there is no medicine. You can only try to alleviate the symptoms in your Baby. Sleep is important, especially when the body is battling an infection. Therefore, it may be useful, in the evening, decongestant nose drops to the nasal mucosa of swelling and the child breathe better and sleep.

In addition, an ear infection may happen if the babies for a very short auditory tube zuschwillt, the throat, the Nose with the middle ear connects. In the case of the middle ear can not be ventilated properly.

“In the first weeks and months of life decongestant nasal drops should be administered only after consultation with the pediatrician,” says Ackermann. The active compounds can, in very rare cases of side effects in the cardiovascular area.

Nasal spray should only be used at the toddler age. Since the nose is in the infant below very closely, comes Spray, often only up to the lower lateral nasal wall and can’t work properly. Drops administered to can be better. In addition, babies scare often in front of the spray of a spray.

Nose high drag, incidentally, is explicitly allowed. “For several years, there is the recommendation, the withdraw the Secretion rather high, to blowing your nose than to be violent, because a pressure in the entire respiratory area, which can lead to the germs in the direction of the ear will be sent.”

What are the drops, how often and for how long?

For infants, there are two different active ingredients that you can apply in the Form of nasal drops:

  • Xylometazoline
  • Oxymetazoline

The substances are similar in their mode of action: they cause the vessels to a narrowing of the blood, whereby the nasal mucous membrane swelling to go down.

The question of how often and how long the nose drops must be applied, there is no Directive. “As rare and short as possible, as often as necessary”, is the advice of the pediatrician. The ears are affected due to the common cold, the child needs may be more than a week, three Times per day decongestant drops. The child gets the drops only because of the common cold, should take the application longer than a week.

“If I baby the sleep and nose drops to administer, then that is perfectly ok,” says Ackermann. “We observe, however, that parents breath sounds of the child read too much into animals, and give two or more weeks, several times a day, nose drops. This should not happen.”

Then there is the danger that the nasal mucosa, overall, more sensitive, thin and dry is. “If the nasal mucosa is dry, the subjective, the feeling of an obstruction of nasal breathing,” says the pediatrician. “Especially the older children are then back to the nasal spray, although the nose should be moistened.”

Critical of all products containing essential Oils are. Can trigger in children, an asthma attack. “That rarely happens, but you have to ask yourself whether you are willing to take the risk to have a cold to get rid of,” says the doctor.

The sleeping room keep cool

Ackermann recommends to leave the child in a warm sleeping bag with a cool 16 to 17 degrees Celsius room temperature to sleep. “Many parents have the concern it might be too cold, but it’s totally okay.” The children in wet and cold weather outside, breathing is often in order. It is only when you are in the warm and dry apartment, the mucous membranes swell and it is a set respiratory problems.

Before you decongestant active ingredients attack, you should also try, the mucus in the nose using nasal drops of a saline solution (from the pharmacy) to liquefy and then with a lint-free, well-absorbent paper from the nose to pick up. “The triggers are often at the same time a Nieseffekt that transports the mucus,” says Ackermann. “Decongestant nose drops can’t act even if they are not Packed in the Snot, otherwise you will come even with the nasal mucous membrane in contact.” The saline solution can be safely used several times a day.

Midwives advise often to give mother’s milk drops in the nose of the baby. “We child and youth doctors can’t recommend,” says Ackermann. The protection function may have existing antibodies to games in the nose no role. “But it is a protein-containing solution, which does not belong in the nose. And no one wants to have milk in the nose.”

Alternatives to decongestant nasal drops:

  • Physiological saline solution as a nasal drop gebenmit an absorbent, lint-free cloth to clean the nose from the inside
  • Onion, cut into a sock and in the bedroom lay out. The vapors should help the runny nose symptoms relieve
  • Secretions with a nasal aspirator suction
  • drink plenty of give, so that the mucus dissolves better
  • a wet towel hang to increase the humidity
  • Regularly ventilate

When should you go with your Baby to the doctor?

If you’re Worried about. “When the nasal breathing is impeded and the child have a fever and other cold symptoms, it goes of course to the doctor,” says Ackermann. If in doubt, always go to the doctor you should, if the child is younger than three months.

The yellow Secretion is not necessarily the case that a bacterial infection is present and an antibiotic must be used. “Every runny nose is in the course of its duration to the end of the yellow,” explains the pediatrician. “The immune cells devour the common cold viruses and disintegrate. This makes the staining of the secretion, which, however, has to do with the bacteria nothing.”

Parents are very concerned about rattling breath sounds of the children in their sleep, advises Ackermann, a short cell phone video to make the next visit to the doctor to show. “Then we can understand better and assess whether this is indeed eye-catching.” Only very rarely would there be in the case of young infants an anatomical narrowing of the nose, which needs to be clarified.


Interview from the 7.1.2020 with Edwin Ackermann, a pediatrician and spokesman for the professional Association of child and youth doctors in North Rhine-Westphalia

Flu infection – a common disease in children. Online information from the Federal centre for health education (BZgA): (retrieval date 6.1.2020)

(K)a banal infection. Online Information of the German pharmacist’s newspaper: (status: 25.1.2018)

For More Information

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*The contribution of “babies” is a cold published by Onmeda. Contact with the executives here.