Saline Rinse: Effective Treatment for Colds in Children

In the wake of the FDA's warning against giving young children cold medicines (see FDA Warns Parents Against OTC Cold Meds for Young Children), many parents may wonder how to treat cold symptoms in their young children.

The ABC News Medical Unit reported yesterday, in an article entitled Saline Rinse May Cut Cold Symptoms, that ‘treating stuffy noses with a saline wash could represent a drug-free, potentially effective approach.’Instead of using cold medicines, parents can use saline rinses to treat their children's colds.

A study conducted by Czech researchers looked at 401 children between the ages of 6 and 10 who were suffering from cold or flu symptoms. Some participants received standard cough or cold medicine, while the others received the medication plus a saline nose rinse. The research demonstrated a marked improvement in symptoms including stuffy nose, sore throat, coughs, and nasal congestion in the group that had received the saline nasal rinse.

Not only so, but Dr. Ivo Slapak, the leader of the investigation, adds, ‘The study results show that saline nasal wash significantly improved nasal symptoms in the common cold in children, and shows potential to prevent the recurrence of upper respiratory tract infections.’

The study also showed that those who used the saline nasal rinse used less drugs than the those who didn't use the nasal wash: only 9 percent in the saline group used fever-reducing drugs, while 33 percent who didn't use the saline rinse used these drugs. The use of cold medications showed similar results: while 47 percent of the non-saline rinse group used nasal decongestants, only 5 percent of the saline wash group felt the need to use them.

To add to the good news, the study showed that the saline wash had no significant adverse effects. The saline rinses are believed to aid in the treatment of nasal congestion and other problems by clearing out the nasal passages. Clearing out the nasal passages in turn reduces the amount of inflammatory compounds in the respiratory system.

Dr. Anne Moscona of the New York Weill Cornell Medical Center states, ‘[H]ere's a simple remedy that has no risk, that is not only good, but intrinsically better than over-the-counter cough and cold medications. I would suggest my patients choose this approach.’ Now that should reassure parents.

President of the American Rhinologic Society, Dr. Marvin Fried, confirms: ‘I would encourage parents to use this method, and have long advised the use of saline spray in kids.’

Neti pots are becoming increasingly popular for treating sinus problems with a saline nasal rinse.Sprayable sinus rinses and other sinus relief products are useful in performing saline nasal washes. This news coincides with the recent surge in popularity of the neti pot, which was endorsed on Oprah last year. The neti pot facilitates saline nasal washing,and may well become a standard household product for cold-prone children, allergy sufferers, and anyone who needs relief from nasal congestion.

2 thoughts on “Saline Rinse: Effective Treatment for Colds in Children

  1. laura October 8, 2008 / 12:27 pm

    Nose washing is a great way to ease nasal congestion in our kids. Nasopure has a product for kids. Little Squirt is designed with children in mind. Minimal bending & twisting.

  2. mommy v June 11, 2013 / 12:19 am

    How do you do it?

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