Feeds

Why do babies always seem to have a runny nose?

Contagious kids

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Also in this week's column:

Why do babies always seem to have a runny nose?

Asked by Michael Woodhams of Palmerston North, New Zealand

There are at least three reasons why infants and young children always seem to have a runny nose. First, in fact they have more colds. Infants and young children have many upper respiratory tract infections due to a lack of a more mature immune system.

This is why children often get so many colds when they start school. Close contact for the first time with other humans (and often infectious children at that!) exposes them to many viruses they have never encountered before.

In the obverse, this is also why the elderly rarely have colds. Exposure to more viruses builds up immunity. Old people have had the exposure, young people have not.

Second, infants and young children may not always keep as warm or as cool as they should. Thus, they may be more susceptible to vasometer rhinitis. This occurs when there is a change in temperature that causes swelling in the tiny blood vessels in the mucus membrane linings of the nose and produces a runny nose.

Third, an infant or young child may not have fully developed sinuses that could cause the nose to run more often.

According to Dr Vincent Iannelli, author of The Everything Father's First Year Book (Adams Media, 2005), a baby's sinuses are not well developed. However, it is a myth that a baby has no sinuses at all. In fact, newborns have very small maxillary and ethmoid sinuses. The maxillaries are under the cheeks while the ethmoids are higher up in the nasal cavity. They are so small that they cannot be seen in a normal x-ray until the child is one to two years old.

Dr Iannelli points out that "the frontal sinuses and the sphenoid sinuses don't begin to develop until a child's second year and can't be seen on an x-ray until the child is five to six years old. The sinuses continue to grow until your child is a teenager."

Stephen Juan, Ph.D. is an anthropologist at the University of Sydney. Email your Odd Body questions to s.juan@edfac.usyd.edu.au

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?