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How to Give Nasal Saline Drops

How to Give Nasal Drops (Laying Down)
How to Give Nasal Drops (Laying Down)

When children get colds, the flu, or allergies, nasal drops are an effective way to alleviate congestion. They are composed mostly of saline solution, which causes the blood vessels in the nose to contract and dilutes mucus and reduces swelling in the sinus area. Some nasal drops may contain additional active ingredients, such as steroids, to alleviate symptoms associated with nasal polyps. Whether the nasal drops are prescribed or over-the-counter, it is always important to use them according to your doctor's instructions.

How to Give Nasal Drops to a Baby

Many doctors recommend nasal saline drops for relief of nasal congestion in an infant. Giving anything to a baby is tricky, but you can manage it with these simple instructions:

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water.
  2. Get the appropriate dosage in the nasal dropper.
  3. Cradle your baby with your left arm (if you are right-handed). Using a couch arm to support your baby and your arm can make this easier.
  4. If your baby's nose is completely blocked by congestion, use a nasal suction bulb to remove the mucus.
  5. Place the dropper just past the opening of the baby's nose, but try not to touch the side of the dropper to the nose.
  6. Gently squeeze the bulb on the dropper to administer the required dosage. If necessary, ask another adult to get more medicine in the dropper for the second nasal passage.
  7. Hold your baby in the same position for five minutes to allow the drops to flow into the nasal passage.
  8. If your baby begins to cough, allow him to sit up or help him sit.
  9. Rinse the tip of the bottle with warm tap water.

How to Give Drops to a Toddler or Older Child

Giving drops to an older child can present different challenges, and the key is cooperation. Rewarding the child for cooperating can go a long way toward making this a pleasant experience for everyone. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water.
  2. Get the appropriate dosage in the nasal dropper.
  3. Have your child blow her nose to clear the nasal passages.
  4. Have your child lie down on a bed or couch.
  5. Place the dropper just past the opening of the nose, and try not to touch the side of the dropper to the nose.
  6. Gently squeeze the bulb to administer the required dosage. If necessary, get more medicine in the dropper for the second nasal passage.
  7. Have your child stay in that position for five minutes to allow the medicine to flow into her nasal passages.
  8. Allow your child to sit up if she begins to cough, but do not allow her to blow her nose for at least two minutes.
  9. Rinse the tip of the bottle with warm tap water.

Of all the medicines given to children, nasal drops can be the easiest to administer. Once the first dosage has gone well, it will get easier each time you give your child the drops.

Side Effects of Nasal Saline Drops

Prevent side effects common with the use of nasal drops by making sure you are using proper hygiene. Always wash and dry the dropper each time the medication is used, and never share nasal droppers among children. This could lead to the spread of infections.

Side effects may include a runny nose, sneezing, a burning sensation, stinging, or nasal dryness. If your child complains of any of these side effects, make sure to monitor the symptoms and contact your doctor if they last or worsen over time. Also contact the doctor if your child experiences headache, dizziness, trouble breathing, irregular heartbeat, nausea, mood changes, weakness, persistent sweating, trouble sleeping, a rash, and signs of itching or swelling.

Copyright ? 2012 Meredith Corporation.

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