Dry Nose in Children
Whether your youngster has been spending too much time in dry, hot air or his nose is aggravated from irritants in the air, his nasal passages have become dry and they’re screaming out for moisture. Although dry nasal passages can be uncomfortable for your youngster, they’re seldom a sign of a serious problem. However, if you have any concerns, contact your health care provider for medical advice.
Causes of Dry Noses
Weather is a principal culprit behind dry noses in kids. The desiccant environment in desert climates can frequently irritate the delicate membranes in your child's nasal passages, and air conditioners and heating systems used inside a home can deprive your youngster’s nose of the moisture it craves, explains the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Healthychildren.org website 3.
If your child has been using antihistamines or decongestants, the medication may be responsible for drying out the sinuses, according to KidsHealth 2. Inhalers used in asthma treatment -- particularly those containing atropine -- are also harbingers of nasal dryness. Irritants that can also dry out a child’s nose include cigarette smoke and perfumes.
Dry Nasal Passage Symptoms
Nasal passages begin to crust and crack when they dry out. It can be uncomfortable, even painful, in severely dry noses. The discomfort of a dry nose may have your child searching up there with a finger for relief. This can irritate dry nasal passages, causing them to bleed. Blowing her nose can also spur a nosebleed as the nasal passages have cracked and crusted in response to the dryness.
Nasal dryness can also make your child feel congested. Mucus that drained freely from the sinuses through the nose now thickens in response to dryness and blocks the sinuses.
Relieving Dry Noses
Hydration is your first line of defense in keeping dry noses at bay. Ensure your child drinks plenty of fluids such as water and natural fruit juices. Stay away from sugared drinks.
Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air inside the home, advises KidsHealth 2. However, clean the humidifier regularly to avoid mildew growth that will spread through the air. Choose a cool-mist model to prevent the risk of scalding, KidsHealth cautions 2. Alternatively, turn on the shower, sit in the bathroom with your child and let the warm -- not hot -- steam soothe her nasal passages.
A dab of sesame oil just inside each nostril may bring quick relief without introducing any chemicals into your child's body, according to a study in the “Archives of Otolaryngology”. Use a cotton swab to dab the oil just a few millimeters inside each nasal passage.
If you live in a dry climate, saline nose drops can also help to restore moisture to your kiddo’s nasal passages, advises Healthychildren.org 1. Talk to your health care provider about using them to treat and prevent a dry nose.
Talk to your health care provider before using nasal sprays or any medicated solutions to ease dry nose symptoms.
If your child has begun taking any new medications, read the potential side effects and talk to your health care provider to find out if the drug could be causing your child’s symptoms.
Avoid leaving a dry nose untreated; in addition to being uncomfortable for a child, the nasal passages are the gateway to the lungs. They are responsible for filtering and moisturizing air on its way to the lungs to help prevent dryness in the lining of the lungs and bronchial tubes, explains the American Academy of Otolaryngology 3. Dry nasal passages also increase the susceptibility to cold viruses, according to the John Hopkins Medicine website.
- Healthychildren.org: Chronic Nosebleeds: What To Do
- KidsHealth: Nosebleeds
- American Academy of Otolaryngology: Your Nose, the Guardian of Your Lungs
- Archives of Otolaryngology: Pure Sesame Oil vs Isotonic Sodium Chloride Solution as Treatment for Dry Nasal Mucosa
- NorthShore University HealthSystem: Atropine and Pralidoxime
- John Hopkins Medicine: Upper Respiratory Infection (URI or Common Cold)
- MedlinePlus: Stuffy or Runny Nose
- Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images