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Is it OK to use a nasal aspirator to clear my child’s stuffy nose?

By Neil Ginsberg 1 min read
Monday, May 14, 2018

Q: Is it OK to use a nasal aspirator to clear my child’s stuffy nose? I’ve heard it can hurt his nasal lining and cause other problems.

Isn’t doing this task for our babies just another joy of parenthood?

For adults who can blow their noses, life is so much simpler, but for babies with colds who are congested, a nasal aspirator can help remove mucous and make breathing and sleeping easier. However, saline drops are usually good enough without the need for aspiration.

If you do need to resort to aspirating, please remember babies have sensitive noses and being too aggressive can irritate your baby’s nasal passage. Using it too often can also swell the lining of the nose. So I would only be aspirating if they were really struggling.

Assess the need, be gentle, don’t use it too often. That way everyone will breathe easy! 

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Any advice given is general in nature and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice and must not be relied upon as such. For any healthcare advice, always consult a healthcare practitioner.

Neil Ginsberg is a paediatrician with the Sydney Adventist Hospital.