Q: My baby has green and yellowish gunk in her nose. What should I do?
A: It's very normal for a common cold to cause your baby's nose to fill with green, yellow or even clear mucus for several days. There's no specific medicine to cure a cold (antibiotics can't treat viruses); you'll just have to let the infection run its course while making sure your baby gets plenty of rest, stays hydrated and keeps away from other children. If the congestion is making your baby fussy or causing trouble sleeping, try the following natural remedies:
- Squirt some liquid saline in her nose (the salt water helps loosen the mucus). Then use a bulb syringe or nasal aspirator, which sucks out the drainage. Just don't do this too often since it can dry out nasal passages and give your baby a bloody nose. If this doesn't seem to make her feel better or breathe easier, then stop this treatment. On the other hand, if it makes her feel better, continue as needed. - Run hot water in your shower with the door closed to steam up the room, then sit with your baby in the bathroom for 10 to 15 minutes. - Try to keep your baby's head elevated to help her breathe easier. - Run a cool mist humidifier in her room.
Over-the-counter decongestants and other cold remedies shouldn't be given to babies. Not only is there no proof these meds help treat symptoms, they can also cause unnecessary or dangerous side effects, including making babies hyper or restless, causing nausea and vomiting, hallucinations, fast heart rates, or even seizures in rare cases.
The color of the nasal mucus is not directly related to how serious your baby's cold is. You should call the pediatrician if your baby experiences any of the following, which can be signs that the cold has turned into something else, like pneumonia or an ear infection:
- Running a fever (over 100.4 F. for babies under 3 months, 101 F. or higher for babies 3 to 6 months or 103 F. or higher for babies over 6 months) - Trouble breathing - A cold that lasts more than a week - Rash - Appearing lethargic or fussier than usual - Mucus buildup in her eyes
Copyright 2009 Meredith Corporation.