Treating Baby's Stuffy Nose: How One Common Remedy Could Be Making Him Sicker

Jeanne Sager | Jan 23, 2013 Baby

Baby Bulb Syringe Mold
Mitzi Johnson/Facebook

It's flu season. Also known as the time of year when moms are doing everything they can think of to help a congested baby get comfortable. Have you been relying on that handy little bulb syringe to give your babe a snot-free sleep? You might want to re-think that! The latest photo to go viral on Facebook comes from a Kentucky mom who cracked open her baby's nasal aspirator. What she found inside will give moms chills.

More from CafeMom: How to Help a Kid With a Stuffy Nose Get Some Sleep

Mitzi Johnson said she always cleaned her son's nose bulb with hot soapy water after each use. But photos on her profile -- which have since been shared thousands of times -- show an open syringe chock-full of mold!

Ewww! Ewww! Ewwwwwwwwwww!

Did you know exposure to mold for kids under 1 significantly hikes their risk of developing asthma? And of course if mold is growing in there, who knows what other bacteria could be building up inside one of those syringes ... and is now being shot right up into baby's delicate nasal passages?

More from CafeMom: This Remedy Cured My Daughter of Her Perpetual Stuffy Nose

Johnson is a self-confessed "germ freak" who says she'll never use the bulb again, and she shared the photo to warn other moms who are all jumping right on board. I always liked that the little blue bulb was a more holistic way of treating my daughter's stuffy nose, but one look at all that mold, and I will never, ever buy one of these for a baby shower again.

But of course we're still in the midst of cold and flu season. Babies are still getting snotty noses. So what can you do to keep them comforted? Here are a few mold-free options!

  • Let Them Sleep Upright


    The power of gravity is immense; it can even help clear a stuffy nose! When baby is ready for a nap, don't lie them down flat in the crib; indulge in some snuggle time on your chest or at least tilt the crib mattress so they can get some relief.

  • Run a Humidifier


    The dry winter air makes it harder to fight off respiratory infections, so inject a little moisture into baby's nursery. The moisture will help get the mucus moving and make them much more comfortable, particularly when they're sleeping.

  • Hop in the Shower


    Like the steam from the humidifier, the steam from the shower will help loosen the secretions in there. Besides, how else are you going to get a shower with a sick baby in the house?

  • Spray With Saline


    Like the humidifier, saline sprays moisturize the nasal passages to help get the mucus moving. But where a humidifier works slowly and throughout the day, saline shot directly up their little nose gives more immediate relief. Find a saline spray made specifically for kids -- the applicators are smaller and better able to fit inside their tiny nostrils.

  • Wipe the Outside of the Nose


    Squeamish about picking your child's nose? Hey, it's no worse than a diaper change! With particularly bad colds hardened mucus forms right at the air holes. Use a warm wet washcloth or pre-moistened wipes to gently work away the hard mucus and it will help them get air in there!

  • Use a Washable Aspirator


    I know, I know, we just saw the mold that grows inside an aspirator. But that applies to bulb syringes that are one piece. Others -- like this one from Summer Infant -- are made specifically to be taken apart and disinfected.

baby gear cold & flu

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