As a parent, congestion in your baby is one nightmare you’ll have to face at one point. But, what does it mean when your baby sounds congested but has no mucus upon inspection?
Now, your baby might get the sniffles every once in a while. This happens during the early stages of infant development. It is a perfectly normal part of baby growth, thus, it shouldn’t scare you.
Congestion without any sign of mucus could mean a couple of things as I’ll show you below. It could happen as a result of an allergic reaction or poor quality of the air you live around.
Also, changes in weather and climate, as a whole, have a hand in your baby congesting.
And though most congestions do not go over the rails, you still have to ensure that your baby stays comfortable. For treatment, you can use the essential home remedy solutions for mild cases.
If you suspect the condition is much worse, then make a quick dash to a doctor near you.
Let’s take a deeper look into this.
What are congestions?
Congestions happen when a baby’s nose or breathing tract becomes filled with extra fluids. (In this case, mucus)
Many doctors will let you know that congestion doesn’t have to be as scary as it looks. It is one of the various ways that your body fights off disease-causing viruses and bacteria. The mucus secreted traps intrusive pathogens to stop them from spreading.
Should your baby have congestion, it’s probably a sign that the immune system has triggered a response to a threat. It will leave your tiny human with a blocked nose, labored breathing, or discomfort when feeding.
The sad part comes when your baby has to deal with nasal congestion.
Nasal congestions make breathing much harder because babies don’t know how to breathe with their mouths. A much older child learns how to compromise by breathing using the mouth should they get nasal congestion.
In case of congestion (boogers or no boogers), you have to help your child breathe through the blockage.
As of now, there are 2 kinds of congestions likely to affect your baby:
- Nasal Congestion
- Chest Congestion
This is the most prevalent form of congestion. A stuffy or runny nose is one of the symptoms that characterize it. When it happens, your baby’s feeding will become affected.
And apart from irritants, they could be a result of illnesses like flu and cold.
You can have nasal congestions that either have boogers or, as in this case, have none.
Chest congestion occurs below in a baby’s chest. Most of the time, the reason is that the lungs get filled up with too much fluid. This extra fluid drowns the air sacs and the lungs in general.
Chest congestions are much scarier. Unlike nasal congestions, you can’t do anything superficial to help the affected baby.
The only relief is that between the two types, chest congestions are the least common.
What causes congestion with no mucus in babies?
Babies have super small organ systems to go with their super small bodies. Because of this, your healthy baby could develop congestion from the slightest provocation.
However, certain factors determine how ‘mild’ or ‘blown out’ the congestion will be. Knowing them will help you know how best to offer relief to your baby. This knowledge also goes a long way in helping you determine whether you’ll need a doctor.
I’ve briefly highlighted some of the main causes below:
a. Irritants and allergens
Irritants and allergens affect even human adults. They are elements and compounds suspended in the air or carried on something. They can irritate your nose in different ways.
The same kind of reaction also happens to a toddler if they get exposed to them.
Examples of active irritants are:
- Mold spores
- Kitchen smoke
- Scented cleaning products
- Body perfumes and colognes
- Fresh paint
- Scent diffusers
b. Premature babies
Premature or ‘preemie’ babies are at a greater risk of suffering frequent congestions. This is because they have much smaller and sensitive tracts.
These small air passages can sometimes make them sound like they have a blockage when they breathe.
c. Changes in weather
Changes in the weather around your baby can also bring about congestion with no mucus.
A good example is when the reading outside changes from ‘hot’ to cool and dry. (Like you will experience during the transition from Summer to Fall)
Low humidity weather may also trigger congestion in your baby.
d. Dry air
As with low humidity weather, dry air can also irritate your baby’s nose. Such conditions make the baby’s nasal passage dry out.
You will have dry air inside your house if you like leaving the house heater on for long periods. You may also have dry air inside your house if you stay in a desert climate condition.
e. Deviated septum
This is a condition that occurs when a nasal septum gets displaced to either side of the nose. One of your baby’s nasal passages will become smaller than the other if they have a deviated septum.
The presence of a deviated septum can also lead to congestions. Especially on the smaller, squeezed air passage.
The link between congestion and other illness
You’ve already seen that congestions are not only caused by underdeveloped breathing tracts.
Some cases arise due to other conditions that would have otherwise passed your notice. If left unchecked, such conditions can spread into the baby’s chest and spin out of control.
So, what are some of the illnesses likely to hide under your baby’s congestion?
The milder ones include:
- RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus), and
- Common cold
The more serious ones include:
- Cystic fibrosis
Of the 4 indicated in the latter list, a doctor can detect Cystic fibrosis when screening your newborn.
Signs and symptoms of congestion in babies
The signs and symptoms of congestions vary in a child. Let’s take a look at how it will manifest in each of the two cases:
1. Nasal congestion in babies
Some of the symptoms to look out for in nasal congestion include:
- Noisy breathing
- Light coughs
- Runny or partially blocked nose
- Snoring in sleep
- Troubles with feeding
2. Chest congestion in babies
For chest congestions, the tell-tale signs and symptoms include:
- Rapid breathing
- Wheezing sound as the baby breathes in and out
- Grunting in between breaths
- Loss of appetite or hardship feeding
What to do if your baby has nasal congestion with no mucus
If you have established that your baby’s congestion does not pose any real threats, some home remedies could settle everything.
So, if your little best friend:
- Eats with no difficulties
- Giggles when you goof around
- Sleeps despite the congestion
- Continues dirtying the diapers like clockwork
- Seems content in general
…then you have nothing to worry about. Chances are that the congestion is a temporary situation and your baby will beat it.
Just keep the baby comfortable and always stick around to watch for new developments.
Home treatment plans for congestion
You can go with these home remedies to treat congestions with no mucus in your baby. The thing is, sometimes mucus hides deep back in your baby’s nose. It’s a common thing.
Over time, mucus tends to pile up at the back inside your baby’s nose. This is because babies spend long amounts of time resting on their backs.
Some of the best home remedies include:
1. Saline drops
Using saline drops helps to thin mucus lodged inside your baby’s nose. If the blockage isn’t that serious, your baby might sneeze out the muck after a few drops.
You can buy prescription saline drops over the counter.
2. Warm bath
A nice warm bath at times helps to ease a baby’s tension. It brings much-needed calm to your baby during such times and will help them sleep better.
3. Clean the air
If you have confirmed the presence of irritants in your home, then you must take cleaning action. Ensure that you have rid your house and the baby’s room of allergens, dust, or pollutants.
Wipe every surface clean to clear any traces of spores or dust that may have settled.
Also, it’s a good idea to let your windows wide open to encourage airflow from time to time.
4. Use a mist humidifier
A humidifier helps to lessen the dryness of the air that would otherwise irritate your baby’s nose.
5. Nasal aspirators/Nasal bulb syringes
You can use a nasal aspirator or a nasal bulb syringe to suck out mucus from your baby’s nose. These two will come in handy if the baby is not sneezing to push out the blockage.
Be careful that you don’t insert the equipment far too deep. We don’t want to start another crisis now, do we?
6. Baby positioning
Practice proper positioning to prevent mucus from accumulating at the back of your baby’s nose.
All the same, if your baby isn’t sleeping, let them spend more time in the swing. You can also increase the amount of time that you hold or strap them in their carrier.
You can massage your baby’s temples, forehead, cheekbones, and nasal bridge. Doing this helps to evacuate the nasal passages.
Use the softer, inner sides of your thumbs to give the baby gentle rubs.
When to see a doctor
Some symptoms warn you of more serious diseases.
So, if you spot any of them, you better drop everything and visit a doctor as soon as possible. This also applies when you have tried the home treatment and got no improvement.
Signs that tell you the baby is in pain include:
- Labored breathing that has graduated from the light sniffles.
- Moaning/Grunting at the close of every breath.
- Baby maintains a panicked look.
- If the baby’s nostrils keep flaring in and out with every breath.
- If there is a sharp wheezing sound whenever your baby breathes.
- Extreme difficulties breathing when chewing or swallowing food.
- Ribs tugging hard against the ribs when they draw breaths into their lungs.
- Discoloration – The skin turns blue around the nails and lips.
Important: Keep off any cold medications sold over the counter. If the home remedies above fail, reach out to your doctor for medical advice.
Most of the time the cause of the problem may be due to the allergens and irritants in your house. Getting rid of these irritants and ensuring a generous airflow into your baby’s room will save you the worry.
Also, keep an eye out for any underlying disease that could be the true cause of the congestion. If your baby has mild symptoms, then the home remedies prescribed above will do the trick.
All in all, congestions in the nose are a normal thing amongst these ankle-biters.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article!
Do you have any queries? Feel free to ask me anything in the Comments Section below.
To Happy Parenting!