Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Q&A: How Often Should you do Sinus Rinses on a Baby or Young Child?

I'm continuing the Q&A feature on this blog. If you have a question you would like me to answer, please contact me through our contact page.

My son is 6 months old and was diagnosed at birth with cf. I plan to get a [sinus rinse] bottle and use it for future congestion. My question is, would you use it on him twice a day as a preventive measure or only when congestion comes on? He doesn't have daily congestion and I only do cpt [chest physical therapy] for airway clearance. it is really just when he is sick that he has congestion, which has only been once now, but it was a bad one. His older brother and sister do have very bad allergies also, which he may end up having. Thanks for the help.


Dear Nicole,

I can only answer from my experience, since I am not a doctor.

The answer to your question is (in my opinion) is: it depends. Some kids with CF struggle with sinus issues and then others have major digestion issues. There are those with CF who don't have as many digestion issues, but the lungs are a primary concern. In our case, Peter's sinuses have been one of the most prevalent complications of his CF. (Peter was diagnosed at a year and a half. Shortly after that, his chronic sinus problems prompted our CF doctors to refer him to an ENT.)
NeilMed Sinus Rinse Saline Nasal Rinse, Premixed Packets
So, I would talk to your CF specialists about their recommendations for using a sinus rinse. If your little one doesn't have a lot of sinus concerns, they may recommend just sticking with the CPT without a sinus rinse. Or they may recommend using a rinse on occasion. If it were me, I would (at minimum) use sinus rinses when your son is congested from sickness or allergies as a way to clean out those passages. As to the frequency, it really depends on your doctors' recommendation and how much mucus and discharge you are getting out of the sinus rinse.

For Peter, we do sinus rinses1-2 times a day as his ENT recommends. We increase that when Peter is sick, congested, struggling to breathe (in the sinuses), or just sounds "snotty." I can tell Peter needs to do more sinus rinses in the day if the rinse dislodges more than a few small boogers. (Sorry, guys. I have to be kind of gross now.) If we get a stream of snot and mucus (yes, it can be that bad), we know Peter is really clogged up and his sinuses need more frequent cleaning out during the day. We have done up to 5 or 6 rinses a day when Peter is really ill. Peter is getting to know his own sinuses and acknowledges when he needs to "do his nose," so that's also really helped.

For my husband and myself, we do sinus rinses when we are sick or have allergies. The nose is really the first line of defense when it comes to sickness, so when I feel congestion coming on, I go for the sinus rinse. I know your older two would probably benefit from sinus rinses as well!

You can read more about sinus rinses on my previous Q&A post: http://peterspavementpounders.blogspot.com/2011/08/q-can-i-do-sinus-rinses-on-baby.html

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