Nasal Congestion & Vomiting in Babies

For a mother, nasal congestion and vomiting are perhaps the most frustrating and difficult to treat symptoms of illness in an infant 1. Fortunately, there are several non-pharmacological methods for treating both of these potentially dangerous symptoms.

Treating Nasal Congestion

Nasal congestion is caused by swollen nasal membranes, and may or may not be accompanied by excess mucus 1. Excess mucus can be removed with a nasal aspirator, and the nasal congestion can often be eased with humidifiers 1.

Treating Vomiting

Vomiting (not spitting up, which consists of a tablespoon or so of liquid at a time) is caused by a variety of things, most of which are not dangerous. There is no simple treatment for vomiting, but you do need to make sure your baby does not get dehydrated; this is as simple as making sure she wets at least one diaper every 6-8 hours.

Possible Causes

Most nasal congestion and vomiting are caused by viruses 1. If your baby also has a fever, this is almost certainly the case. The best treatment is to keep him comfortable and make certain he does not get dehydrated.

When To Worry

If your baby has a sudden onset of severe vomiting shortly after eating or you think she may have ingested a poison, you need to seek emergency help immediately. If your baby seems to be in pain or shows signs of dehydration (decreased urination, sunken fontanels, dry skin or lack of tears), call the emergency room or your doctor for advice. If nasal congestion prevents her from eating or there is green or yellow nasal discharge (which indicates an infection), you should contact your doctor 1.

Prevention Of Nasal Congestion

Try to keep your baby's room comfortably humid, especially in the winter, with a humidifier. Keep his area clean and allergen-free, even if he has not shown any signs of allergies, and wash and sterilize stuffed animals and other toys periodically.

Prevention of Vomiting

There is very little you can do to prevent vomiting, other than isolating your baby from anyone who shows signs of sickness. Instead of focusing on prevention, make sure you pay close attention to your baby when she does get sick. Babies get dangerously dehydrated much more quickly than adults, so take any vomiting seriously.

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