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What are Nasal Aspirators?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2016
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Nasal aspirators are devices used to suction mucus from noses. They are typically used for people who can’t blow this material out, such as babies or others with issues of limited mobility or understanding. Most aspirators are marketed toward use with babies, are easy to find in baby supply stores, and they come in different shapes and varieties.

The simplest of the nasal aspirators is a bulb syringe, which has a squeezable bulb attached to a narrow neck with an opening. A squeeze of the bulb results in reverse action, where as the bulb refills with it air it has a vacuum like effect. When gently inserted a small way into a baby’s nose this can suck out some mucus, helping to alleviate a certain amount of nasal congestion.

Another fairly simple variant of the nasal aspirators looks like a long narrow tube. One end of the tube is inserted a tiny amount the baby’s nose and the other end is placed in the mouth of the person helping the baby. By inhalation of the helper, suction of the nose occurs. Mucus does not end up in the caretaker’s mouth. There are filters along the way that collect it instead. Still people may be somewhat squeamish using these particular nasal aspirators, though they are popular.

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Those who want to avoid the issue of sucking on a tube and who don’t care for bulb syringes could opt for aspirators that are battery powered. These look slightly like ear thermometers, but they feature a small collection unit for nasal discharge that can be easily washed. They do tend to be pricier than other mucus collection devices. The bulb syringe is clearly the cheapest option at about $3-4 US Dollars (USD), but the other types are still inexpensive at around $20 USD or less.

There can be advantages and disadvantages to the various types of nasal aspirators. Many people dismiss the bulb syringe as an unworthy collection device because it is difficult to clean. Most syringes can’t be washed in the dishwasher, and it can be hard to fill them with water. Best bet is to use the squeeze action to bring very hot soapy water into the bulb. Repeating this process several times, or allowing the bulb to sit with hot water and vinegar may help. If unsure about cleanliness, consider replacing the syringe.

Many people like the easy collection aspects of the battery powered units, and others praise the tube nasal aspirators as most effective. In all cases, an aspirator should provide gentle suction and occasionally they can irritate the nose and cause a little bleeding. Should this occur, aspiration attempts should stop until a doctor gives a go-ahead for them to continue. The nose of the young child is very sensitive and needs careful treatment.

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anon314788
Post 1

I use the Snotarator to clear my baby's nose and I think it's a lot easier to use and more effective than the above mentioned aspirators. I wonder why it isn't listed in this article.

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