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Colds, flu, seasonal allergies, and respiratory irritants can all cause excessive mucus and phlegm production in your child. Mucus production is normal and plays an important role in our health and wellbeing. With each breath we take, air enters our bodies through our nose. The air we breathe is full of germs, pollen, allergens, and pollutants. The Mucus in our nasal cavity traps these irritants and eliminates them from our bodies. Most mucus goes unnoticed, it is mixed with saliva and swallowed, where acids in our stomach kill the invaders or blown from the nose, eliminating the irritants from our nasal cavity.
Rhinorrhea, more commonly referred to as a runny nose, is a condition where excess mucus drains from the nasal cavity. Runny noses can be caused by a number of conditions including:
- Colds and Flu
- Crying – tears drain from the tear ducts into the nasal cavity and then into the nose
- Cold weather
- Allergic rhinitis
- Non-allergic rhinitis – from irritants such as smoke, pollution, hot foods
- Sinus infections
- Adenoid infections
- Foreign body insertion
In most cases, a runny nose will go away on its own. If the condition persists for more than 10 days, it may be a sign of another condition. If a runny nose is accompanied by a fever in your child, consult your medical provider.
The Color of Snot
Colorless snot is normal. If your child is producing more mucus than normal, they may have allergies or a mild cold. If their snot is not clear, the color may indicate the cause.
- Whitish mucus – may indicate the start of a cold. If it lasts longer than two weeks they could be getting an infection.
- Yellow snot – caused by white blood cells fighting off an infection. The good news is the body is doing what it should. The bad news is your child is probably getting sick. With luck, it will clear on its own, but if not, they may need to see their doctor.
- Green snot – your white blood cells are working overtime to fight off the infection. If green snot persists for more than 10 days, antibiotics may be needed to help fight off the infection.
- Pink or red snot – indicates blood in the mucus. The most common cause is irritated nasal passages. More common at high elevations, or in dry environments.
- Brown mucus – indicates air pollutants. With poor air quality, the mucus traps the debris and pollutants and removes them through your child’s nose. If the air quality is poor, limit your child’s time outside.
- Black snot – take your child to the doctor. Black snot is a warning for a serious fungal infection or other health condition.
The texture or consistency of your child’s snot can also give you an indication as to the cause. Stringy mucus is generally allergy mucus. Liquid-y mucus is indicative of a viral infection. Antibiotics will not help a viral infection, so it will need to run its course.
Along with a runny nose, Children who have a respiratory infection may experience excess mucus in the throat. This mucus can persist even after their other symptoms have cleared, sometimes lasting as long as 4 to 6 weeks.
When the mucus in the back of the throat becomes thick, it is natural to feel the need to clear the throat by coughing. This helps loosen the phlegm and may alleviate that uncomfortable feeling of post nasal drip.
Adults average 2 to 3 colds per year and children 6 to 10 depending on their age and exposure. There are more than 200 different types of viruses that can cause the common cold. This is one of the reasons developing a vaccine or cure for the common cold is so difficult. The rhinovirus is the most common type and is thought to be responsible for 50% or more of colds.
Colds are spread from person to person. This can happen through direct physical contact, or by touching surfaces contaminated with their germs. You can also catch a cold through infected droplets in the air that have been released by a sneeze or a cough.
Kids get more colds than adults as their developing immune systems are not yet strong enough to fight off colds. They are also in close contact with other children throughout the day. Try as you might, your kids are not as conscientious about sneezing into their elbow, frequent hand washing or keeping their hands to themselves.
Whether the cause is colds, flu, allergies or other respiratory irritants, excess mucus is not fun. Not fun for the child with excess mucus, or the adults who wipe their noses and remind them to wash their hands. It’s not fun when your child can’t sleep because of post nasal drip. It’s not fun when your child is continually coughing to clear their throat.
Because it’s not fun and children’s developing bodies are different than adults, Native Remedies developed two new products specifically to help relieve excess mucus in children – Mucus-Clear Jr. and Mucus-Clear Jr. Nighttime. Specially formulated to work together to relieve excess mucus 24/7. These homeopathic formulas are safe for all ages and have no known side effects.
- Kali mur 6C is often recommended for chronic mucus build up in the throat and lungs, as well as for nasal congestion. It can also be useful for blocked ears and ear ache.
- Kali bic 6C is useful when there is throat congestion, as well as sinusitis and ‘glue ear’. It may relieve a sore throat and can reduce coughing due to congestion.
- Kali carb 30C can be of great benefit for children who are adversely affected by the cold and draughts, as well as those who are exhausted and stressed. It can assist with lactose intolerance and headaches.
Mucus-Clear Jr. adds Allium cepa and Ferrum phos for cough, cold and respiratory support.
- Allium cepa 6C is primarily prescribed to treat coughs and colds accompanied by runny noses that may be so severe that the skin around the nose becomes red, irritated and sore. Constant sneezing is common, and eyes may also water and burn.
- Ferrum phos 6C is useful for respiratory infections, coughs, and sore throats, often accompanied by fever. It can also help to reduce earache and will help children to recover from infection.
Mucus-Clear Jr. Nighttime adds Chamomilla, Cina, and Pulsatilla to Kali mur, Kali bic, and Kali carb for nighttime support.
- Chamomilla 6C is often given to children who are irritable and who have a tendency to cry a lot when they are ill, only calming when they are carried around, picked up or cuddled. Chamomilla can also help with fevers, especially when there is one cheek redder than the other. It is also useful for teething.
- Cina 6C is a popular children’s remedy and can assist with intestinal worms, temper tantrums, irritability, coughs and colds, as well as difficulty in falling asleep.
- Pulsatilla 6C is often recommended for coughs and colds and coughing fits that tend to worsen at night. It is also used for fever and earache. Children who tend to be moody and weep a lot when ill can be soothed by administering Pulsatilla.
BY MARY ELLEN KOSANKE