Learnings of a mom from her child's persistent nasal congestion
Created by Sumitra Gopal Updated on Mar 26, 2020
I’m a strange mom! I’m very strong at handling any situation when it comes to my children. I’ve skillfully dealt with falls and injuries, emotional challenges, bullying friends, relocations, fuss over food…you name it. Yet if I hear my child sneeze or see my child struggle with breath because of a blocked nose, it gets me worked up and sets my BP soaring high! Seriously!
My second one (my daughter Kiki, 4 years now) was prone to a cold when she was between the age of 2-3 years and this would invariably develop into wheezing in a few days, regardless of what medicines I gave her. I was so terrified of her wheezing episodes that I had reached a point where I would forbid her from putting her hands in water for fear of her catching a cold. It was painful to see Kiki go through nasal congestion at night; she would cough and sneeze constantly, her nose running all the time or she would choke as she tried to breathe every time she spoke. To bring immediate relief to her, I would use a nasal spray at times. Nakul, my husband, and I spent our mornings queuing up at the doctor’s clinic and our nights were spent awake administering all kinds of remedies for blocked nose. Yes, we tried every possible blocked nose remedy – they would work at times but no solution was permanent. My desperation kept growing and I kept trying new things to rid my daughter of the constant nasal congestion. Finally, I gave up looking for solutions outside and I let my intuitive sense guide me – I started with food…
Every meal to be a balanced meal: So it’s basic but it helped… I made sure that Kiki had a healthy diet that included good fats (ghee, butter and nuts), protein (dal, chicken soup, eggs, fish), calcium (milk, cheese, curds and paneer), carbohydrates (rice cooked in chicken broth, roti and paratha), vitamins (fruits) – the motto was ‘a balanced meal, every meal’. I included spinach and fenugreek leaves (methi) in her paranthas. Carrots, tomatoes, and other seasonal vegetables became a staple. She loved the finely-cut ginger with lemon and salt – and that was her pickle! Our daily bed-time routine includes ginger juice and honey
(My grandma may just be smiling at me from heaven right now!). I also give her vitamin C tablets every few months with a break in between. Some spices that I particularly like to use in my everyday cooking are ajwain (carom), kala namak (rock salt), haldi (turmeric), methi seeds (dry fenugreek seeds), dalchini (cinnamon) and jaiphal (nutmeg).
However, children will be children and they want junk! So while I enjoy eating the not-so-healthy food with my children, we limit the number of such meals to birthday parties or occasional celebratory occasions. Both my children now understand the value of eating healthy and that further reduces the number of arguments we have over food.
Take up a sport: I can’t over emphasize the value of playtime and physical exercise for children. I enrolled Kiki in martial arts. She struggled initially; she was also the youngest in her class. Her I-pad, laptop, phone exposure was restricted to 30 mnt/ week, so the only other alternative for her in the evenings was to play. We would both run around in the park and play ball. We had a compulsory 90 mnt play time/ outdoor activity every evening. I feel the running and jumping around has helped exercise her lungs and aid her breathing patterns.
Sleep-time temperature: For months, I recollect, I used to put Kiki to bed all fit and chirpy but the next morning she would wake up all choked. Over a period of time I realised it was the AC. She would throw away her blanket at night (as most children do) and catch the cold, so the congestion would inevitably return. So I now always keep her room temperature 26 degrees or above. I’d rather have her feel a bit warm than get cold while she is sleeping. In addition, I always make her wear a vest and full sleeves nightwear so she remains snug.
It’s taken me a few years to realise what caused Kiki's nasal congestion. The process has been one of continuous learning, I would say being on the watch without being paranoid helps! While I have little control over external factors like the weather, pollution, pollen and so on, the health of my children is definitely under my control and I keep a hawk eye on it.
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| Mar 29, 2017
Your blog Is absolutely true. Eating healthy and exercise does change everything with respect to cold and other health related problems. In a way I guess kids have to face the cold, flu, nasal congestion and cough phase in order to gain a better immunity. It's like it's a part of their lives. They go through it until around 10 -12 years. Anyways Thank you for the lovely blog :)