How to treat phlegm & wheezing in infants

Phlegm wheezing is most commonly seen in new born babies. It is a result of normal mucus that collects in one's nose which makes the breathing process difficult thus resulting into wheezing.
General measures to be taken if a baby is affected by phlegm wheezing:

  • In order to make the breathing more comfortable for the baby, it is advisable to place a bowl of tepid water in the room where the baby sleeps. This will increase the level of humidity in the room, which may help loosen the mucus present in the baby's nose
  • Saline drops are very safe and effective to thin-in the thick mucus, enabling the baby to breathe better. Saline drops should be used carefully only in case of phlegm wheezing, as overuse of it would make the area around the nose sore. Try using it before feeds and not after. A pharmacist would be able to advise you the on the dosage and right technique of using it.
  • A nasal aspirator could also be used to suck out the mucus from the baby's nose, rite after the drops as it softens the mucus. But if its overdone or not used carefully it may cause some harm.

You have nothing to worry about if the baby is happy and readily taking feeds. But in case the baby seems to be struggling for breath, not taking feeds or is more cranky than normal, it is better to consult the baby's pediatrician. If required the doctor will prescribe a decongestant nasal drop to be used for a couple of days until the baby seems to have recovered. However if the decongestant drops are used for a longer time than prescribed by the doctor, it could create further problems. So it is advisable to use it for the prescribed time period only. If there is too much phlegm in the chest then the doctor may also recommend nasalization.

Phlegm affects not only children but adults too. It is always good to sneeze, as it takes out some mucus which causes the phlegm. It is very important to check the phlegm color. If its just clear white, or yellow the infection is probably viral, but if the color changes to brown, green or bloody accompanied by fever or any other health problems its best to consult your doctor. This becomes very important as it may require an immediate treatment of antibiotics; else the condition could prove fatal to the child. It is very important to keep the child hydrated with plenty of fluids as that will help thin-in the hard phlegm. Coffee, tea and alcohol do not work as healthy fluids in the body. Instead they dry you out. However to an extent caffeine (in small quantities) could help the wheezing.

answered by G M

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