Nasal and Sinus Saline Irrigation
Chronic allergies or sinus problems often lead to perpetual stuffiness. Sinus sufferers often rely on nasal irrigation to alleviate discomfort and breathe freely again. Nasal irrigation involves using a saltwater solution to flush out clogged nasal passages. Medical studies conclude that irrigations are safe and beneficial to most patients.
Benefits of Nasal and Sinus Irrigation
Nasal irrigation helps your body eliminate infectious and irritating agents that may be present in the nose. The cilia (tiny, hair-like structures inside the nose) capture dirt, viruses and bacteria that enter the nasal passages. Sinus problems or allergies change mucus consistency making it difficult for cilia to function effectively. Nasal irrigation relieves symptoms of dry, crusty, or thick mucus allowing the cilia to work more efficiently. Nasal irrigation also works well in conjunction with antibiotic and nasal steroid treatments.
Nasal and Sinus Irrigation Products
Nasal irrigation devices involve the user manually pouring or spraying the saline mixture into the nostril. Fluid enters the nasal cavity and flows into the other nostril.
Common devices include:
- Bulb syringe
- Neti Pot
- Squeeze bottle (nasal spray)
Technique is similar in most devices, so you should choose a method based on personal preference or doctor recommendation. Delivery volume and head positioning may impact how well each product works. In chronic cases, sinus surgery has been found to allow better delivery into sinus cavities. Any device used should be rinsed thoroughly after each use and air dried. Replacement every few months is recommended to avoid harboring bacteria.
Preparing Saline Solution
It is generally recommended to use a saline concentration equal to the body’s natural salt concentration (isotonic). High concentrations of saline can cause swelling, increased congestion, or damage to the cilia. A mixture of 2-3 teaspoons of iodine-free salt, 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, and one liter of sterile water is appropriate. Pre-mixed salt packets are also available. Do not use tap water for nasal irrigation. Use distilled, sterile, or previously boiled water.
Frequency of Nasal and Sinus Irrigation
While nasal irrigation is helpful in relieving sinus symptoms, it is not recommended for use over long periods of time. One to three weeks of usage should improve your condition. If you continue to experience discomfort, consult your doctor for a more appropriate sinus treatment.
If you suffer from chronic sinusitis, contact Dr. Monty Trimble at DFWSinus.com or call 817-529-6200. He has offices in Fort Worth, Keller and soon to be Southlake, Texas.