A runny or blocked nose

​An upper respiratory tract infection is the most common cause of a runny or blocked nose and is easily spread from one child to the next through the air and by touching hands. Effective methods in reducing the spread of the diseases include good hand hygiene and blowing your nose. Small children can not blow their nose, so phlegm trickles down the pharynx causing coughing, which often results in vomiting mucus.



Blowing your nose is the only method to treat a runny or blocked nose caused by an infection. Saline drops and sprays are a safe way of providing relief for small children with blocked noses and are sold at pharmacies over the counter. Older children may use nasal drops and sprays, but never for longer than a week. Long-term use of nasal preparations may irritate the nasal mucosa.

Being in an upright position will also help a child with a blocked or runny nose. Lifting the head of the bed by placing books, for example, under the legs alleviates the condition further.

When to seek medical assistance?


When the child is in good overall health and has had a runny or blocked nose for less than a fortnight, you do not need to seek medical assistance. However, if the condition persists and occurs seasonally, it may be an allergic reaction. Seasonal allergic rhinitis is typically associated with itching and redness of the eyes. In children over seven years old, a persistent runny or blocked nose may also be associated with maxillary sinusitis which requires medical care.