Medication for Runny Nose

Updated on July 28, 2011
C.G. asks from Folsom, CA
9 answers

Hello mamas,
My son is 3 yrs old and has a cold, mostly congestion and a runny nose. What medication do you give for that? I noticed most of the medications for that are for 4yrs and up. Been giving him tylenol, but I just would like to find a medication that can just target the congestion. Thanks for your help!

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answers from Norfolk on

Nothing beats using a neti pot and rinsing with saline.
Keep him well hydrated and use a humidifier in his room at night.
Decongestants don't really help - they can make the mucus thicker and harder to deal with.
If anything, an expectorant will help keep it thinned out so it drains better (Robitussin - anything with guaifenesin in it. Don't know if Mucinex is ok for a 3 year old).
If dairy thickens his mucus, avoid dairy for awhile till he gets a bit better.

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answers from Miami on

Hi C.,
I would try saline nose drops. They clean out the sinus area, preventing further infection, and have practically no side effects.

Another idea: a humidifier.
Best of Luck, Jilly



answers from Sacramento on

My vote is for the saline nasal sprays.


answers from Providence on

Mucinex for nasal congestion works wonders. Not sure for a 3 year old though. Best to ask a pharmacist or pediatrician.

For my son when he was younger, I kept giving him fluids, along with steaming up the bathroom before he went in for a bath. Once he was in the bath tub for awhile, I would take a warm washcloth and press on his face for a little bit, and also massage his face. Especially between the eyebrows, sides of nose. He usually could blow his nose afterwards and get a lot of it out.

Sometimes those nasal decongestants do more harm then good, especially to little ones. No dairy either.

As a rule of thumb, any cold, sinus congestion that last longer then 10 days, and/or is accompanied by a change in discharge, fever, etc could be bacterial.



answers from San Francisco on

I give my daughter a homeopathic cough/congestion syrup that's for 2yrs and up.

The brand is Similisan and it's called Kid's Cold & Mucus relief. It's for cough/chest congestion/runny nose, but since it's all natural, you don't have to worry that you're giving your child too many medicines.

You can check their website to see where you can buy it. I've bought it at Walgreen's and Lucky, but not sure if you have those stores in your area.

Best Wishes



answers from Saginaw on

My allergist has said that you can technically give a younger child a smaller dose of benedryl to help dry sinus' out. What he told me to do was to take the dosage that is recommended by weight and do the math to get a per pound dose. Then multiply by the child's weight to obtaint the correct dose. However, I would watch this.

The common cold only sticks around for a few days to a week. If the discharge becomes colored, then it may no longer be a simple cold, but an infection. If a cough develops, you should watch that as well since children are more susceptable to upper respiratory infections.

Apple juice thins mucus discharge naturally too!


answers from Denver on

another vote for benedryl


answers from St. Louis on

Benadroyl (I know spelled totally wrong). It does wonders.



answers from San Francisco on

I did get some great advice from my pediatrician and this advice was great. Do not purchase a multi-cold symptom medicine. It can't really treat all symptoms. Treat the Runny Nose and Congestion or just the runny nose first, then the congestion. Then if he has a cough, treat that with just a strong cough formula. This will help tremendously. I know there is mini-melts for congestion from mucinex for kids or really, just plain ole vicks at night, really, really works. Smelly, but works. Also a humidifier too. Good luck.

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