How to give your child nose ointment, drops or spray

This page from Great Ormond Street Hospital describes how to give your child nose ointment, drops or spray.

What to do

  1. Wipe your child’s nose and ask them to blow it if needed. 
  2. Wash your hands.
  3. Get your child into any of these positions to give the nose ointment, drops or spray:
  • • Tilt your child’s head back 
  • • Lay your child flat on their back 
  • • Ask someone to hold your child in a safe position as above
  • • Wrap your baby or young child in a light blanket or sheet to keep their arms still
  1. Shake the bottle or spray
  2. Remove the top from the tube, bottle or spray and throw away the plastic seal. 
  3. Give the medicine as follows:
  • • For nose ointment – squeeze a small amount onto your finer or a cotton bud and gently dab inside the nostril(s). 
  • • For nose drops – squeeze the bottle to put the prescribed number of drops into the nostril(s)
  • • For nose spray – squirt the recommended number of sprays inside the nostril(s). 
  1. Keep your child in this position for a few minutes so the medicine spreads through their nose.
  2. Put the top back on the container and wipe away any excess from the nostril(s) with a clean tissue. 

Storing the nose ointment, drops or spray safely

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children. 
  • Keep the container tightly closed in a cool, dark place according to the instructions on the label. 
  • Read the instructions on the label and only use the medicine in the affected nostril(s). If you are given different medicine for each nostril, make sure you use the correct one for each. 
  • Always check the expiry date of the medicine before you give it to your child. 
  • Nose ointment, drops or spray should be used within time stated on the label. If you are giving your child the medicine for a certain number of days, write the date you open the container on the label so you know when to throw it away.
Compiled by:
The Pharmacy department in collaboration with the Child and Family Information Group
Last review date:
April 2020