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Infant Runny Nose: Causes, Teething, with Cough, Sneezing, Treatments & Medicines

Is an infant runny nose and cough a cause for concern? What if nasal discharge is accompanied by sneezing or a cough? Is there a link between this condition and teething? This article will take an in-depth look at all these and more.

Infant constant rhinorrhoea

Infant constant runny nose could simply mean that the baby has suffered common cold bouts that run into each other. It could as well be an indication of allergies. Exposure to cold weather and spicy foods could also be to blame, particularly for cases that are not accompanied by any other symptoms.

Infant Runny Nose Teething, Cough, Sneezing, Medicine and Relief

Your best bet would be to use saline drops and run a humidifier in the house. If symptoms, however, persist for more than a week or are associated with a high fever (more than 102°F), then you should seek the attention of your pediatrician.

Is it due to teething

A connection is usually made between this problem and teething but this is a rather controversial topic, with a segment of medical practitioners arguing in favor of the argument and another against it.

This disparity in the argument is quite understandable since teething symptoms vary widely from one child to another.

There is one apparent consensus among most medical practitioners though: a severe runny nose, nasal congestion, and cough during teething warrants medical attention as it is very likely to be the result of a more serious problem.

With a cough and congestion

When accompanied by a cough, it is common symptoms of a common cold in infants. Because their immune system is still developing, infants are more susceptible to illnesses, particularly common cold which afflicts young ones as much as a few dozen times during their early years.

According to Jennifer Shu, a pediatrician at Children’s Medical Group P.C, Atlanta, babies catches an average of one cold per month. The fact that there are over 200 viruses responsible for common cold also contributes to this high prevalence since kids have to develop immunity to all these viruses one at a time.

In addition to rhinorrhoea, the common cold is often associated with symptoms such as a cough, congestion, watery eyes, green or yellow colored discharge (mucus), sneezing, and mild fever.

Allergies could as well be to blame. Allergy is associated with a clear watery discharge and may be accompanied by other symptoms such as sneezing and red, itchy itch eyes. Irritants such as tobacco smoke are also known to cause a runny nose, cough, and red watery eyes in infants and toddlers.

Enlarged adenoids, medically referred to as adenoid hypertrophy, can as well cause infant rhinorrhoea and cough according to Dr. Christopher Chang, an otolaryngologist based in Warrenton, VA.

Most cases accompanied by a cough clear away on their own with simple home remedies discussed subsequently in this article.

With Sneezing

Sneezing and runny nose are mainly attributed to viral infections (in particular common cold) and allergies. Sneezing is the body’s response to the presence of pathogens such as bacteria and viruses, allergens (substances responsible for allergies e.g. pollen, dust mite, molds etc.) and irritants such as cigarette smoke, chemical fumes, and strong perfumes. The forceful expulsion of air is intended to flush this threat out of the body before they can cause more harm.

Saline drop rinses are usually effective in getting rid of these symptoms and should be your first line of action. Running a cool mist vaporizer or humidifier also helps, but should these remedies not prove effective, it is advisable to see your pediatrician.

You should, however, seek immediate medical attention if your baby gets a high fever, seems so fussy, can’t eat or drink, or becomes lethargic.

Treatment, Relief or What to

Various infant runny nose treatment options may help to offer relief from the symptoms and make your tot feel better. Among these are:

Saline rinses

Your first line of action in far as treatment of rhinorrhoea and congestion in infants should be to rinse their nasal passages with a saline solution. This helps to loosen up mucus.

Simply mix a ¼ teaspoon of table salt with a cup of warm water and then place a few drops of the solution into the nostrils of your tot one at a time. After placing the solution into her nose, suck out the excess mucus using a bulb syringe.

Alternatively, you can get an over-the-counter saline drops preparation. Just follow the instructions provided carefully.

Humidifier or cool mists vaporizer

Run a humidifier or cool-mist vaporizer in your kid’s bedroom: This helps to add moisture to the air and improve her breathing. For congestion, you may want to add a few drop of pine oil, menthol, or eucalyptus oil to your vaporizer (or even bath water) as Kathi Kemper, professor of pediatrics at Wake Forest University School of Medicine says.

Try to clean your humidifier with Lysol or household bleach every now and then to keep it clean. You should also avoid making the air around your home too damp by opening the windows during the day. Check with your local health food store.

For infants aged over 6 months, giving a lukewarm, weak chamomile tea solution may also be beneficial.

Elevate your kid’s head

Dr. Jennifer Shu suggests keeping your infant’s head elevated a bit while she sleeps. To do this, add a crib wedge under the mattress. She is however quick to advise against having pillows in your baby’s crib to avoid the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.


There is always the question of what to use in as far as infant runny nose medicines are concerned. This is a tricky one to answer since the options will vary depending on the underlying circumstances.

There seems to be a consensus though among medical professionals that could medicine doesn’t help as much. As Dr. Shu says, cold medicines for babies and toddlers…will not make the virus go away faster and may actually do harm to your little one.

Giving Infant acetaminophen or ibuprofen (or infant paracetamol for those in the UK) may, however, help to relieve fever.

Keep in mind though that aspirin is not ideal for use in infants and toddlers as it can put them at higher risk of developing Reye’s syndrome, a fatal but rare medical condition that is characterized by liver and brain inflammation.

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