Good old salt water the best for treating colds in children

Whoever said what goes round comes round was speaking in many ways a great deal of sense.

The latest research when it comes to treating colds in children is advocating that suggestion grandma used to make - plain old fashioned salt water!

According to a new study a saline nasal wash solution made from processed sea water may be best for treating children with a cold.

The study by researchers from the Teaching Hospital of Brno in the Czech Republic, found the solution helped reduce the symptoms associated with the common cold, and also reduced the risk of recurrent respiratory infections.

In a study involving 390 children between age 6 and 10 with influenza, the researchers divided the children into two groups - one group received the nasal wash solution and the other received that as well as standard flu medication such as nasal decongestants.

The researchers closely monitored the children for any possible changes, and they found that in time the children who received the nasal wash had less of a runny or stuffy nose.

The study was conducted for a 12 week period in the winter of 2006 and the children were given the salt water spray six times a day initially and three times a day in the latter part of the study when the investigators were looking at whether it would prevent symptoms from redeveloping.

Eight weeks after the study began, those in the saline group had significantly fewer severe sore throats, coughs, nasal obstructions and secretions than those given standard treatments; they were also sick less often and missed fewer school days.

The authors say nasal irrigation with isotonic "balanced" saline solutions appears to be effective for such conditions and was well tolerated with no side effects.

Doctors often suggest adults use a saline spray to ease a congested nose and saltwater gargles are a good first line of defence when a cold first begins, but scientific evidence about whether they work is scant.

This latest research will be welcome news to many parents of young children who are now being advised by health authorities to avoid using over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold remedies with infants and young children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has said OTC cough and cold products are ineffective for children under age 6, and may also be risky.

Dr. Ivo Slapak and his team say the nasal spray which is made from Atlantic Ocean seawater is thought to simply clear mucus from the nasal passage and they suggest it is possibly the trace elements in the solution which makes the spray work so well.

The study is published in the current issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology, and was funded by Goemar Laboratoires La Madeleine, Saint-Malo, France, which makes Physiomer, the seawater nasal spray used in the investigation.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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