«Do I need to wash my child’s nose after kindergarten and walks»

In our section «Ask an expert a question», reader Anna asks:

«I have heard that to prevent viruses, it is worth washing the child’s nose every day after kindergarten and visiting public places. Is it so? And then how is it better to wash the child’s nose?»
The mucous membrane of the nasal cavity protects the human respiratory tract, taking thousands of pathogenic microorganisms every moment. But not all methods are suitable for the prevention of diseases in a child. It must be remembered that the respiratory organs in a growing organism differ from the respiratory organs of an adult.

There are more blood vessels in the nasal cavity of the baby than in an adult, because of this, under unfavorable conditions, the child quickly develops swelling of the mucous membrane.

Children have narrower nasal passages, it is harder for them to breathe even with a small swelling of the mucous membrane.

There are fewer mucous glands in the cavity that protect it from damage, so the baby’s mucosa is more tender and vulnerable.

The child has developed only two choanas out of three (the hole connecting the nasal cavity with the pharynx).

"Do I need to wash my child's nose after kindergarten and walks"

These structural features, more precisely, the immaturity of the respiratory system affect the functions of the nasal cavity — children quickly «clog» the nose, it is difficult for them to breathe, they do not yet know how to blow their nose, and the infection easily spreads further into the body.

The nasal passages of babies are formed by about 4 years old. Therefore, it is so important to ensure that the child learns to always breathe through his nose both outdoors and indoors. This way the air is warmed, moistened and purified, unlike breathing through the mouth.

Why can’t you irrigate your nose with drops?
All drug therapy is prescribed only by a doctor after examination in the presence of a disease!

If a child of 2-7 years old was playing on the playground, and another kid was coughing and sneezing nearby, it is also not necessary to resort to medications — it is enough to rinse the nose with saline solution for prevention.

Now on sale you can find antiseptics for the nose, which are not a treatment drug, are additional preventive means of protection against infections, viruses and inflammation. But it is not recommended to use them for children without consulting a doctor. Firstly, drops or sprays may have side effects: allergic reaction, irritation of the mucous membrane, etc. Secondly, there are no official recommendations, including from the World Health Organization, that nasal antiseptics should be used to protect against coronavirus.

"Do I need to wash my child's nose after kindergarten and walks"

What to do if the baby’s nose is blocked?
Newborns and children of the first years of life cannot independently clean the nasal cavity. This makes nasal breathing difficult and leads to the development of infection (acute rhinitis), its spread to the nasopharynx, middle ear, as well as to a number of other disorders:

Babies can not normally suck their breasts, swallow milk. The baby becomes restless, refuses to eat, sometimes gains weight more slowly.

The absence of nasal breathing can lead to increased intracranial pressure and disruption of the central nervous system. Children become moody, there are problems with sleep.

Pronounced and prolonged difficulty breathing through the nose leads to oxygen starvation, which slows down the development of the body.

Children with impaired nasal breathing begin to breathe through their mouth. At the same time, cold air entering the respiratory tract easily leads to colds, children are more likely to get sick.

Therefore, if the baby has a stuffy nose, crusts appear, rinse the nose with saline several times a day. But in no case can we talk about antimicrobial drops.


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