Problem With Nasal Discharge in Children

Patient

Q: I am a teacher in a Montessori Toddler classroom. We have seen a lot of sicknesses this year from normal common colds to hand foot and mouth. I also have a baby enrolled who has been very sick the last few months on and off. I was just wondering about your thoughts on abnormal amounts of discharge coming from the nose. Along with a cough. Should a child be sent home who has snot pouring into the mouth, wiping their not on the hands and arms, who is having a lot of contact with materials on shelves, tables, door nobs, etc. The doctor in the Key Largo area cleared her to come back to school. He says she is not contagious. But my concern is the sanitary issue. I feel as if its not sanitary for snot to be getting everywhere contagious or not. I understand children get runny noses, but when they are under two and cant wipe their own noses it causes sanitary issues. Thank you Kristina

Doctor

A:   Nasal discharge is a very common problem, especially amongst children. The presence of this symptom alone does not warrant sending the child back home. Persistent nasal discharge may be caused by allergy or infection but the constant production of excessive mucus predisposes to infection that may perpetuate the condition. Though the benefits appear to be modest and long-term benefits are not clear, some doctors recommend the use of antibiotics for 10 days in children with persistent nasal discharge. This seems to reduce the probability of persistence of discharge in the short- to medium-term. Amoxicillin is recommended as the first-line choice for mild cases

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