Monday, February 07, 2005

HOW TO GIVE STEAM INHALATION IN CHILDREN

Steam is a very important treatment in children for treating colds, stuffy nose and cough. Not only does it liquefy the mucus, but it also reduces nasal congestion and nasal blockage. In children the role of steam is more as they are not effectively able to cough out secretions and because medicines are more likely to cause side-effects in them.
The major problem in steam lies with the fact that no one likes taking it! Uncooperative children risk getting burnt if they do not take steam properly.
Here are a few tips on how to give safe and effective steam to your child;
  • Use a steamer with a closed top- this way there is a negligible chance of the child getting burnt in case of a spill.
  • Do not force the child to take steam, it is invariably preferable to try and earn their co-operation than to try and force them.
  • Keep the steamer near the bedside (on the floor) with the steam jet directed towards the child's face while they are sleeping.
  • For a smaller child (upto 6-8 months), keeping the baby in your lap while you take steam with a blanket/ cloth covering your face and the child is useful. Remember not to put the baby's face very close to the steam as there skin is very sensitive.
  • For an older child another option is to switch on the hot and cold water in the bathroom to create a sauna like effect and get the child inside and play with him/ tell him a story etc.
  • Keeping the steamer on in the bedroom is not very effective for giving steam as the room size is likely to be large. However this technique can be used in addition to the ones described (to reduce the dryness) above especially when you are using a heater/ warm air blower in the room.

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