Why Can't Ignore Blocked Nose in Children?
Created by Dr. Surbhi Saini Updated on Feb 03, 2021
When you fall prey to cold, the endless headaches and sudden outbursts of sneezing can be quite uncomforting. A blocked nose is the worst of all symptoms. Let’s understand what causes a blocked nose…
The nasal passages are lined with mucous membranes that produce a slimy secretion (mucous) to keep the passage-ways moist and to help stop bugs and dirt from entering the nose. If your child is suffering from cold and her nose is running constantly, the mucous membranes become swollen and inflamed leading to a blocked nose. When inflammation occurs, mucous secretion becomes viscous/thick and production is increased, resulting in a blockage.
In children, colds and flu are all too common – and mostly there is no reason to take it very seriously. Some home remedies or a round of tried-tested medication are enough to get your child healthy and fit again.
However, it is important to know that any health issue that is becoming persistent, needs more intervention so that it does not develop into a chronic disease. Do you know that nasal congestion, not treated right, may lead to hearing and speech problems? It may also lead to a condition known as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder in which a person's breathing is interrupted repeatedly during sleep. In turn, the brain and the rest of the body do not get sufficient oxygen.
What are Blocked Nose Complications?
So please do not ignore episodes of frequent nasal congestion in your child – here are some details on the complications that may crop up...
Acute Otitis Media:
Long-standing nasal congestion or blockage could cause heaviness in ears. Since the passage of ear and nose is the same, a blocked nose may lead to inflammation of tympanic membrane or eardrum that leads to redness, swelling and bulging of tympanic membrane. This results in fever (around 102-103 degrees) and excruciating earache, which is very disturbing for a child.
If it is not taken care of in the early stages, it leads to pus formation in the ear and later on, may even cause a rupture of the tympanic membrane. As the pus is released, earache and fever becomes normal and the child feels better.
The rupture of tympanic membrane or ear drum can be avoided by timely intervention of proper medications for nasal congestion.
Serous Otits Media:
This mostly affects children in the age group of 5-8 years. Constant blockage of nose could lead to accumulation of fluid in the ear canal (Eustachian tube). It often presents as mild hearing loss and often goes unnoticed by parents.
If in early years of life, there is a mild hearing loss it could delay speech development or defective speech. On continuous ignorance, it could lead to a more severe hearing loss.
Since the nose is blocked, the child is unable to breathe through the nose and is forced to breathe through the mouth. The bacteria and germs (present in the air) enter the mouth without getting filtered (like they get filtered in nasal breathing). Constant entering of germs affects the larynx (voice box) and leads to snoring in early stages. The occasional snoring progresses to regular snoring, over time. Read more on Snoring Home Remedies
In elders, mouth breathing causes the tongue to fall backwards and obstructs the trachea, which is the breathing pathway – and this causes sleep apnea (explained above).
As mentioned above, when your child’s nose is blocked, s/he breathes through the mouth and the basic filtration of germs and bacteria does not happen – and this can lead to infections of all kinds. Hence nasal blockages need to be attended to, at the earliest. You may treat a stubborn blocked nose with saline nasal drops or saline nasal spray as an SOS – and if your child is frequently affected, do consult an ENT specialist for proper assessment and evaluation.
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