How to Fix Chronic Postnasal Drip in Children

girl (6-7) asleep with teddy bear
Postnasal drip symptoms are often worse when lying down. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Postnasal drip is the sensation of accumulated or dripping mucus from the back of the nose. Chronic postnasal drip persists longer than two months and often occurs in conjunction with allergies, chronic sinusitis or gastroesophageal reflux disease. Some medications and several structural abnormalities can also increase mucus secretion, and children may develop the condition if they have a foreign body stuck inside the nose. If left untreated, chronic postnasal drip in children can cause chronic cough, sore throat, voice hoarseness and problems eating.

Step 1

Undergo testing by an otolaryngologist to determine the cause of your child's symptoms. Using a scope or CT scan, the doctor can detect structural abnormalities, lodged foreign bodies, pockets of infection and other potential causes. If the doctor can find and treat the underlying cause, your child's postnasal drip may be fixed.

Step 2

Use saline nasal rinses on your child to help clear thick mucus and relieve throat soreness. The American Academy of Otolaryngology recommends flushing the nose two to four times every day and using saline sprays to keep the inside of the nose moist.

Step 3

Offer your child extra fluids to thin his nasal secretions and prevent dehydration. Avoiding diuretic medications and caffeinated sodas and other beverages is also important.

Step 4

Give your child a prolonged course of broad spectrum antibiotics to treat chronic postnasal drip associated with chronic bacterial sinusitis.

Step 5

Treat allergic causes of chronic post nasal drip with antihistamines, steroid sprays and avoidance measures. Your doctor will work with your family to uncover any allergens that may be contributing to your child's symptoms.

Step 6

Elevate the head of your child's bed by at least 6 inches, feed him dinner earlier in the day and avoid foods that cause heartburn or worsen symptoms. These measures can help fix chronic postnasal drip associated with acid reflux. In severe cases, your child may need over-the-counter antacids or prescription medications to manage his reflux.

Things You'll Need

  • Saline nasal rinse

  • Saline nasal spray

  • Over-the-counter antihistamine

  • Over-the-counter antacid

Warning

Report a worsening of or change in your child’s symptoms to your doctor immediately, even after receiving a diagnosis. Rarely, postnasal drip may result from throat cancer or another serious underlying disease.

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