Saline Nasal Washes for Children: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Your doctor may suggest that you use salt water (saline) to wash mucus from your child's nose and sinuses. This simple remedy can help relieve symptoms of allergies, sinusitis, and colds. Most children notice a little burning sensation in the nose the first few times the solution is used, but this usually gets better in a few days.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • You can buy premixed saline solution in a squeeze bottle at a drugstore. Read and follow the instructions on the label.
  • You can make your own saline solution at home by adding 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of baking soda to 2 cups of distilled water.
  • If you use a homemade solution, pour a small amount into a clean bowl. Using a rubber bulb syringe, squeeze the syringe and place the tip in the salt water. Draw a small amount into the syringe by relaxing your hand.
  • Have your child sit down with his or her head tilted slightly back. Do not have your child lie down. Put the tip of the bulb syringe or squeeze bottle a little way into one of your child's nostrils. Gently drip or squirt a few drops into the nostril. Repeat with the other nostril. Some sneezing and gagging are normal at first.
  • Have your child blow his or her nose. If your child is too young to blow, gently suction the nostrils with the bulb syringe.
  • Wipe the syringe or bottle tip clean after each use.
  • Repeat this 2 or 3 times a day.
  • Use nasal washes gently in children who have frequent nosebleeds.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if your child has any problems.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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