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When your child doesn't know how to blow their nose...

Updated: Jan 11, 2020

When your kiddo gets sick, it's never a fun time - especially if they have autism. With limited communication, nothing seems to work to help them feel better. We learned early on that Bryce got severe congestion whenever he was sick. Couple that with an asthma diagnosis, and you have a potential disaster. We discovered Bryce's asthma at age three after persistent coughing at bedtime and after physical activities. At first, we thought he was just constantly sick, and then later later received his asthma diagnosis. Word of advice: If you suspect your child has asthma, get them checked out right away. It can be life threatening.

The nasal aspirator bulb. We've all seen it. Does it work? Well, sort of. Like many people who receive one for a shower gift, we would suck out the crud with the bulb. As he grew older, he would have more and more congestion - the bulb wasn't cutting it anymore. At some point, I saw a news report about how mold could collect inside of it. That was a real turn off.

Next up was the Nosefrida snot sucker. The concept here is you put one end in your child's nose with the other end in your mouth as you suck on it! I know parents who swear by it - And I agree that it sounded like a good concept ... until the snot got past the filter and into my mouth. Yes, it was disgusting! Game over for that aspirator! Next!

Bryce has really had trouble grasping the concept of blowing his nose. It's part of his cognitive delays. When we tell him to blow, he'll blow out of his mouth which helps nothing. After a few bouts of chest wheezing and sinus infections, we were desperate for a solution.

Let me preface that the following is what we did ... In no way are we recommending anything. You should see your child's doctor for their opinion, consent and recommendations before attempting anything like this.

One day, it dawned on me that a vacuum pump might be effective in getting all of the junk out of Bryce's nose. I searched and searched and finally came across a home use suction aspirator. What a blessing! With it, I purchased the attachment for the nose. It was expensive, but there weren't many choices. We needed something right away to help him. It has adjustable suction and is very effective. We believe it really helps Bryce from getting more congested when he does get a cold. It helps keep all of the phlegm from going into his chest. At age six, Bryce still does not know how to blow his nose. We are very thankful for this machine that continues to help us.

Basically, the machine sucks out the crud into the clear container for easy dumping. It only takes a few seconds and instantly restores airflow in the nose. We use saline before and after using the machine to help unclog and keep nasal passages open. The only hurdle we had was that Bryce initially thought his insides were going to be sucked out. Haha! But after a few tries he was onboard completely. Bryce now asks for it and has learned how to operate it and does it himself. Although Bryce doesn't seem to think the compressor is too loud, it is not quiet. Your child may need to use headphones depending on sensory levels. Below are a few links that may help you on your journey! The one we use is the Home use suction mucus compressor canister. You'll also need the nose attachment to go with it.


Disclaimer: Some people would make this really small print, so you couldn't read it. We want to tell you that the products we mention are items that have helped us, and/or think may help you in your quest for a less stressful life in autismland. We may make a commission on some things mentioned in our blog through our affiliation with Amazon. These commissions go toward keeping our blog and podcast up and running. There are no markups on the prices here on the blog. It is the same as if you were shopping directly on Amazon, except here, we make a very small amount if you purchase through our links.

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