19 answers

Runny Nose Contagious?

Hello Mommas,

Today I took my almost 20 month old to a story time. While we were there, we encountered a child who had a terrible runny nose. It was literally dripping down her face and her mom didn't seem bothered by it. (clear mucus, btw) I was a little annoyed because my DD is just getting over being sick and I feel as though I have exposed her to another cold. How contagious are runny noses? My DD didn't really have any contact with this child other than being in the same little area. uggh. Am I overreacting? Any info would be helpful! Thanks :)

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

It depends what causes the running nose. If she had allergies - then no, you couldn't catch it. Since you said the mucous was clear -- that's generally a sign that there isn't an infection. If the runny nose was caused by a virus, then yes - it would be contagious.

Think of it like an upset stomach -- if you had food poisoning you would not be contagious. On the other hand if you had the flu you would be contagious. A runny nose is a symptom -- you can have a symptom for many reasons, it depends what the reason is on whether or not it's contagious.

2 moms found this helpful

I wouldn't worry too much. Clear mucus usually isn't anything to worry about and usually says the person isn't sick. If you see mucus that is green-yellow in color, that shows signs of an infection. :D Don't worry...as a mother, you have every right to overreact! ;) *hug*

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

It's impossible to answer your question without knowing the cause of the child's runny nose.

It could be allergies which are not contagious. It could be a bacterial infection which may be contagious if the child isn't being treated with antibiotics. It could be viral for which there is no treatment. It could be something completely unrelated without explanation (like being outside on a cold day).

It honestly doesn't bother me to have my kids around other kids who are sick - mostly because of my degree in biology and career in the pharmaceutical industry as I know most of the surfaces we think are "safe" are horribly contaminated.

We have 2 kids - our son is hardly ever sick. He's almost 4 and has had 1 ear infection. Our daughter just turned 2 and is getting ready to have tubes for the 2nd time. She's always sick - different kids, different immunities. They're both in day care and exposed to the same environment. One is just more prone to being sick.

But, the only way our bodies can build immunities to illnesses are to be exposed to them and to develop antibodies (this is how vaccines work).

I hope this information helps you feel a little more comfortable with the situation.

4 moms found this helpful

Hi there.

I know exactly what you are talking about. We are actually on lockdown today because both my kids are sick with colds. I am a strong believer in keeping the extra germs away from other kids. I definitely don't think other parents always behave the same way.

With that being said, it's important to remember that we pick up germs from everything we touch. We need to have some germs to build up a stronger immune system. It's a necessary process. HOWEVER, do see where you are coming from and that would annoy me too. I wouldn't worry too much about your child getting another cold. I think we need to make sure that we are behaving the way we want others to behave. SO, I won't bring my kids to an enclosed play area where they are chewing on toys and spreading more germs and I hope that other parents would also do the same. Unfortunately, we can't control other people... But, we can control the choices we make.

Take care...

4 moms found this helpful

It depends what causes the running nose. If she had allergies - then no, you couldn't catch it. Since you said the mucous was clear -- that's generally a sign that there isn't an infection. If the runny nose was caused by a virus, then yes - it would be contagious.

Think of it like an upset stomach -- if you had food poisoning you would not be contagious. On the other hand if you had the flu you would be contagious. A runny nose is a symptom -- you can have a symptom for many reasons, it depends what the reason is on whether or not it's contagious.

2 moms found this helpful

I know what you are talking about, I'm usually not quite about it though. I used to just stay clear, but if it's bad, I will say something...like I think your child needs a tissue, does he/she have allergies? This gives you some knowledge and also makes mom aware of the issue.
Clear fluid out the nose is not contageous, but if you are concerned call your doctor.

1 mom found this helpful

The first few days of a cold are very contagious and it would be considerate to keep a child home. However, you don't want to teach a child to run and hide every time they have a cold. Once they start school a cold is rarely a good reason to keep them home. So, even though the cold can still be contagious for several days it is probably lesser contagious after the first few, and people do have to go about their business.

The child you saw could have seasonal allergies too. The nose may run the entire season.

Your child might very well benefit from some good vitamins to help her build her immunity and have less bouts of illness. I can make some great suggestions if you like.

Be Well,

P.

1 mom found this helpful

I wouldn't worry too much. Clear mucus usually isn't anything to worry about and usually says the person isn't sick. If you see mucus that is green-yellow in color, that shows signs of an infection. :D Don't worry...as a mother, you have every right to overreact! ;) *hug*

1 mom found this helpful

I would have been very mad & probably left. Some might think it's overreacting but then they don't have to sit up all night with a sick baby. It always bothers me when someone brings an obviously sick baby to a group gathering. So yes, I would say that the baby may have been contagious & I hope that your baby doesn't get sick. Next time, I would just leave. Sometimes I actually ask if their baby is sick & this brings some attention to the fact that they others might actually care about this. Hope your little one is okay.

1 mom found this helpful

If it was clear it could be allergies. My son constantly has a runny nose. Don't assume she wasnt bothered by it. When your child has a runny nose all the time, you tend to not react as fast to it being there. Not that she should have wiped it, but she may just not have noticed yet.
I have been known to also wipe other kids noses too...usually not a perfectr strangers kid, but I have done that too at playgroups. I figure better safe than sorry...

P.S. I always wonder why we all assume our kids get sick only from other kids. When my son gets a cold, people say, "oh well he goes to daycare..." I say, "yeah and he goes to the grocery store, Walmart, Home Depot, the park, etc too!" Those places are FAR worse than anything at daycare!!! We treat kids with runny noses like they have the plaque then we leave and head right over to the grocery store and plop them in a cart...wierd??? I say let them eat dirt!

1 mom found this helpful

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