How Long Does It Take for Congestion to Clear Up?

Updated on March 29, 2010
S.S. asks from Los Angeles, CA
6 answers

My 10-month old has been almost constantly congested since he got sick about 2-3 months ago. My pediatrician has said that its normal for congestion to stick around "forever" but is it really normal for it go on this long? He keeps getting a phlemgy cough because of the congestion and I think it might be something new (i.e. he was sick and now he's teething and now it's spring allergies) which is possible but just worried that all this constant congestion is bad for his lungs, health, etc. Have any of you experienced this and how did you help it to go away?

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answers from Seattle on

My son was congested for several weeks and my doctor also said that he was fine. The only thing is is that he also started sleeping all day and night and my normally highly active kid became lethargic. The same pediatrician said again that he was fine. I took him to another doctor. My son had pneumonia. Thankfully with antibiotics he started showing signs of his true self within 24 hours. I took him back to his 'regular' pediatrician for the follow up and AGAIN he said that he had been FINE and he "found it hard to believe" that my son had anything. The other doctor promptly sent over the X rays. And the only things he said then was 'humph' I guess he did have. Trust YOUR feeling. Nobody knows your son like you. If he shows others signs , get a second opinion. My boy was less than 2 years old and could climb the drawers to get on the counter he was so hyper.Then all of a sudden he was sleeping the entire day, and only breast feeding. His doctor did NOT have the answer nor care.



answers from Minneapolis on

I remember my daughters being congested FOREVER when they were younger. Between flu bugs, teething, and sinus infections sometimes it felt never ending. Some things to do that can help:

1. Probiotics are huge in boosting everyone’s immune systems. You can look for foods that are high in probiotics, like yogurt, but I suggest taking supplemental probiotics. I have found that the Florify brand of probiotics is great and very affordable.
2. Bring the whole family to see a Chiropractor. I am a BIG proponent of chiropractic adjustments for everyone, including infants. I got adjusted during both my pregnancies and my children have been adjusted since they were days old. Be sure that you see a pediatric specialty chiropractor for your son…there are chiropractors that will adjust infants and children without specialized training and it may not be a good experience.
3. Crank up the humidifier, especially at night. I also put a tablespoon of sol-u-mel in the humidifier to clean the air.
4. Use essential oils. When my girls get congested I rub them down with essential oils, R.C. and Raven. I order mine online through Young Living, but I’m sure you can find them at natural food stores. The oils usually help clear out their sinuses and get the gunk out. It doesn’t treat the infection, but keeps them more comfortable. I use the oils all over their hair, clothes, bed sheets, blankets (avoid the eyes) etc. and reapply 3-4 times a day until their symptoms clear.



answers from Pittsburgh on

My son is 7 and he is VERY OFTEN congested with a phlegmy cough. It's very frustrating. He ends up on antibiotics when it's a really bad sinus infection.
One thing that I have found that really, really helps is a cool mist humidifier in his room at night...left running all night long. It seems to help keep his passages moist and cuts down on the (sorry!) crusty nose boogies in the morning at least.
It's even worse when they're little like yours b/c they can't even blow their noses and/or cough up the mucous......hang in there. Good luck!



answers from Denver on

There are so many reasons why... as you mentioned. The humidifier helps and at this age, I am a huge fan of saline rinses. Even if you just get some Simply Saline and squirt some up there a few times a day, it keeps the mucus thin and flowing. Also milk can add to congestion, so make sure he's getting enough liquids but not lots of milk. Good luck - I know the feeling... .poor guy!



answers from Honolulu on

There are 2 kinds of congestion:
1) Lung/chest congestion
2) Nose congestion

Which kind does your baby have?

If lung/chest congestion... I would not let that just linger and go on and on. Your Ped should keep monitoring that... or watching out for any secondary infections...

If nose congestion... it can be also lingering and from the sinuses.... which the mucous then drips down the throat, and causes coughing or phlegm/mucous that comes out from the mouth, via coughing etc.
-For sinus congestion and post-nasal drip down the throat... it can also.... sometimes cause lung infections. So watch out for that.
I had that happen to me once... and I then got a lung/bronchitis problem... ie: a secondary infection.

For any of the above... watch out for any secondary infections... fever, newly arising symptoms or worsening of symptoms. Or ear infections.

I would not say that it is "normal" for things like this to go on for MONTHS... or "forever"... .but many times it does linger.
But your baby is under 1 year old.... so keep an eye on it.
And take him back into the Doctor... if you feel you need to do so.

Or, get a 2nd opinion.

All the best,



answers from Los Angeles on

Our 15 month old has been "diagnosed" with allergies according to the pediatrician. It seems like it gets worse when the weather changes or there is a lot of kids in daycare sick. Also, it will clear up and then a week or two later, come back. So, he may have allergies like ours and I wouldn't worry about it. At this age it seems they are sick or congested 90% of the time. If you're still worried about it, check with the pediatrician, maybe he has developed an allergy to formula, if he drinks formula.

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