In a sad twist of fate, an infant lost his life two days back. The reason, his dad tried to treat his congestion and cough by placing him in the shower room, hoping that the steam might ease his congestion.
Nasal congestion gone wrong
According to reports, little Mordechai Halpern from Brooklyn, USA, woke up his father at about 3 30 am as he was unable to breathe properly and was coughing. His father gave him a home remedy of lemon, water, and sugar. But, that did not help the baby with his congestion. So the father decided to create some steam to ease the congestion.
Apparently, he strapped the baby in a stroller, covered him with a blanket so that the steam would be retained, and placed him in a shower room. He started the hot shower, and steam filled up the bathroom. He then left him there, setting an alarm for 5 am. Mordechai’s mum woke up at 5 and went looking for the baby. She found the baby unresponsive, and an ambulance rushed the baby to Maimonides Medical Center, where he died at 5:49 a.m.
According to the sources, little Mordechai’s body temperature was 108 F (42 C). A heat stroke can occur if the body temperature goes north of 104 F (40 C) in adults. In children, it can occur at much lower temperature. The autopsy results are not out yet, so we do not know the exact cause of death, but most likely, it is due to asphyxiation in addition to hyperthermia.
Treating nasal congestion the right way
Steam is one of the ways to treat congestion, but not like this. Many times, congestion can be managed at home, so it is important to understand the aspects of congestion.
Respiratory tract infections are the infections of sinuses, throat, airways, and lungs. They are most commonly caused by viruses but may be caused by bacteria as well. Doctors differentiate them into two types
- Upper Respiratory Tract Infections (URTI) – infection of the sinuses, nose, and throat
- Lower Respiratory Tract Infections (LRTI) – infections of the airways and lungs
Nasal congestion may be a symptom in either. That said, while URTIs may be mild, LRTIs almost always warrant a treatment.
The clue to the location of infection is where the wheezing noise is coming from. If it is from the nose, chances are it is a URTI. However, if you can feel wet sounds from the chest when the child coughs, it might end up being a LRTI. That said, a doctor may be in the best position to decide the treatment, and you should take the baby to a hospital if
- There is a high-grade fever for more than 24 hours.
- The child is breathing about 60 times a minute, with ribs being drawn in every time he takes a breath.
- He seems disoriented and urinating less than 4 times in 24 hours.
- The child has a history of wheeze or asthma.
If your child does not display these symptoms, you may be able to treat his congestion at home.
Things that might help in doing this are
- Saline nasal spray/drops. These help in relieving the nasal congestion.
- Hot steam. Reserve it for children older than 5 years of age. Use a steamer or a bowl of hot water. be careful to avoid splash burns. You can use menthol crystals or eucalyptus drops for the same.
Vaporubs are not indicated for use in children. So, be careful about using anything like a Vaporub.
Mums, if you feel that the congestion is not being relieved, just pop in your doctor’s office.
Also, read Prevent misbehaviour in children: 3 Things to give your child