Junior magazine’s Dr Philippa Kaye clears up common queries about your baby's seasonal sniffles
A. We all know how uncomfortable a stuffy nose can be and that lying down to go to sleep can make it feel worse. Prop one end of your daughter's cot up on a few books or blocks so that she sleeps on a slightly vertical tilt, as this may help her to breathe more easily. There are vapour rubs available over the counter but as many of these decongestants contain eucalyptus oil, which can be toxic for children and cause some extremely serious side effects, I would avoid using them on your baby. It is recommended that children do not ingest sore throat lozenges containing eucalyptus oil and children under two years should not have any rubs or oils containing the oil rubbed onto their skin. There are baby versions for those over three months that are specifically designed to contain lower doses of the oil, but I think a better way to ease your baby's congestion is to use a humidifier to keep the air in her room moist and, if required, you can use a nasal saline (salt water) spray to thin the mucus. You can buy this over the counter from your pharmacy along with a special bulb syringe with which you can suck out the mucus. Make sure your daughter also drinks plenty of fluid to keep her hydrated, and if you are concerned, take her to your doctor.
A. Your daughter may have a condition called bronchiolitis, which is a common lower respiratory tract infection in young children. Every winter, there is an epidemic and very young babies - generally between the ages of one to six months, but up to two years - are affected. Children usually have the symptoms of mild fever, runny nose and a wheezing cough. Many manage without any problems, but some develop respiratory distress, where they have difficulties breathing. If your daughter's nostrils flare out with each breath or if the muscles in-between and under her ribs draw in with each breath, then she is working hard to breathe. If this is the case, or if the shortness of breath makes feeding difficult, your daughter should be seen by a doctor as she may need admission to hospital. Her respiratory difficulties may worsen over the first two to three days, but they will generally improve after that. The majority of cases of bronchiolitis are caused by a particular virus, the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), for which there is no specific treatment. If, as occurs in only a minority of cases, your daughter needs admission to a hospital, she will be given help with breathing and/or feeding.
Dr Philippa Kaye who works in general practice and is author of The Fertility Handbook is Junior magazine's resident doctor.
Hi my name is james , i physiotherapist in london specialising in babies with respiratory ilnesses. www.babyphysio.com
their is now new, simple and easy treatment for babies with respiratory illnesses; It is Chest Physiotherapy:
The aim of chest physiotherapy is to clean baby’s lungs and upper airways from the mucus restricting normal breathing, sleep pattern and eating.
A chest physiotherapy session starts by a conversation with the parents to determine the frequency of the cough and how the baby is sleeping and eating. After the conversation the physiotherapist listens to baby’s lungs with a stethoscope. This will allow to find the location, the amount and the density of the mucus (whether it is thick or fluid). With all this information, the physiotherapist will be able to make a diagnosis and to decide the rhythm, the frequency and the intensity of the massage.
The physiotherapist will start by cleaning the congested nose of the baby with the saline and a small pump. While doing this, he will explain you how to do it yourself, because you will have to repeat it several times during the day.
The physiotherapist will apply one hand on the baby’s belly in order to compensate his abdominal weakness and his other hand on his chest. The physiotherapist will follow the baby’s respiratory rhythm with the hand on the chest and will accelerate the expiratory flow. This will force the mucus up to the throat. Once the mucus is in the throat, the physiotherapist will stimulate the baby’s cough reflex, who will then expel the mucus. Repeating this action will clean baby’s lung from the mucus and will allow the normal oxygen flow from lungs to blood. This technique is efficient and painless for the baby; as the ribcage is still formed of cartilage and is very flexible, allowing the physiotherapist to use this technique without any risk. Cleaning the mucus from the lungs is a big relief for the baby, who will then be able to eat, breathe, and sleep better. Chest physiotherapy will also reduce the length of the illness by more than half, as it will allow the baby to use his energy to fight the illness instead of using it to get rid of the mucus.
If you want more information about baby respiratory illness and treatment fell free to look at www.babyphysio.com
James Turgis , Chartered Physiotherapist
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