Dear Dr Nina: Help - my two-year-old always has a runny nose!
Q My two-year-old daughter constantly has a runny nose. She has no other symptoms and doesn't appear sick whatsoever. What could be the cause, and how can I solve this messy problem?
Dr Nina replies: It sounds like she may have rhinitis and / or enlarged adenoids. Adenoids are lymph tissue similar to tonsils, but are located behind the nose high at the top of the throat behind the nose. Unlike tonsils they are not visible on an exam of the mouth.
Adenoids, like tonsils, help our bodies fight infection. They are very active early in life and can become quite enlarged. They usually start to shrink from about five years of age, almost disappearing by the teen years. Those with large adenoids may get recurrent ear and sinus infections or glue ear.
Enlarged adenoids can cause a nasal tone to the voice. Other symptoms may be mouth breathing, leading to a dry mouth and cracked lips, along with snoring, noisy breathing or restless sleep.
Blocked runny noses in winter are rarely caused by infection. It is more commonly caused by rhinitis or hay fever. This can occur any time of year. This causes sneezing, runny or blocked nose, and itchy eyes, ears and throat. These symptoms may also lead to sinus headaches and a loss of sense of smell.
You can buy many treatments over the counter but always talk to your pharmacist.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for this condition so managing it is important.
It is worth getting a check-up with your GP. Large adenoids causing glue ear may lead to reduced hearing which can have a knock-on effect on speech development.
Health & Living