Nasal Saline Irrigation

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Nasal saline irrigation has been shown to be helpful for the prevention and treatment of allergic rhinitis and sinusitis. Saline solution is a natural decongestant (decreases the swelling of the nasal tissue) and it also helps to clean the nasal passages of mucous, pollens, dirt and other irritants. It will also help your other nasal medications to work better since they will have a clean surface to act upon.

Various nasal saline rinse kits are available commercially which contain pre-mixed salt packages of sodium bicarbonate. Alternatively, a home-made saline can be made and used in a Neti pot, squeeze bottle or nasal bulb syringe. All should be available in your pharmacy.


To make your own saline, mix the following in a clean container:

1 teaspoon non-iodized salt (such as pickling or canning salt, do not use table salt)

1/8 teaspoon of baking soda (to reduce burning – may increase amount if needed)

2 cups of warm water (preferably filtered or previously boiled water)

Rinses can be done while leaning over a sink but are easiest to perform in the shower.

Fill the device with the saline solution. Insert the tip in one nostril, aiming toward the back of the head and squeeze/pour with moderate force. If this makes you gag or hurts your ears, squeeze more gently. The solution should run down the back of the nose and throat and come out your mouth or the opposite nostril. Repeat on the other side. Clean the device after using.

This cleaning can be performed every day or even multiple times a day in more severe cases.

Always use your saline rinse BEFORE using medicated nasal sprays to avoid rinsing the medications away.

Wait 30-60 minutes after the rinse to use your medicated nasal sprays so that all of the saline has finished draining.

Do not use the saline rinse less than 60 minutes before going to bed or it may drip into your throat and cause a cough.


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