Managing Nasal Congestion in Young Children; Qualitative Analysis of Parental Online Discussion - Abstract
Objective: Nasal congestion is a troublesome symptom in children, most often associated with upper respiratory tract infections or rhinitis (nonallergic or allergic), causing difficulties breathing, sleeping, and feeding, particularly in young children. Little is known about the challenges parents face when administering nasal treatments or using devices to reduce nasal secretions. Design: This study was a thematic analysis of written exchanges between parents of young children discussing in online forums their experiences of dealing with nasal congestion. Results: From the 66 forum discussion threads and 2 blog posts with 153 unique contributors we identified three key themes: 1) Children’s emotional and physical responses to parental attempts to relieve nasal congestion, 2) Parental distress, and 3) Strategies for relieving nasal congestion parents shared with each other. Conclusions: These descriptions of distress experienced by young children and the worry of their parents is a powerful reminder to health care professionals that procedures common and routine in health care may be challenging to parents. We suggest that the advice given to parents needs to go beyond prescribing or recommending a device to include advice on how to use these products, with tips on how to hold the child, distraction techniques and how to allay distress in the infant or toddler. Forewarned of the potential challenges and equipped with coping strategies, parents can alleviate their own and their child’s distress when dealing with nasal congestion.