clogged nose
Image Credit: Kourtlyn Lott on Flickr

Certain natural remedies for your child’s symptoms of congestion have withstood the test of time and can still be part of your doctor’s preferred steps in treating sinus-related issues. These inexpensive and accessible treatments soothe discomfort and provide fast relief and in many cases, they can help speed up the recovery process.

1. Savory Soups Do Work

With young children being more prone than adults to catching colds, having go-to remedies on hand to help through the worst of the symptoms is a constant necessity. It’s not always easy to get your child to cooperate with taking a medicine or to do any tasks that require exertion or effort.

Chances are, though, that they’ll respond to a bowl of savory, steaming soup to try and relieve those uncomfortable symptoms. Thankfully, research shows that this actually works fine to help open up nasal passages and soothe stuffed up sinuses.

It’s possible the reason almost any soup will do is because of the heat and steam it gives off, but the act of swallowing, chewing and stretching the jaw also helps clear the Eustachian tubes of the ear and relieve the pressure of blocked canals. You can increase the nutritive value and impact of ingredients by using recipes designed for treating congestion, which often includes aromatic or potent flavors.

Recipes that include ginger, garlic or onion can be especially effective. Soups made with chicken contain cysteine, an amino acid that enables your body to break down mucus. Warm liquids like clear broths also moisten those same membranes, relieving the inflammation that leaves them clogged.

2. Try to Spice It Up

While it may be common knowledge that spicy foods can help open up sinus congestion, it’s not always easy for children to tolerate the heat and flavor of the more powerful peppers and blends. Soups may be a great way to deliver a hint of spice to help the nasal passages start to open, but a dark chocolate made with cayenne could also be an enticing way to help your child try this natural remedy.

Because their mouth and throat may be too sensitive for straight application of spicy foods as a remedy, combining a non-spicy ingredient can be used. Peppery mustards mixed with any mayo make a sandwich spread that tamps down the bite from the heat but still gets to work on relieving congestion. Because they are often connected symptoms, relieving pressure in the sinus cavity can lead to drainage for clogged ears, as well.

Unless an allergy prevents its use, adding cinnamon to sweet dishes is another way to use spice for children who may not enjoy savory dishes with heat. Cookies or bowls of oatmeal would be another way to serve up this natural remedy.

3. Steaming Safely with Children

Using steam as a natural remedy for clogged noses and ears has known benefits when done carefully and correctly. While adults might be used to putting a towel over their head and leaning over a recently boiled pan of water, this isn’t the safest setup for children of any age.

Manufacturer’s make a number of vaporizers and diffusers that work better for using steam treatments in a safe and contained manner with children. Parents can still choose to use their own kitchen and pans but should be extremely careful about keeping the hot water out of reach while it steams the room. Sitting in a bathroom with a hot shower running can be another way to steam with your child, though they should never be left alone while the hot water is running.

If you’re wondering how to unclog ears easily and rapidly, adding ingredients to the steaming water that helps with congestion, such as tea tree oil, is another way to make this method work well for children who may not tolerate a topical cream or rub like some menthol ointments. Depending on a parent’s preferences, certain essential oils may also be safe and helpful for relieving congestion when steamed. Essential oils should never be used without dilution or internally, even in the ear canal, without consulting a healthcare professional first.

4. Natural Saline Solutions

At their young age, children may not be able to use many common over-the-counter decongestant treatments because of pharmaceutical safety limitations. Among the most recommended in safe, at-home choices involve using natural saline solutions in a variety of ways.

Teaching them to gargle with warm salt water works as a rinse for the throat that not only cleanses away sinus drainage but helps to soothe the inflammation that contributes to their congestion. Sprays or rinsing solutions for the nasal cavity are also proven ways that saline cleans and clears out mucus. When treating ears blocked by excess or impacted wax, using 2-3 drops of safe oils such as baby oil or mineral oil can soften the wax and ready it for a gentle syringe rinse with cool water.

5. Hydrating Always Helps

Making sure your child drinks plenty of water helps their system speed through mucous production and soothes membrane inflammation associated with congestion. This also works towards comforting headaches and soreness, too.

If a child is struggling to enjoy the taste of plain water, then heating and serving a small portion with honey and lemon can be one way of gaining their interest. The steam and warmth of the drink might also add to the healing effect; honey and lemon are also beneficial ingredients for comforting symptoms of congestion and illness. The simple process of swallowing frequently can alleviate pressure in blocked ears by changing the pressure and encouraging drainage.

Using natural remedies on their own or as a supplement to over-the-counter and prescription treatments can provide your child with a lot of comfort and, in some cases, a treat that nourishes their health, too. Making simple, safe at-home practices a part of any action plan for childhood congestion and colds can ease how difficult they may be.

Mike Jones is a health & fitness focused content writer.