Studies on nasal complaints in patients with ectodermal dysplasias have shown that although structurally things appear relatively normal inside the nose, patients often have problems with dryness, crusting and rhinoliths. You may call them “nasal rocks”, concretions or simply big boogers!
Many parents have expressed great difficulties in managing their children’s concretions and crusting in our private Facebook group for families affected by hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia. Hard nasal “rocks” can grow to tremendous size requiring frequent removal, both by parents and healthcare professionals.
We have a new library article titled “Nasal Irrigations” written by Dr. Brandon Hopkins to help you manage at home the symptoms and complications caused by the concretions. He is a pediatric ear-nose-throat doctor (otolaryngologist) at Cleveland Clinic Head and Neck Institute who also serves on our Scientific Advisory Council. He shares in the article proper techniques on nasal irrigation and nasal rinses.
Importance of Removal
Nasal crusting is caused by abnormal mucus production or excessive accumulation. The mucus is thick and does not drain normally. Large crusts may form which may interfere with breathing or emit a foul odor. Parents frequently report these odors from their children’s noses.
My son is 12 and uses a Neti Pot. You won’t believe what comes out of his sinuses. Seriously, I’ve never considered that something so large could be inhabiting my son’s sinuses . . . know that it IMMEDIATELY takes away the smell.–CH
While the formation of these rocks or concretions seems to improve with age, problems with nasal obstruction and crusting commonly do persist in to adulthood. They are also predisposed to frequent sinus infections.
Dr. Hopkins recommends a recipe for a salt water rinse in his article on nasal irrigations. Perform rinses regularly to improve blockage and dryness symptoms. Many of our parents can attest that rinses are very effective in dislodging these blockages.
When my boys get stuffy, we will use repeated gentle saline misting every few minutes to really soften things up, and then it is easier to extract anything built up in there. Sometimes it will just pour out if they lay down for a bit. –RS
One parent said she made it a point to always irrigate her daughter’s nose before dental visits. Doing this helped her daughter breathe better when the dentist was working in her mouth!
Dr. Hopkins recommends that parents do not forcibly hold down their children when preforming these rinses. Instead, consider allowing your child to be in a sitting or standing position. This will make the nasal irrigations easier and more effective for both your child and yourself. Your child will be grateful for the experience and its effects.
We have now gotten to the point that we do a Neti Pot every night before bed, and it is amazing how clear his nose is! Pretty much every time we do the Neti Pot, we get concretions out and afterword my son says, “I CAN BREATHE! –MP
Alternative Nasal Irrigations
You might also consider using humidification to remove the nasal rocks. We recommend using cold humidification because it is safer to use cold steam than hot steam. Children can pull over the hot humidifier and subsequently acquire bad burns.
Swimming and bathing can also provide relief. Parents report that when their children soak in a bath or swim in a pool, it helped nasal irrigations to occur naturally.
Learn more from Dr. Hopkins’ article about how often you should irrigate, the benefits, recipe and proper method. What have you found to be helpful to clear out the nasal rocks? Tell us in the comments below! We aim to ensure that all of your health needs are being met and to keep you updated on all the latest information.Download How to Irrigate Your Nose