Mistakes when washing children’s nose – VnExpress

Using cylinders, mixing salt water, letting children lie on their backs… are mistakes parents often make when washing their children’s nose.

According to Master, Doctor Nguyen Trung Nguyen, Department of Otolaryngology, Tam Anh General Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, not all parents know how to safely and effectively wash their children’s nose. Many parents do not know that they are using the wrong tools and methods to clean their children’s nose.

Use cylinder

The syringe is a common tool that parents often use to wash their child’s nose. However, according to Dr. Nguyen, nasal irrigation with a syringe is an unsafe method that can cause injury to children. The cylinder has a high pressure, if the parents are not able to control the force, the force may be too strong, causing damage to the child’s nasal mucosa or may cause edema. If your child has rhinitis, the condition may last longer. High-pressure cylinders can also push rinsing water into the tympanic and middle ear, causing otitis media, notably can cause very dangerous choking, causing water to enter the airways and lungs.

If a child has ever choked, he will be very scared every time he sees his parents preparing tools to wash his nose. Fear will create a protective response that causes the child to tense up, cry, lead to choking or unsuccessful nasal irrigation. Many parents have a habit of reusing cylinders, which does not ensure sterility. Instead of using a syringe, parents should wash their child’s nose by instilling the solution directly into the nose or using a dedicated irrigation pump.

Parents should wash the child’s nose by instilling the solution directly into the nose or using a dedicated irrigation pump. Image: Freepik.

Use homemade salt water

Some people often have the habit of making their own saline solution to wash their children’s nose without using physiological saline or other nasal irrigation solutions. It is a serious mistake to make salt water very salty because it is believed that salty salt water will clean the nose and kill bacteria better.

According to Doctor Nguyen, homemade salt water is not hygienic and safe for children because the salt used to mix can contain many harmful impurities. When mixing salt water yourself, it is difficult for parents to ensure the correct concentration, if the mixture is too salty, the concentration is too strong, it will cause damage to the child’s nasal mucosa. Strongly concentrated brine (greater than 0.9%) has hydrophilic chemical properties, so it will always absorb water from living cells (bacteria and human cells). Using concentrated, high-concentration saline will absorb water, drying out the cells that are the cause of damage to the nasal mucosa.

Parents should use physiological saline to be safe for children because this product is licensed, tested by health authorities and qualified for use.

Use physiological saline for a long time

Note after opening the product cap, you should make sure to clean the lid area to avoid contact with the skin surface or other tools because it will create the opportunity to spread bacteria from the outside into the physiological saline bottle. The shorter the time from opening the product to the end of its use, the lower the risk of superinfection and should usually not exceed 3-5 days.

Let the child lie on his back

Young children often find it difficult to coordinate with their parents to wash their noses, and often have resistance actions. Therefore, parents often let the child lie on his or her back to make it easier to exercise and better control the child. Doctor Nguyen said, this is a mistake that many parents make.

Children lying on their backs wash their noses, especially in the state of children crying and protesting, which can easily lead to choking and possibly regurgitation into the lungs. When choking, children often have a natural swallowing reflex, which easily leads to water overflowing into the ear, the risk of otitis media. If parents cause pain, choking makes children obsessive, creating a feeling of fear when washing their nose, difficult to do the next time.

You should prepare a pad or towel on the bed, then let the child lie on his knees on the pad. When washing the nose, fix the baby’s head gently by placing your hand on the head, avoiding the baby’s crying.

Does not clear mucus

Cleaning and removing mucus from the nose will help the baby’s airways open, clean and more comfortable. However, some parents, when rinsing their children’s nose, do not clear all the mucus in the nose. After washing the nose, parents often only wipe the outside without sucking the nose, causing the mucus inside to not be taken out, stagnation, causing a stuffy nose and prolonged inflammation.

To clean the nose in addition to washing the nose, Dr. Nguyen recommends using a nasal aspirator or using a towel to wipe out mucus in the nose. After rinsing the nose, parents should not ask the child to blow his nose forcefully to expel the water, but instead remind the child to blow his nose gently from each side. If after rinsing the nose, the child still feels that water remains in the nose, parents can let the child lie down for about 5-10 minutes, the fluid in the nose and sinuses will flow down the throat and the child can swallow or spit it out (note the method of This method only applies to children 2 years of age and older and when the child is awake because then the swallowing reflex is stable).

Children examine their ears, nose and throat at Tam Anh General Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City.  Photo: Provided by the hospital

Children examine their ears, nose and throat at Tam Anh General Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. Image: Hospital provides

Don’t wash your hands before washing your nose

The habit of not washing your hands before washing your child’s nose will affect your child’s health. Hands are the part that comes into contact with many utensils and items, so they contain a lot of dirt and bacteria that cause disease. When coming into contact with the child’s nose, parents can cause more infectious diseases to the child because the child’s immune system is still weak. To ensure hygiene as well as health safety, parents should wash their hands before and after cleaning their child’s nose.

Wash your nose too many times

When children have a stuffy nose, runny nose, parents often have the mentality to wash their nose many times to quickly recover. However, Dr. Nguyen advises only sucking the nose for children about 3 times a day and before doing so, parents should drop 1-3 drops of physiological saline to make the mucus in the nose thinner, convenient for aspiration and washing. Parents should also not suck the nose for children by mouth because it can cause damage to the nasal mucosa due to strong suction. This practice can also cause cross-infection from the mouth, and at the same time, leave children with fear.

To properly clean the child’s nose, parents should warm the device, wash their hands with soap or hand sanitizer before performing and let the child lie on his side. Use a small bottle or spray bottle or spray on each side until the mucus is pushed to the opposite side. If the mucus is thick, use a suction machine, suction pump after washing for 2-3 minutes. Use a soft cloth or tissue to wipe the discharge, saline water, and wipe the nose again after rinsing to remove the mucus.

Doctor Nguyen recommended, in case a child has a runny nose, prolonged nasal congestion, parents should take the child to see a doctor for timely examination and treatment, to prevent dangerous complications. In addition, parents should be careful when cleaning their children’s nose, especially babies and young children who need to be examined and guided by a doctor.

Mai Cat


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