Runny nose in the infant


In some cases you should definitely contact the pediatrician.

Babies and toddlers are much more likely to have a cold nose than adults. This has different reasons and also different causes.

A real infection, in the sense of an illness, does not always have to be behind it when an infant has a runny nose. In babies, the nose is naturally very narrow. More precisely, it is the infant's nasal passages (Meatus nasi), which still represent an anatomical bottleneck in the first year of life. As a result, a number of stimuli (e.g. bacteria, viruses, allergens, physical stimuli) can lead to an impairment of breathing and a runny nose.

As "Common cold" is usually called the infectious rhinitis, so an infectious one Inflammation of the lining of the nose.

In a broader sense, however, one also counts any in everyday life otherwise caused symptoms to the cold, which is through a impaired breathing and a runny nose excels. Infants do not infrequently in their first year of life up to 10 colds through, in the context of which a cold can occur. For infants, such a cold can extremely agonizing because not only is breathing obstructed, but also Ingestion and the Sleep can also turn out to be very difficult.
Generally the children fall through one restless and tearful manner on. Whether this is "normal" in this sense depends on the course of the disease, the general condition of the child and many other factors medically clarified can be. Hence, one should be with a cold infant go to the doctorespecially when the symptoms last longer than a few days and the child feverish is.

Below is an overview of various possible causes rhinitis in infants and the possible therapeutic approaches. This overview does not claim to be complete and should only be used as a general information be understood.

The common cold ("rhinitis acuta")

The acute rhinitis is an infectious cold for the different germs responsible could be.

There are hundreds of different germsthat can cause a runny nose. Most common, however, are Rhinoviruses and adenoviruses the cause of one viral Sniff. The cold usually lasts some days and is self-limiting. So it is harmless infections.
Adenoviruses have one Incubation period of 5 to 8 days and will via droplet infection and faecal-oral transfer. The Serotypes 1-3 and 5-7 are responsible for respiratory infections. These viruses are also the second most common culprit childish diarrhea (Diarrhea).
In addition to the adenoviruses, the Rhinoviruses at the Development of the runny nose involved in infants. Rhinoviruses belong to the family of Picornaviruses and will also faecal-oral or via droplet infection transfer. The incubation period is a bit shorter than with the adenoviruses and is 1 to 3 days. With up to 50% they are Main causative agent of the runny nose in infants. The disease then lasts in about a week and has two frequency peaks in spring and autumn.

A viruswhich in infants and young children by far more severe respiratory infections can trigger is that RSV (Respiratory syncytial virus). The incubation period is 3 to 7 days. The virus is highly contagious and will by means of droplet and smear infection transfer. In the worst case it could come along with a cold severe respiratory infections how Bronchiolitis, Pneumonia and severe sinusitis trigger. For infants, the germ is particularly as Hospital germ on pediatric wards relevant. That means that infants get the germ in the context of hospital stays can capture.

But also other viruses, how Influenza viruses, can cause acute rhinitis in infants. Therefore should Keep cold people away from babies. Viral infections of the Nasal mucosa can pave the way for one bacterial superinfection level in the infant. That means it's for bacteria through that Previous damage to the nasal mucosa in the context of the cold as well as through the attacked immune system is easier to settle down as well. This is expressed, for example, in a changed appearance of the nasal secretions (see symptoms).


A runny, stuffy nose in the infant, the result can be too dry room air be. Especially in heated rooms, the Air very dry quickly.

But why is this bad for the nasal mucosa of the infant? The nasal mucosa is one natural barrier against pathogens, dirt and other foreign bodies. It also has the function of To warm breathing air, moisten and from to clean said foreign material. In order to be able to fulfill its function well, the mucous membrane must be intact. This also includes them sufficiently moist is.
Dry room air As a result, the nasal mucous membrane dries out and hampers its natural function. This will make the infant more prone to infection and the development of a cold.

Similarly affect one too poor air quality, Cigarette smoke and other pollutants the nasal mucosa. You can prevent this a little by having one in heated rooms humidifier used or damp towels hanging over the radiator. This is how you increase the humidity in the room.

There are various triggers for a cold Pathogens and corresponding diseases into consideration. The Symptoms the diseases in question are sometimes very similar and sometimes only differ in severity, so that a distinction is difficult. To the Main culprits belong here Rhinoviruses, influenza and parainfluenza viruses and the Respiratory syncitial virus (RSV).

Rhinoviruses triggers the classic cold and not for to cough or similar symptoms. There is no drug against these viruses, but the body can handle it on its own. After about a week, the infection will be under control.

An infection from the Respiratory syncitial virus (RSV) often starts with a cold in the upper respiratory tract, dry cough and sore throatto spread to the lower respiratory tract within a few days. Productive coughing increases, breathing speeds up and becomes more difficult. The disease usually lasts between 3 and 12 days, individual symptoms like to cough can affect those affected over 4 weeks accompany long. Usually these infections occur in the Winter months because the viruses can survive longer in cold air and thus remain infectious for a longer period of time. As a result, the virus is a frequent cause of colds during this time. It becomes over Droplet infection, for example sneezing, distributed and transmitted in the environment. Passing on by touching contaminated surfaces, such as hands and objects, also seems possible. Frequently recurring infections occur during a season, which is due to the spread and longer contagiousness the person concerned is favored.

Complications are rather in children with pre-existing underlying diseases of the airways to be expected. It can then become a lung infection, one Otitis media or asthmatic complaints.

The disease becomes symptomatic with increased fluid intake and if necessary with Nasal irrigation carried out. Antibiotics are only useful if there is actually an infection with bacteria. There is no vaccination.

The real flu, also as Influenza known, is perhaps most likely to differ by one very sudden onset of illness to the other colds. Among other things, there are general phenomena such as Headache and muscle pain, dry cough, fever and sweats. In rare cases Vomit and diarrhea possible. The disease can also be very mild.

The flu also occurs more in winter and is means Droplet infection or contact transmitted from virus-covered surfaces. Endangered by the influenza are mainly elderly or immunocompromised people and children under 2 years. A vaccination is therefore useful for these people and should be carried out every year in October or November. After the vaccination, the body needs about 2 weeks to develop the immune system and use the protection it provides. The annual refreshment is necessary because, on the one hand, there are very many subgroups of the virus and, on the other hand, the virus is constantly changing. Vaccines against the most common types of influenza are developed every year. This means that not every subgroup of the flu can be vaccinated, but the most common ones are covered.

The sometimes very classic occurrence of symptoms in people with influenza is a good indication for the diagnosis, the final proof is only through Smear tests for example given by nasal secretions.

If the course is severe, therapy against the virus makes sense; further therapy is more aimed at alleviating the symptoms.


Typical symptoms of a runny nose in babies are restlessness, frequent sneezing and possibly a fever, in addition to a runny nose.

The symptoms of a runny nose in an infant are quite clear. The secretion of a viral rhinitis is clear and fluid, whereas bacterial pathogens bring about a rather tough, yellowish secretion.

In general, the children are very restless, sleep poorly, cry a lot and have to sneeze. The runny nose can be painful because the damaged nasal mucous membrane is very irritated.
There may be a fever and, if it spreads to the lower airways, coughing and breathing difficulties.

The swollen nasal mucous membrane makes it difficult for the infant to breathe through the nose, which can also lead to problems when eating. The infant then finds it very difficult to suckle the food and ultimately refuses to eat in the event of severe discomfort and difficult air supply.
You can find out more about the topic here: Swollen nasal lining

It is not uncommon for the pathogens to spread to other neighboring structures, so that a cold can be associated with a sinus infection or an otitis media, for example. This usually leads to greater pain and even more restlessness in the child.


A Runny nose in the infant should without any complications usually after 2 to 10 days to subside.

It is important to the child to keep an eye on and in the event of complications and uncertainties see a doctor as soon as possible. It does if that Child has a fever, the symptoms worsen and after 7 days at the latest does not subside by itself or additional earache occur. A hint for the latter can be that the infant keeps coming back with his Hands on the auricles summarizes. In addition, the Refusal to eat, refusal to drink, weakness, shortness of breath and rash Reasons to see the pediatrician. But also with existing medical conditions the pediatrician should be consulted.

Otherwise there is activitiesthat can effectively help the infant recover. One should be on one adequate hydration of the infant. This will help liquefy the mucus.
It also helps the baby's nose with physiological saline solution flush through. This loosens the mucus and helps to remove the pathogens from the nose. You can carefully remove the mucus or secretion after rinsing remove with a pipette. On nasal irrigation with essential oils or other additives should rather do withoutas they can irritate the baby's sensitive nose.
Decongestant nasal drops, contain so-called a-sympathomimetics such as xylometazoline and tramazoline. There are those too even in small doses for infants. They constrict the nasal mucosa and act like that decongestant, what the Drains the mucus and makes breathing easier. However, you are enjoy with cautionas they become a so-called Rebound effect being able to lead. The decongestant effect is increasing after about a week so that the nasal mucous membrane swells up again due to the drug. This in turn favors the continued intake of the nasal drops. Therefore one should such medicines sparingly used and ingestion discuss this with a pediatrician beforehand. This also applies to antiviral drugs. Usually they are for a simple runny nose no drugs necessary.

The irritated nasal skin can cared for with an ointment become. In case of fever there is already for infants antipyretic agentswhich the pediatrician can prescribe with a dosage adapted to the body weight. This also applies to antitussive juices. For side effects like Rashes or vomiting should that Drug discontinued and the pediatrician will be contacted immediately. Generally are lots of rest and sleep very important for the debilitated infants to recover quickly.


Through the Connection of the middle ear through a corridor into the nasopharynx it can lead to a migration of the pathogen Otitis media come. Since they are very painful can be, the children express themselves with increased crying or often put their hands to the affected ear.

Over the throat and windpipe germs get too in the lungs, infections with coughs and fever can occur, which can lead to a lung infection can expand. The RSV in particular can lead to infections of the small bronchi or pneumonia, but more so in children with a pre-existing problem of the respiratory tract or the immune system.

A Inflammation of the paranasal or frontal sinuses (Sinusitis) can also arise. The various paranasal sinuses open into the nose at different points. They serve the Weight reduction of the skull and are also with a Mucous membrane lined. If these caves ignite, one often develops Tenderness between the eyes or over the affected areas.

Sore throat are a possible complication, as this area is crossed by microorganisms on the natural route to the lungs.

As long as it is a simple cold you can do it treat at home and cure. In the first months of life it can be very difficult to tell the difference between a common cold and other infections. Therefore should the Pediatrician a visit can be made in the event of a cold, cough or fever. However, there are some signals from the infant that should not make you hesitate long before going to a doctor.

This includes a Fever over 39 ° C or if there is longer than a day persists, at least in very young children. Also one Dehydration is dangerous, it can arise with pronounced reluctance to drink or profuse sweating. Mostly she falls through one less amount of urine than usual or due to dry mucous membranes.

A accelerated breathing with nostrils or even bluish lips is also a warning signal that should be checked as soon as possible.

With strong and productive cough a visit to the pediatrician is also announced. Perhaps in these cases certain medications or measures are important to avoid further deterioration. A cold presents itself as flu out or if complications arise, a Hospitalization become necessary. Sometimes it is easier to get the situation under control again with a targeted stay.


Infants suffer more often with a cold. This can also be done not prevent it entirely. However, there are steps parents can take to at least prevent the infant from becoming infected.

The contact of the baby as well as the person with sick people, i.e. friends, relatives, children etc. with a cold should be avoided in order to avoid infection. It is also recommended to have one Humidifiers in heated rooms to use to a Drying out of the nasal mucosa to prevent.
A good hand hygiene of those who have contact with the baby is also recommended, as a lot of germs can be transmitted through the hands.
In general it also applies that the Breastfeeding of babies very good for a good immune defense is. Therefore, whenever possible, mothers should breastfeed their children for their own purposes Strengthen the immune system.

Avoid contagion

Once the child is infected, you should avoid going to community meetings with the child, at least during the peak of the illness. Has the child with his toys played, you can do this in between times wash up. In this time it should be all the more so kept away from tobacco smoke so as not to further irritate the airways. Visits from friends or relatives can perhaps be postponed until everyone is as healthy as possible.

Also as parent you can of course from a cold affected be. You can try to avoid infecting your child, even if that is usually rather difficult.

For example, you can wash your hands regularlyto reduce the number of germs on the hands. Also 1x handkerchiefs reduce the germs as they can be disposed of directly. Regular ventilation ensures a good indoor climate and reduces the pathogens floating in the air. When sneezing or coughing, sneeze under your arm, not into your hands.

That family members can get infected with each other is also quite normal.


Even in infancy, children can be affected by colds. This can up to 10 times in a cold season occurrence. The immune system must be many Getting to know pathogens firstin order to be able to train a suitable defense. The immune system can only respond to some pathogens after contact with them.

They are just as important in the development or prevention of a cold Mucous membranes in the nose, Mouth and throat. Your personality forms one Barrier against pathogens of all kinds, dust and dirt. She is with movable cilia occupied, transport the particles from the air back to the outside. At the same time the mucous membrane is of one secretion covered by binding particles and preventing them from continuing their way into the body.

In order to be able to exercise their functionality sufficiently, the mucous membranes must therefore always moistened be. A Dehydration due to dry room air or an environment that is too cool favors settlement with Viruses and bacteria. Colds are much more often triggered by viruses, but bacteria sometimes use the temporary weakness of the immune system and also occupy the mucous membranes.

In keeping with the small body size, the connections between the nasal passages and the nasopharynx are correspondingly small. If the mucous membrane of the nose swells a little, it is difficult for the baby to breathe through the nose and begins to breathe more through the mouth. The mucous membranes continue to dry out and viruses make colonization easier. After sufficient reproduction, the barrier is finally broken and an infection is triggered.

A colonization of the nose can also quickly lead to one Expansion of the infection in neighboring areas like Ear or throat or lungs come. Here, too, the close proximity of the various areas favors easy expansion.

In the case of a simple Cold heals the runny nose also in an infant by itselfwithout causing major problems. It can go away within a week, but it can persist for 2-3 weeks. Most commonly, colds occur in the Winter months on.