Nasal hygiene and rhinitis of the newborn, what do we do with mucus?

One of the things we discover when having a baby is that they do not know how to remove mucus. And, in principle, this is not serious because, luckily, we are born with a self-drainage system.

In the secretion-producing mucous membranes we have mini brushes, called cilis, that help the mucus we produce in the nose go towards the throat and we swallow them without us noticing. If, every time we swallow some saliva, the mucus we constantly produce in the nose goes naturally towards the digestive system. And this happens to all mammals, and to all ages. E

But sometimes the mucous membrane of the nose can be inflamed. Some viruses, bacteria or an allergic reaction can encourage the datural production of mucus and cause a blockade of the system. sometimes in the newborn can occur what we call "the rhinitis of the newborn".

In it, without the above causes, the nasal mucosa becomes inflamed and produces more mucus without any microorganism or allergy causing it. When this happens, when the amount of mucus produced increases, it may happen that the system does not give the scope. Here are some of the questions we can ask ourselves:

What happens if the amount of mucus increases or excess mucus affects the baby?

In most cases, nothing important. The self-draining system does its job and we are simply seeing that the baby has mucus and we are finding them in the poops, without further ado.

And what if we see that excessive mucus affects the baby in some way? if the baby finds it difficult to eat, sleep, there is a lot of cough and/or on previous occasions the presence of excessive mucus has led to the appearance of some infection (otitis, bronchitis, pneumonia…) we will get hands on the work to help him to more effectively evacuate the mucus with some nasal hygiene technique.

What are nasal hygiene techniques?

Nasal hygiene technicians usually consist of introducing serum or isotonic seawater through the nostrils. And I say usually, because respiratory physiotherapy gives us an option to disobstruct the nose, in which serum stroduction can become optionsasl: DRR (below I tell you about it).

And what can we introduce serum or isotonic seawater with? In the market there is mutitude of artilugis designed to help families in the process of nasal hygiene: sprays, monodosis, syringes, vacuum cleaners, peres… The device we decide to use will depend on the way in which we want to extract mucus.

What technique do we currently recommend to physiotherapists?

If the baby who is disturbed by excessive mucus in the nose is a healthy base baby, we currently recommend the instylation of little amount of serum for each nasal hole and the realization of a maneuver known as DRR.

There is very little scientific literature that has studied the different ways of cleaning the nose of the little ones in the house. But we do have some studies that claim that DRR is effective and safe.

DRR are the acronym for Retrograde Rhinophrine Deobstruction. Which comes to say that we will uncork the nose and throat carrying the mucus backwards. It is a physiotherapy technique described by Guy Postiaux in the 60s.

How is DRR and previous instylation done?

First we will disinfect some serum or isotonic seawater in each nostril so that the liquid reaches the campum (the back of the nose), and make the mucus less thick. Then, the idea is to close the baby's mouth during inspiration, tightening the base of the tongue (which is located at the base of the jaw) upwards, so that it absorbs the mucus backwards and swallows them.

The previous instilation is done with a monodose or a syringe. With the baby sitting or lying mouth up with his back at 30 degrees, we introduce a minimum of a few droplets and a maximum of 2.5ml of serum or isotonic seawater for each nostril. The idea is that the serum reaches the back of the nose, but without pressure.

And finally, one last question you could get to ask, since relatively few people apply the DRR (yet): "Why had no one told me about this technique until now?" Well, because you needed to have a physiotherapist specializing in respiratory system in your life!

If you want to know more, on the website of Criar Con Centido Común, on whose blog this article was first published in Spanish (May 20, 2020), you will find access to an online course where I talk about nasal hygiene.

Discover how to help you breathe mejor con los consejos de una fisioterapeuta respiratoria con el Seminario Online "Mocos fuera"

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