Cough, as we know, has grown to be an ailment that constantly affects the overall well-being of infants. Congestion is common in infants, but usually, it does no harm; it passes over after a while. However, parents panic simply because of the symptoms, which are sometimes uncomfortable and very unbearable.
Usually results in noisy and heavy breathing alongside a runny and stuffy nose. In addition, infants may commonly experience blockage in their nasal cavity (called nasal congestion). Different symptoms depend on the location of the congestion.
Nasal congestion is more likely, and the children mainly act, play, and normally feed so, the baby is likely fine, and there is no cause for alarm.
Causes of cough and chest congestion in babies
Many factors are responsible for this phenomenon in babies, including bacteria, viruses, inhalation of cigarette smoke, pollutants in the air they breathe, weather changes, deviated septum allergies, and so many other irritants.
When children are exposed to dry air and other harmful weather conditions, their nasal cavity usually triggers excess mucus. Also, babies are more likely to get nasal congestion than other children because their nasal passages are airways are miniature, and they are not yet mature.
Chest congestions that are more severe and occur deep in the babies chest may have more severe and life-threatening causes such as
- Cystic fibrosis
- Another common cause is bronchitis which occurs when the child’s airways to their lungs become inflamed, and they start producing mucus. As a result, when airways known as the bronchi are filled with mucus, the child will naturally cough to break it up and remove it.
- Bronchiolitis, which is usually caused by a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). It occurs when the smaller airways called bronchioles to constrict and make breathing more difficult.
- Transient tachypnea typically occurs in the first day or two after birth.
Premature babies are more likely to experience more chest or nasal congestion than full-term babies.
Symptoms Of Congestion
The symptoms of congestion are much, and they may vary based on the location of the congestion. Unfortunately, it is usually challenging to identify where the congestion is, as babies are still tiny, their airways are small, and they are not distant.
If the baby is experiencing a runny nose or has mucus in their nose, it likely results from congestion. Nasal congestion is usually the most common of them all, a baby can sound congested in their nasal cavity, such as when they inhale dry air without being sick.
When a baby has a congested nose, you will notice the following symptoms below;
- Noisy and breathing is noticeable
- Loudly snoring during their sleep
- A runny nose
- Little difficulty is experienced while feeding them
- A blocked nose
When a baby is experiencing chest congestion, the following symptoms may be observed;
- Difficulty in feeding
- Rapid breathing and wheezing when breathing
- Labored breathing
Home Remedies For Congestion
Most of the time, the purpose of applying home remedies is to make sure infants are provided with utmost care and comfort. So helping children rest is very important, and most importantly, most cough and cold medicines are not approved for children under the age of six (6).
On the other hand, a good home remedy is safe and does not cost much money, so these natural remedies are a good place to start.
Humidity is helpful for a cough for some reason. First, it helps to hydrate the baby’s sinus tissues. Therefore, it helps prevent further dryness, which leads to more mucus production, and thus the cough is worsened.
Second, humid air helps keep the infant’s mucus thin. It, in return, allows the child to cough up the mucus from their systems. To add more humidity to your immediate environment, run a cool-mist humidifier for a few hours each day.
Suction(with something as little as a bulb syringe) to pull the liquid out the child’s nose or ask the child to blow out their nose. When it runs like a faucet, it’s getting rid of viruses.
- For children between 3 months to 1 year: when infants experience a common cold, they may feed slowly or not even feel like eating because it’s currently difficult for them to breathe. caregivers or their parents should find a way to suction the baby’s nose before they attempt to feed the child with breasts or a bottle
- You should use saltwater in drops to loosen up dried mucus, thereafter the child should be asked to blow their nose, or it should be sucked out from the nose using the bulb syringe. If you do not have nose spray or drops, warm water will do the magic.
- Nose washing should be done whenever it is discovered that the child has difficulty breathing through the nasal cavity. It would help if you repeated it until what comes out of it is a clear fluid.
Sticky And Stubborn Mucus
- It would help if you used a wet cotton swab to wipe off sticky mucus around the nose.
- Children under one year should be given honey; it does not help eliminate the symptoms, and it often leads to a disease called Infant botulism.
- Children above one year: can be administered honey from 2ml to 5 ml as needed. The honey helps to thin out the mucus and this, in turn, loosens the cough.
- Add one or two drops of saline to the nostrils using a small syringe.
- You should massage the nasal bridge of the child gently; you should do the same to the forehead, temples, and cheekbones.
You should eliminate potential allergens and pollutants from the child’s immediate environment by vacuuming up the hairs of pets, you should not burn candles, and smoking should also be prohibited around the child.
When To See A Medical Doctor
In most cases of chest congestion, it should clear up in a few days, but a doctor’s attention should be called when the persist or condition of the child is severe. These signs need to be looked out for before blowing the whistle;
- The increased breathing rate of more than 60 breaths per minute
- Flaring nostrils
- Retractions, which occur when the baby’s ribs suck in on each breath
- Grunting or moaning after each breath
- Blue coloration to the skin, especially close to the lips and nostrils.