Phlegm & chest congestion and a few related issues in kids – Things to keep in note

Breathing problems are quite common – from a newborn to a senior citizen, it affects all. Phlegm is the reason behind most cases, which may cause cough and breathing problems. If you avoid such conditions, it can lead to major issues and diseases like pneumonia giving life threats to younger ones. Let’s know more about this condition and treatment methods.

Never neglect cough in kids

Cough and throat infections are common symptoms to many diseases in kids. Till a child reaches 5, such symptoms are visible up to 5 times a year. It’s easy to treat fever, but not cough. If the cough and phlegm issues stay for more than 1 week, never neglect it or do self-treatment.

Disease germs, dust, pollen grains etc enter human body through different ways. Germs present in mouth and air too may lead to many disease conditions. Cold climate, rain, cold food and water can reduce body temperature, which provides better conditions for disease germs to multiply. Disease germs grow well in cold conditions. When body cools, immunity power also decreases, which also helps disease germs to enter the body easily.

So extra care should be taken, and give no space for disease germs to enter the body or stick on body parts. Phlegm of mucous and sticky nature plays an important role to resist the multiplication of germs, and also blocks their entry into the body. It acts like a protection shield. When body is exposed to more germ attack, as a sort of fight with them, body produces more phlegm. Excess production of phlegm may lead to the condition such as chest congestion and chesty cough, which may lead to breathing issues, asthma, wet cough, hacking cough with huge amount of mucous, frequent throat-clearing, excess mucus in the inner portion of noses and sinus etc.  

Any portion of the breathing track which extends from nose to lungs can be affected resulting in the production of phlegm. Some kids have an unhealthy practice to wrap paper and place in nostrils. Some may also place beads, flowers etc also, and in this condition phlegm is produced in nostrils. If phlegm with bad odour comes out of one nostril only, you need to consult an ENT surgeon and clear the doubt if something is placed inside.

Sinus opens towards nose, which acts as air containers, and they are located near to nose. If there is infection in sinus, the nose will be filled with mucous. Head ache could be another symptom. For throat infection, the lungs may produce noise while breathing air in. It’s due to the presence of phlegm in throat.

No need to fear if phlegm is swallowed

When you spit phlegm through cough, the bacteria and virus causing infections are flushed out along with it. It’s one of the natural methods used by human body to give relief to infections too. The germs which are flushed out through cough can easily attack another person. That’s the reason why it’s advised not to spit phlegm at open places. You can spit in wash basin or containers not used for any purpose. If so, dig a hole in soil and earth it.

In true sense, phlegm is not to be spitted. Among all living beings, only humans follow this process. Small kids may not spit instead. Instead they keep phlegm in their mouth for some time and swallow it later. The germs which reach stomach are destroyed by hydrochloric acid. When they travel forward, digestive enzymes destroy the remaining germs as well, and later flushed out through excreta. This one is the natural and best method. So you need not feel worried if kid has swallowed phlegm.

Solutions for cold

Younger kids are prone to diseases most, and hence if elders are affected with fever and cold, they should keep themselves away from them. If mother has cold or cough, a breast feeding child can easily get affected by cold, and hence during the rest hours she should keep safe distance from kid. Wash your hands properly using soap and remove moisture before you take your kid in hand. Avoid coughing and sneezing in front of kid. Never hold that handkerchief in your hands too. These are the easy paths for infected germs to reach child’s body. It’s advisable to use a face mask covering mouth and nose.

For the conditions of cold, cough and chest congestion, kids may find difficult to breath. But he doesn’t know how to breathe through mouth. He may cry restless and opens his mouth. Thus he breathes naturally. To open the nostrils, pour 1 or 2 drops of saline nasal drops in each nostril.

If you don’t have nasal drops in your home for emergency, you need not worry. Boil water in a small vessel. When it boils well, add a little salt and mix well. Taste if concentration of salt is equal to that of tear drops. Allow this water to cool and then drop one or two drops into the nostrils of the child. If his nostrils are closed, he may find difficult to drink milk. Use this salt solution as nose droplets and then feed him.

For elder kids, if nasal drops don’t give effective results, steaming could be the alternative solution. Instead of covering the whole head with cloth, just expose his face to steam, and ask him to take breaths. Vapourizers can be used for this purpose. For small kids, take a small towel and dip in hot well, squeeze well and place beneath the nostrils. While doing this process, some elder person should be present aside him. Otherwise it may invite dangers.

The phlegm condition and chest congestion may not be noticed in pneumonia in the early stages. Symptoms such as fever and high breathing rate should never be neglected. Normal breathe rate of newborns below 2 months old is 60, for kids below 1 year is 50 and for higher ages is 40 per minute. If the breathing rate is higher than mentioned above, diagnosis for pneumonia is to be conducted.

Special care for kids exposed to allergy

Breathing problems are often associated with allergy too. The breath may be accompanied by sound, but not fever. If cough and breathing problems sustain for more than a week, you need to diagnose the existence of allergy conditions. In this case, the root cause of allergy is to be found out and treatment is to be carried out properly. Otherwise the condition may slowly transform to asthma with serious breathing issues. Kids with skin allergy should be given extra care. Kids with asthma may give an illusion for phlegm and chest congestion. But mucous may not present in his cough. In this case, the disease won’t be transmitted to another person (if only due to allergy).

It’s a myth that asthma patients should take medicines throughout their life time. If real reasons behind asthma are found out, and medicines taken as suggested by doctor, it’s possible to get rid of asthma caused by allergy.  

Image source: Pixabay, Youtube screenshots   

Also read a few more articles related to child diseases & treatments and also child care. Click on the images in the gallery to read

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A freelance writer and blogger by profession since October 2011, interested in writing over a wide range of topics. Hope you enjoy my writings. I belong to one of the beautiful places of the world, Kerala, nicknamed as 'God's own country'.

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