A couple of months ago, we became Best Friends with the only allergist in our small town.  Actually, he’d probably call us HIS best friend first, since I think we single-handedly financed his in-ground pool he just had installed at his home.  Our younger son, now three and a half, was once again going down a road we do not like to travel:  the never-ending Sniffle-Lane and the Ear Infection Highway.  Multitudes of visits, tests (“pokes” on the back – not well-received), nose-swabs and bills later, we discovered that our little guy is allergic to absolutely – NOTHING.  Not even dust (which I welcomed with open arms, realizing my possible days of tedius dusting were now, well, dust).  Our son was (and is) the victim of Germs.  He has a perpetual Cold.  And the nice best-friend-doctor classified him with Vasomotor Rhinitis.

Vasomotor Rhinitis is just a big, fancy way of saying that our little guy’s nose and nasal cavities get highly irritated and swollen when he has a cold.  He exhibits many allergic symptoms, from nasal congestion, runny nose, dark circles under the eyes, and drainage (which naturally leads to the ear infections).  There are many things you can do to ease the symptoms during a cold, but the best advice he gave us was the use of saline.

Giving your child’s (or even your own) nasal passages a saline wash, several times a day, removes the irritants from the cavity and aids in keeping colds to a minimum.  That’s not to say it eliminates them; it just makes them easier to deal with.  our doctor recommended a saline mist spray for about $3 at the local pharmacy and to use it at least 4 times a day.  While that seemed excessive at first, we found that it can be given any number of times.  The saline has an amazing way of keeping the passages moist (instead of drying them out like a decongestant) while helping to clean them out as well. With our little guy, we found that we did have to use the “nose bulb” that he got when he was first born because, well, he isn’t a nose-blower, and that stuff does need to come out.

So far this year, we’ve been fairly cold-free, and the one or two that we have had have been minor compared to what we are used to going through with our preschooler.  We use the saline on a daily basis, and it is such a part of our routine now that our older child also has a nose mister that he uses as well, and neither of them complain about using it.  They both understand that something as simple as saline is helping them stay healthy and is keeping the sniffles at bay.

Saline is an effective, easy, inexpensive tool to use with children when they’re sick (and even well).  And, someone else can finance the allergist’s hot tub this time!