Why You Shouldn’t Suction Snot Out of Your Kid’s Nose

And other survival tips for dealing with sick kids.

So, how bad is the flu this flu season? It’s so bad that schools are closing all across the nation. It’s so bad that hospitals are firing workers who won’t get flu shots. It’s so bad, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports, that colleges are begging students returning to campus to wash their damn hands.

But you don’t care about any of that, because your gorgeous, beloved toddler is miserable thanks to the good old-fashioned cold. He’s crying, he has a fever, and he’s covered in so much drippy, gloppy green phlegm that you’re debating whether you should break out the ominous-looking nose-suction thingee you got at your baby shower but have never actually used.

Don’t! That’s what pediatrician Howard J. Bennett advises in this very thorough Washington Post article on what works for young kids with colds (they average six to 10 colds a year!) and what doesn’t. You’ll find a lot of surprises (Did you know the fact that your darling’s snot is green doesn’t mean he needs needs antibiotics? That we all swallow a pint of mucus every day?), especially since lots of cold remedies that do work for adults and even teens do nada for the diaper set.

The article is well worth reading, bookmarking, and then passing on to your friends. I knew Dr. Bennett was the man when I read this sentence: “Keep in mind … that most small children hate having anything put in their noses, and fighting with them to instill drops or sprays could lead to a bloody nose and worse congestion.” Now there’s a man who’s been there, done that.

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