Julie Hoffmann, MD is a family physician with Banner Medical Clinic-North Loveland. She can be reached at (970) 820-0047
Question: I hear a lot about rinsing my nostrils to reduce the chances of sinus infection. What can you tell me about this?
Answer: Nasal wash is the practice of rinsing the nasal cavity with saline using a pre-filled saline solution container, a bulb syringe or a neti pot. Pre-mixed saline solution packets are available at drug stores.
To rinse the nasal cavity, lean over the sink with your head tilted to a 45-degree angle. Keep your mouth open because solution may also come out through your mouth. Pour the solution into one nostril. As is flows through your nasal cavity into the other nostril, it washes out mucous and allergens. Gently blow your nose and then repeat the process with the other nostril.
Begin by doing the process daily. You may see benefits right away. After symptoms have decreased, reduce frequency to three times a week. This process is safe for children.
People with an ear infection or a stuffed up nose with difficulty breathing through one or both nostrils should not do a nasal wash.
Washing the nasal cavities with saline reduces postnasal drainage, removes secretions and rinses away allergens and irritants. This helps to reduce swelling, making it easier to breathe.
Studies have reported that nasal irrigation is an effective additional therapy for people who suffer from chronic sinus symptoms. It may also be helpful in addressing other upper respiratory conditions such as the common cold, chronic sinusitis and allergic rhinitis.
If you have nasal symptoms, consult with your physician about the best method of treatment.
Reviewed January 2011