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March 2020

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What really disturbs me is seeing a little child walking around with a runny nose. If they are old enough to wipe their own noses, then they must be taught to be conscious of those times when their nose oozes mucus. If they are too young to be mindful of their runny nose, then parents, please pay attention to your child when he or she has a cold, an allergy or just a temporary runny nose.

Some parents can just look at their child’s face, and act as if nothing is dripping into their child’s mouth-all over their face. Some kids will tend to smear the mucus about their face, when without skills to wipe or blow to remove it and properly clear those nasal passageways.

Truthfully, some children are absolutely oblivious to the fact that there is mucus coming out of their noses. They will play, interact with other children, spreading germs, and potentially contaminating toys and items touched by other children. Gross!

Here’s the skinny, parents. The first thing you should know is that your child can’t effectively breathe through their nose, when obstructed by mucus. The rules of proper breathing informs us that we do so through and from mouth to nose and back. We are unable to do so when obstructed by mucus build-up.

Your child will have difficulty enjoying his or her meals, because their ability to taste food is compromised, as well. The taste buds are sensors, tiny microscopic hairs that are very sensitive. These hairs send messages to the brain about how something that’s placed in the mouth, on the tongue first, tastes. Sweet, sour, bitter or salty.


Actually, what we consider ‘taste’ of food is actually the flavor of food. It is the perception of flavor that is compromised during a cold or flu. And since taste and flavor are linked, and the nasal cavity and throat are connected, our sense of taste is also linked with our ability to smell.

When we chew food, the aroma of the food travels to our nasal cavity. In the nose, there is a patch holding hair cells, cilia, that detect and carry odor-related signals to the area of the brain that processes odor information. The information combines in another process to give us a sense of flavor.

When your child has a cold, and a runny nose, mucus blocks the passage to the nasal cavity. In the absence of odor information, the brain can’t give information about flavor. Everything tastes bland. You will then notice that your child’s appetite is negatively affected.

Whenever your child has a runny nose, please do not ignore it. It is not a good look for your child, nor does it feel good. It is irritating to your child, whether he or she can verbalize it to you or not. Another reason that it should not be ignored, especially when around strangers or in public, it is a bad look on your parenting. That is not to say that you are a bad parent-it just looks neglectful.

If your child is an infant or a toddler, wiping noses is your responsibility, the parent. Your child can’t be relied upon to take care of it absent your help. Don’t worry that your child squirms or resists, the process of clearing noses is not painful if done right. Toddlers will resist most often and you cannot be discouraged or decide to just let your child continue to play and run about. It will not be long before your child will follow directions and learn to blow her nose without much fuss.

With infants, treat a runny nose by using suction-a bulb like device that you squeeze and release. It does the real work for you. There are a few other remedies to try to clear that runny nose. You can:

  • Use saline drops
  • Use over the counter drugs like Mucinex. Overall, medications, like decongestants and antihistamines are discouraged before age 2, according to the FDA[Food and Drug Administration].  Also, avoid using menthol rubs of any kind on a baby.
  • Give plenty of fluids. Fluids are always a good idea, as they are good for avoiding dehydration.
  • Use a cool mist humidifier
  • Try petroleum jelly for when or if your child’s skin gets red or irritated.With toddlers, you’ll have to just be able to withstand the protest, outlast and overpower it- for your child’s best health interest.

Whatever you do, think about how you feel when your nose is runny, and then think about your child. The decision  is yours. If you are uncertain as to the underlying reason for a runny nose, consult your physician.


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