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Children's Health

One Year Old Has Chronic Rhinitis



One year old girl having rhinitis during 6 month.(clear liquid running from nose). After that bronchitis, ear infection,throat infection, comes up. Other family members picking it up right away. I was told that nothing can be prescribed to treat rhinitis for kid under 2 years. Please give any recommendations to help kid and family.


It’s not unusual for young children to have a runny nose because they are exposed to so many viruses and because they have immature immune systems. It is more likely that viruses or bacteria will get the upper hand and make them ill. Certainly swollen, wet mucus membranes provide a great environment in which microbes multiply. The swelling in the mucus tissues also slows the arrival of infection fighting factors. If it is a matter of allergy, if one or both parents have nasal allergies, the risk of the child also having allergic rhinitis is quite strong.

The child's provider is correct. There are no medications that are approved for children less than 2 years of age. Research consistently shows that medications used by older children and adults to improve symptoms such as a runny nose, cough, etc. are ineffective in relieving symptoms in the young infant and child. Not only that, but the medications can have dangerous effects at their worst, and undesirable side effects at their best in young children. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents not use over-the-counter cold and allergy remedies in their young children and that pediatricians not prescribe such medications for the young. Instead, saline (salt water) nose drops and a nasal aspirator should be used to control the nasal secretions. Running a vaporizer or humidifier may also help during nighttime and nap time.

If allergies do run in the family, it helps to vacuum often, not have allergenic pets such as cats in the home, and to cover mattresses and pillows with allergen reducing covers. There are many resources for helping parents reduce allergen exposure in the home. If these efforts reduce the child's symptoms, allergy is at the root of the problem.

It is also possible, although not very likely, that the child would have cystic fibrosis, septal deviation, nasal polyps (tissue lumps in the nose), choanal atresia (bony blockage in the back of the nose), immotile cilia syndrome (fine hair-like structures that don't move mucus well), or an immunologic disorder such as sarcoidosis underlying the runny nose.

Great resources include:

It is definitely a frustrating problem for parents and the child as well. I hope this information helps.

McInerny, et al. (Eds.) (2009). Textbook of Pediatric Care. Elk Grove Village, ILAmerican Academy of Pediatrics.

Burns, et al. (Eds.) (2009). Pediatric Primary Care. Philadelphia: Saunders.

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Response by:

Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN
Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University