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Benefits of Having Parents use Nasal Aspirator on Infants in a Pediatric Practice

Ronda Miller Ronda Miller-Ernest, DNP, APRN-BC
About the author: Ronda is a Board Certified Pediatric Nurse practitioner who has been practicing in a private pediatric office for 27 years.

Some of the most common concerns I hear from parents in their infants first six months of life are; “My baby always sounds stuffy.” My baby won’t nurse because “they can’t breathe and suck with this stuffy nose.” “If I could only clear their nose they would feel better!”
In the first few months of life infants are obligatory nose breathers. Their narrow nasal passages are very sensitive to dry air, especially in the winter months when the forced warm air heating systems used in most homes, are turned on. Where I practice the low humidity climate also tends to aggravate the nasal mucosa dryness. Infants are too young to sniff or take deep nasal breaths in to clear their nose. They are totally dependent on an outside resources to help clear their nasal passages or external moisture to relieve the symptoms of dryness.
In my practice I have a large refugee population who commonly don’t understand the concept of a humidifier and/or cannot afford one, however the nasal oral aspirator is something I can demonstrate in the office with a saline solution sample. With the demonstration this is easily understood even with a language barrier and very portable to take home with them. Due to NeilMeds’ generous sample availability I can stock them in my office.
I have found that instructing parents on the use of the NeilMed Naspira and frequently in combination with the saline nose drops that the infant eats better; feels better, parents feel they can finally do something to help their infant and by clearing the airways it can decrease additional unnecessary sick appointments. This device is simple to use, affordable, easy to clean and requires very little extra office time for instruction.


Soothe your child’s cold the natural way

Soothe your child’s cold the natural way

Monika Pis Monika Pis, PhD, CPNP
About the author: Monika Pis, PhD, CPNP is a primary care pediatric nurse practitioner with a specialty in health promotion and risk reduction. Her interests are nutrition and functional medicine.

During the flu season, viruses circulate in our communities cause upper respiratory symptoms such as runny nose or nasal congestion making our children cranky and uncomfortable. Antibiotics do not work for viral illness and over-the-counter medications are either not effective or unsafe for children younger than 6 years of age. However, there are safe and effective evidence-based natural remedies that will stimulate your child’s immune system and improve comfort while her body fights off the viral infection and tries to heal.

• Saline nasal rinses

Saline nasal rinses are very effective in managing nasal symptoms related to an upper respiratory infection, such as a cold or even sinus infection. The exact mechanism of action is not known, but the saline rinses may improve the function of the nasal mucosa by removing inflammation and cleansing the nasal cavity.

You can perform a saline nasal rinse on an older child by instilling saline solution into one nostril and allowing it to drain out of the other one. These rinses can be performed by using a neti pot, low positive pressure squeeze bottle, or gravity-based pressure bottle with a nasal spout.

For a younger child, you can use a saline nasal mist or spray. Since saline solution is not medicated, it can be safely used several times a day as needed even in infants.

• Chicken soup

Eating chicken soup while sick is no longer an old wife’s tale. A study published in the CHEST Journal, the official publication of The American College of Chest Physicians, provided evidence that chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties and helps relieve symptoms of an upper respiratory infection (1).

Another study published in The American Journal of Therapeutics suggested that chicken soup contains an anti-inflammatory substance called carnosine that could help in warding off viral infections such colds (2).

Since it is the broth that has medicinal properties, it is not a big deal if your child does not want to finish the noodles or even the veggies. An option for picky eaters would be sipping on the broth from a mug.

• Pineapple

Pineapple contains a powerful anti-inflammatory enzyme bromelain that provides relief for sore throats and upper respiratory infections. It also thins out mucus in the respiratory system and reduces coughing.

In a double-blind trial of patients with acute sinusitis, 87% of patients who took bromelain reported good to excellent results compared with 68% of those who took placebo (3).

To get the befit of pineapple, when your child is sick with an upper respiratory infection, offer her the fresh fruit, or make a slushy of coconut milk, pineapple chunks, and ice.


1. Rennard, B., et al. Chicken soup inhibits neutrophil chemotaxis in vitro (2000). CHEST, 118(4):1150-7.
2. Babizhayev, M., et al. Management of virulent influenza virus infection by oral formulation of nonhydrolized carnosine and isopeptide of carnosine attenuating proinflammtory cytokine-induced nitric oxide (2012). Am J Ther., 19(1):e25-47.
3. A double blind clinical evaluation of bromelain in the treatment of acute sinusitis (1967). Headache, 7: 13-7.


The Importance of Nasal Hygiene

The Importance of Nasal Hygiene

Dr. Michele A Streeter Michele A. Streeter, MD
Board certified Otorhinolaryngologist with a special interest in Allergies & Rhinology
About the author: Dr. Michele A. Streeter is a general otorhinolaryngologist treating many diseases of the head and neck. She pursued an interest in allergies to help treat chronic rhinosinusitis patients who are not completely helped by traditional medical and surgical interventions. She is successfully treating a variety of allergy conditions with sublingual immunotherapy in addition to traditional methods.

Many patients come to me complaining of chronic sinus infections and headaches. The vast majority of them simply have uncontrolled allergy symptoms. I frequently recommend the use of daily nasal irrigations to help patients control their symptoms in addition to medications. Even if a patient does not have allergies, they may have a number of environmental irritants that will cause nasal symptoms. These irritants may be secondhand smoke or chemicals like bleach and ammonia. My practice is in Colorado, so we are constantly battling the dry conditions associated with living in a semiarid desert. Keeping the nose moist and clean is a constant battle. Patients on oxygen or CPAP machines tend to have very dry noses as well. The NeilMed sinus irrigation system is a mainstay of my therapy. When patients want holistic approaches to help their symptoms, what can be more holistic than salt water treatments? The irrigations are also a must for my post-operative sinus patients.


How to Fight Fatigue Related to Allergies

How to Fight Fatigue Related to Allergies

Dr. Thomas Chacko Thomas Chacko, MD
About the author: JDr. Chacko is an expert in the field of allergy and immunology. He has recently been featured on the cover of Atlanta Magazine Top Doctors Issue. Dr. Chacko has many accolades, including serving as an expert consultant for both CNN and Fox News, repeated selections as a “National Top Doctor” by US World & News Report, and repeated “Patient Choice” and “Most Compassionate Doctor” awards by Dr. Chacko has a special interest in food allergies, severe hayfever, refractory sinus disease and asthma.

Far too many people deal with constant fatigue today. Unfortunately, individuals don’t always know what causes their symptoms. Fatigue often manifests itself during the day after a restless night of sleep. It’s a vicious cycle that never seems to end. These days, a number of health conditions can cause fatigue, but few people seem to consider allergies as the culprit. Fighting allergy fatigue requires a comprehensive approach.

Allergies Affect People Day and Night
Chances are high that individuals with allergies know they have them. They’ll spend their days sneezing, coughing, and feeling congested. Typically, people realize how allergies affect themselves during the day. Not all sufferers recognize that allergies can worsen the quality of their sleep. The immune system targets allergens, and this frequent immune response disrupts the body in various ways.

How to Tackle This Situation
To fight allergy fatigue, individuals need to remove allergens wherever possible. Dust, pollen, and even pet hair can cause symptoms like breathing issues at night. A bed should be covered throughout the day by a mattress encasement and pillow covers. Likewise, a person should vacuum their home’s floors often and keep windows closed. An air purifier that removes allergens can make sense for certain households.
Allergy sufferers can take steps to protect their own body, too. For instance, allergy medications can be purchased over the counter at drug stores. Antihistamines and decongestants are popular options to fight back against allergy symptoms. Individuals can take a nightly bath or shower before bed. In doing so, they wash away allergens and particles on their skin and hair.

Fewer Allergens Means Less Fatigue and Better Sleep
After taking these steps, individuals can expect their constant fatigue to lessen. Symptoms could improve in leaps and bounds for some sufferers. Fewer allergens in the home and bedroom will lead to higher quality sleep. From there, a person can expect to feel more rejuvenated in the morning and have more energy during the day. Those that suffer from severe allergies can still reduce their fatigue and other symptoms in noticeable ways!



Keep Clear and Carry On

Keep Clear and Carry On

Dr. Jason Kastner Jason L. Kastner, MD
Board Certified Pediatrician
About the author: Jason L. Kastner, MD is a Board Certified Pediatrician in his 14th year of private practice in Middle Tennessee. He is in a well-established General Pediatric practice with multiple clinic sites. He manages a variety of pediatric and adolescent conditions seeing patients of all ages from birth through adolescence. He works for VIP Mid South and is affiliated as clinical faculty with The Monroe Carell Jr Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics

As a general pediatrician in my 14th year of private practice, I have a confession to make. Winter is not my favorite time of the year. I once heard it said about Pediatrics: “if it weren’t for the winters you couldn’t afford to be a pediatrician; if it weren’t for the summers, you couldn’t stand to be one.” While that might be a little over-the-top extreme, it is this time of year that I feel the fatigue and bombardment of “cold and flu” season and the lack of sunlight does make me wonder if I do have a touch of Seasonal Affective Disorder. This season is also tiring for parents who have to battle more frequent upper respiratory infections that spread through all family members, influenza, the refractory ear infections that require multiple doctor visits and rounds of antibiotics and of course the “never ending” course of bronchiolitis. Time missed from school, daycare and work cannot be minimized. The increase in volume of these illnesses makes it important that we give sound advice about treatment that will offer the most relief for our patients (and their parents). The complicating factor in treating these types of patients is that by in large, there is little that we can offer other than supportive care.
Antipyretics and analgesics provide some relief. Antibiotics, of course are helpful and sometimes necessary for bacterial infections. For the children with asthma triggered by respiratory illness, we can use inhaled bronchodilators. For influenza, we know we can possibly blunt the course and severity of that illness with antivirals. That said most of the symptoms these patients suffer from (cough, congestion, drainage, breathing difficulty due to mucous plugging, etc.) do not have great treatment options. As physicians, we are all aware of the studies that show cough and cold remedies to not be more effective when compared to placebo and we also know the age limits that the FDA has placed on these products in the interest of safety. It is the younger and smaller patients that, due to size of their airways, suffer more. It is also in this age group that we have fewer options for symptom relief.
The other day I had in front of me a young first-time mother with a 4 month old infant that had RSV bronchiolitis. This very reliable young mom knew enough from the internet and social media to be scared to death. The infant was well hydrated but wasn’t able to breast feed as well due to copious nasal secretions. She had helped her baby feel a little better using acetaminophen for fever but the coughing from all the mucous continued to cause sleep disruption. She pulled out her bulb syringe the hospital had given to her after the baby was born and told me essentially how worthless it was. We tried a dose of nebulized albuterol in the office; to no surprise, it didn’t help. The oxygen saturations were lower than normal but not significantly low. Her baby didn’t meet criteria for hospitalization but we made plans for close follow up the rest of the week. After a lengthy discussion, she came to the conclusion: “so there really isn’t anything we can do?” She had come to realize what I have come to realize after all these winters as a pediatrician: most things just have to get better on their own and supportive care is about all we can offer. Frustrated would have been an understatement.
I gave her a sample of the Naspira Oral-Nasal Aspirator by NeilMed and some samples of saline drops and instructed her on how to use it. After she gave me a look as if to say: “you want me to do WHAT with this?”, I sent them on their way with plans for follow up in 2 days.
Upon her return, the baby was doing better but clearly still very much symptomatic in the ramp-up phase of the illness. Her fever was controlled, she was nursing better and her wheezing wasn’t any worse. I asked the mother how she was making it and she promptly told me that the Naspira was the best thing she had ever tried. She was so convinced she told her friends who also had young children and even bought a “back up”. After being introduced to the products, I have suggested the Naspira Oral- Nasal Aspirator and other nasal rinse products from NeilMed for some time now. This particular example the other day however, reminded me that parents just want to do whatever they can (with the advice of their pediatrician) to help their baby during an illness. This is a safe, non-toxic, easy to use and very effective remedy to arm our parents with during this time of year. Maybe winter won’t be so bad after all…


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