Friday, 30 April 2010

A River of Snot!

At work the other day I was discussing with a colleague the absence of the little boy she is assistant to. He has been off for a week with a streaming cold and my colleague asked me if children with Down's are especially susceptible to colds and catarrh. So I explained why, and she was very interested as she had no idea .

The central part of the face in children with Down's is smaller than average, which also means that the 'tubes' within the sinuses are narrower. When the children are very young, this causes colds to easily turn into infections and hence the continuous stream of mucus. It contributes to congestion - croup can be a risk also.

It is advisable to help your child out when they are like this - decongestants will ease the situation considerably. Not only is being constantly 'bunged up' uncomfortable for the child, it can also be very scary not being able to breathe normally. A vapouriser in the child's bedroom can help them to sleep easier as can a bowl of hot water with Vicks or eucalyptus oil in it to create an aromatherapy effect. (Obviously place any bowls of hot water in a safe place!)

A tip - try and teach your child from as early as possible how to blow their nose - it's quite a hard thing to do when you are little, but if they are able to express some of the mucus on their own, it helps considerably. Helps us poor teaching assistants as well!

Croup can be terrifying for any small child, but a child with Down's will not necessarily understand being told to calm down and try to breathe normally during an attack. An effective way of relieving the condition until you are able to see your doctor is to shut you and the child in a small room (the bathroom is usually best) with the hot water running and a kettle boiling in order to create plenty of steam. This goes a long way to easing breathing and bringing up phlegm. It is not a cure by any means - I would recommend taking the child to a doctor.

Generally, once the child reaches about 8 years old the nasal passages will have grown and the amount of colds will hopefully decrease and you will be free of the river of snot!

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