Nighttime Post Nasal Drip in Children

Postnasal drip is responsible for 50 percent of lingering coughs that last more than three weeks, according to "Kelley's Essentials of Internal Medicine." While adults are coordinated enough to manage swallowing and coughing with mucus in the throat, postnasal drip causes children to wake more frequently at night with soreness in the throat, coughing and general discomfort. Understand why postnasal drip is such a problem for your little one to better treat his overall symptoms.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Caught in the Act

Observe your child during the night to see and hear the problem, especially if she is too young to explain what's causing her discomfort. Children have trouble with postnasal drip because they swallow less at night, which allows mucus to pool in the throat. This results in frequent waking and coughing. It often causes a choking sensation, pain in the throat and difficulty swallowing during the day.

Underlying Culprits

Postnasal drip has a variety of causes. Even a simple bacterial infection clogs the sinuses, which prevents proper drainage. If your child has allergies, hay fever and allergy season can also be the culprit by causing congestion in the sinus passages. A common cold is also a cause of postnasal drip.

Making it Better

The type of treatment needed for your child's postnasal drip depends heavily on the actual cause. When postnasal drip is a symptom of the common cold, keep your child comfortable and ride out the symptoms. Antibiotics are reserved for bacterial infections, such as sinusitis. If symptoms are the result of allergies, talk with your pediatrician about medications appropriate for children's allergies.

Managing Symptoms

Whether you're waiting for the medication to take its course or simply waiting out a cold, make your child more comfortable while experiencing postnasal drip. Installing a humidifier in her bedroom helps moisten the air; mucus then slides down the throat more easily. Offering plenty of liquids has a similar effect; liquids lubricate the throat for increased comfort.