How to Treat Runny Nose in Children

What is Runny Nose?

The tissues lining the nose enlarge in colder weather, during the flu, or as a result of allergies, making the nose stuffy or congested. The condition known as "Runny Nose" or “ Rhinorrhea” is caused by swollen, inflamed blood vessels that cause mucus to leak out the nose. The Sinuses and the lining of your nose get irritated when a virus or allergen, such as pollen or dust, first enters your body, leading to an increase in the amount of clear mucus. This mucus traps the bacteria, viruses, or allergens and aids in clearing your sinuses and nose of them.

What are the causes of Runny Nose?

Some of the common causes of Runny Nose are as follows:

  1. Allergies: Due to allergens like pollen, animal dander and dust, allergic reactions may develop, resulting in symptoms like Runny Nose, Sneezing, Itchy Eyes, Scratchy Throat, or Coughing.
  2. Common Cold: Even though a number of viruses can cause the common cold, Rhinovirus is the most common virus to cause the Common Cold.
  3. Sinusitis: A sinus infection is known as Sinusitis. When sinuses can no longer expel fluid, germs can grow and cause Sinusitis. Viral or bacterial infections usually cause Sinusitis.
  4. Nonallergic Rhinitis:  Due to changes in the weather, exposure to cigarette smoke, or changes in atmospheric pressure, Nonallergic Rhinitis is caused.

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What can be the Long-term effects of a Runny Nose?

The long-term effects can differ depending on the cause of the Runny Nose.

  1. A blocked nasal passage may impact sleep quality.
  2. Rarely, untreated acute sinus infections might progress to more dangerous conditions like Meningitis, Brain Abscess etc.
  3. Nasal obstruction and Rhinorrhea may impact ear and hearing health since the middle ears drainage system exits through the back of the nose.

When to Visit a Doctor?

Usually, a Runny Nose will go away on its own. However, a healthcare provider is contacted for the following reasons: 

  1. The symptoms have persisted for more than ten days with no improvement.
  2. If the drainage from your young child's nose is only coming from one side is green, red, or foul-smelling, or if a foreign object has stuck in the nose.
  3. Consultation with a doctor is necessary if symptoms persist for longer than three weeks.
  4. Visit a doctor if you observe nasal discharge and fever.


How to treat Runny Nose in Children?

Lifestyle Modification 

  1. At night, congestion frequently gets worse. One explanation is that when someone is lying down, their sinuses cannot drain as quickly. Set the head of your child's bed higher. This will help to ease the symptoms.
  2. A nasal wash could aid in clearing your child's nose from mucus.
  3. Avoid using nasal sprays on children under the age of two. Except as directed by your healthcare provider, do not use over-the-counter nasal sprays more frequently than three days on and three days off.
  4. Use mild saline nasal sprays three to four times daily.


  1. A saline spray is available over-the-counter or can be made home using 1 cup of warm water, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and a dash of baking soda.
  2. If Runny Nose is caused due to allergies, the use of nasal sprays is advised by the doctor.
  3. Try cool-mist vaporizers, but don't add too much moisture to the air. With a bleach or disinfectant cleaning agent, clean the vaporiser every day.
  4. Due to their inability to blow their nose, very young children may struggle more with congestion. If the child's nose needs to be gently cleared, use a bulb suction device. 
  5. Water and other drinks may thin out mucus, facilitating a child's ability to cough it up. In the case of a feverish child, fluids can also prevent dehydration.
  6. Immunotherapy may help your Runny Nose If allergies are a contributing factor.
  7. Antibiotics are not usually necessary to treat most Sinus Infections causing Runny Nose. However, you might require medications to treat Bacterial Sinus Infections.

Non-Surgical Treatment 

RhinAer Procedure: Patients who experience moderate to severe Chronic Rhinitis may benefit from the non-invasive RhinAer Procedure. This procedure provides relief by disrupting the nerves that trigger Rhinitis. With no incisions and minor discomfort, the surgery can be carried out in an ENT doctor's office under local anaesthesia.


How to Prevent Recurring Runny Nose?

Recurring Runny Nose is a condition that lasts for more than two weeks. It can be due to conditions like Chronic Sinusitis, Non-allergic Rhinitis, Allergies, Medications, Hormonal Changes, Nasal Polyps and Weather Changes. Runny Nose can be prevented in the following ways:

  1. Maintaining excellent hygiene is essential and frequently prevents the spreading of germs.
  2. After blowing or cleaning your nose, discard used tissues.        
  3. Avoid catching a cold or other infections. 
  4. Eat a balanced diet and do frequent exercise to strengthen your immune system.
  5. Surfaces like toys, door handles, tabletop surfaces, and bathroom fixtures should all be cleaned and disinfected.


A Runny Nose is a common symptom of the cold, flu, allergies, or other respiratory illnesses. Generally, Rhinorrhea goes away on its own. However, a runny nose can indicate various diseases, such as those mentioned above, if it persists or lasts more than ten days. In case of a high fever or runny nose, consult a doctor.


Updated on : 16 July 2022


Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

MBBS, DNB General Surgery, Fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery, FIAGES

12 Years Experience

Dr Aman Priya Khanna is a well-known General Surgeon, Proctologist and Bariatric Surgeon currently associated with HealthFort Clinic, Health First Multispecialty Clinic in Delhi. He has 12 years of experience in General Surgery and worke...View More


Rajath R Prabhu

Rajath R Prabhu

MSc. Clinical Research I PG Diploma in Public Health Services Management

3 Years Experience

His work in medical content writing and proofreading is noteworthy. He has also contributed immensely to public health research and has authored four scientific manuscripts in international journals. He was assoc...View More

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