Written by Dr. Srikanta J T
We cannot see our kids suffer, whether it is because of a fever, vaccination or just common cold or allergies. Cold and cough are common in babies. The nights become miserable for you and your little one when your kid catches a seasonal allergy. They cough, sneeze, get a runny nose, but the most bothering for both of you is when they can’t breathe through their nose as they are all stuffed up. They cannot sleep and you cannot sleep as well, seeing them in such a condition. Are Nasal Sprays Safe For Kids?
Many nasal sprays are available in the market to provide instant relief from blocked noses. But are they all safe? There are three types of nasal sprays and some of them are unsafe too. In this article, we explain the safety of nasal sprays for kids, how you can use them, side effects if any, and alternatives you can try out if you do not wish to opt for a nasal spray for your little one.
In This Article
Nasal sprays are dubbed as “quick fixes” for providing relief to congested nasal passages caused by colds, allergies, or sinus infections. However, nasal sprays are just a short-term solution, and should never be used for more than 3 days in continuity. Also, nasal sprays should never be used on infants, unless prescribed by the doctor.
Three types of nasal sprays are available
Decongestant nasal sprays are used to ease the stuffy nose. You can purchase it with a doctor’s prescription for topical use. They are often available in the form of spray or drops. They work by narrowing the small blood vessels in your nose and thus reduce the swelling.
These should not be used for more than 3-4 days as they can create a rebound effect and worsen the congestion once the effect wears off. They provide quick relief as they contain chemical medications. Some of the medicines used in these nasal sprays:
It contains a salt-water solution and can be purchased without any prescription. They do not contain any medication.
These are used for allergic rhinitis symptoms and also for nasal blocks. They last longer and are anti-inflammatory. These antihistamine sprays work by blocking histamine and one dose will last for 12 hours. Some of the medicines used in these sprays include:
Let’s look at the safety of the nasal sprays discussed above one by one.
A statement from Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in 2009 says that-
Decongestant nasal sprays cause the “rebound effect”. That means that if you overuse them (more than for a few days) it becomes less effective, and the congestion comes back as soon as its effects wear off.
Since they do not contain any medication, these are considered the safest to use when dealing with nasal congestion in children.
In two separate studies, the effects of two nasal sprays were monitored. Researchers monitored their effect on the child’s growth. In each of these studies, 100 children were monitored for a year. The two treatments studied were Nasonex (mometasone) and Vancenase (beclomethasone).
Here are steps to follow to use a nasal spray on your child:
You can try the following alternatives to relieve nasal congestion in kids.
Try steam inhalation. It is a very effective way to combat a stuffy nose and clear it. Please be very careful so that you don’t end up burning the child. Make the child sit on your lap while the other person holds the steam vaporizer at an appropriate distance
Focus on treating their cold as the nasal congestion will go away as soon as the cold is gone.
The side effects depend on the type of nasal sprays you use. Different classes of sprays have different safety and side effects. While saline nasal sprays are the safest in terms of side effects, corticosteroid sprays may carry significant side effects. Having said that, some general side effects of nasal sprays for children include
Your kid’s pediatrician will weigh the pros and cons before suggesting the medications. So, it is important to follow your doctors’ suggestions strictly in terms of continuing the medication and following the dosages seriously.
In the initial days of sickness, you can try the safe alternatives first. But if the congestion is severe and nothing else works, talk to your doctor about which nasal spray you should use.
Yes, you can. As long as your doctor has prescribed it. ti can help loosen tough mucus.
Yes, there are. There is a specific pediatric range for kids. Ensure you don’t use the adults range.
A 6-month-old baby is too young for nasal sprays. Consult your doctor. They will suggest alternative remedies.
No, not all sprays contain medicine. Saline sprays, for example, are alien water and help loosen up the thick mucus crust.