How do you treat chronic congestion in children?

Some children suffer from chronic congestion from the early stages of infancy. Often, the causes of this ongoing condition are unknown and the efficacy of the treatments vary from providing temporary relief, complete relief, to no relief at all. Chronic congestion in infants and children is not simply disturbing for the children and their parents, but can also have more complex and long-term effects, such as repeated ear infections, that in turn impact on young children's hearing and speech development, and even their ability to sleep through the night. Furthermore, children who are forced to continually breathe through their mouths are at higher risk of developing abnormalities to the way their teeth and facial bones grow.

Many pediatricians will suggest a surgical route for dealing with chronic congestion in children. This will primarily include the removal of the child's adenoids and possibly the tonsils too. However, because congestion can be caused by a range of environmental factors, which infants and children are particularly sensitive to, such as dry air, irritants, and allergens, surgery will not provide significant relief from chronic congestion, as long as the underlying causes are not sufficiently addressed.


Chronic congestion caused by allergies to environmental factors and diet can be diagnosed through blood tests and other allergy tests. Identifying allergens and removing them from your child's home, and eliminating congestion-causing foods from your child's diet, may provide long-term relief from congestion, along with other health problems caused by continued exposure to allergens.

Children are too young for nasal sprays and most nasal steroids. Therefore, to help your child cope with chronic congestion, try relieving some of the symptoms by applying saline drops (made with water and salt or baking soda) into the child's nostrils. This will help moisten the nasal passages and clear dried secretions. Also, increase the moisture in the air by using vaporizers. Furthermore, ask your child's pediatrician about medications available to help relieve congestion.