Nasal irrigation can relieve sinus symptoms safely and cheaply, according to a University of Michigan Sinus Center. Nasal irrigation refers to rinsing the nose and nasal passages with a solution, typically salt water. The solution can be as simple – and cheap – as a quarter-teaspoon of kosher salt, eight ounces of warm tap water and a quarter-teaspoon of baking soda.
Researchers recommend that patients who are new to nasal irrigation use an eight-ounce squeeze bottle, and squirt four ounces of the mixture into each nostril. The solution exits through the opposite nostril. To prevent the solution from coming out of your mouth, open your mouth and make a “K” sound, which closes off the mouth and throat. Other methods include a device called a neti-pot, which resembles a miniature teapot. Saline sprays can also be purchased at drug stores (make sure they are thimerosal-free).
For most patients, the benefit of nasal irrigation is that it does a great job of treating symptoms that otherwise aren’t well treated with medicine. Nasal irrigation can be considered a first-line treatment for common nasal and sinus symptoms. It’s often more effective than medications. For people with mild allergies, nasal irrigations alone may be enough to control the symptoms. Others may need to avoid food cross-reactors and use medications in addition to nasal irrigation.
Researchers led a study in which her team found that saline irrigation is very effective at controlling sinus symptoms, more so than saline sprays. “Patients who used nasal irrigation,” she says, “experienced as much improvement as some patients with chronic sinusitis get with sinus surgery.” Nasal irrigation can be used in children with a smaller amount of the solution.
Steve - these recommendations are right on. We have heard from many clients that nasal irrigation is extremely helpful. I have seasonal allergies that are kept under control by avoiding cross-reactors, nasal irrigation, and specific supplemental nutrients.