Many people suffer the consequences of chronic congestion and sinus problems. While various medicinal treatments are usually suggested to help attenuate these symptoms, the nasal saline irrigation method is often disregarded. This is unfortunate as it is a safe, inexpensive and often very effective method for the treatment of chronic nasal and sinus conditions.
Saline irrigation consists in flushing-out nasal cavities to facilitate the evacuation of stubborn mucus, and re-hydrating the mucous membrane of the nose. Researchers who led a study in which saline irrigation and saline sprays were compared concluded that saline irrigation is actually more effective than saline sprays at quickly relieving chronic congestion and sinus symptoms.
You can either purchase a nasal saline irrigation kit and instructions in pharmacy, or you can make your own saline solution at home. It is a safe and easy option to treat children and adults alike. Once you have washed your hands with warm, soapy water, prepare a saline solution by dissolving ¼ teaspoon of salt in 500 millilitres of warm water. Then, fill a bulb irrigator with the saline solution. As you lean over the sink, insert the tip of the bulb irrigator in one nostril, pressing a finger on the opposite nostril to prevent the solution from escaping, and gently press on the apparatus to release the solution. You should let the solution drip out of your nostril without forcing it. Repeat these steps in the other nostril, and finish by rinsing and cleaning the bulb irrigator with warm water.
Even though they are not as effective as nasal saline irrigation, saline sprays are definitely not useless. They are more convenient and easier to carry when you are away from home. Saline sprays are a practical and inexpensive solution to relieve nasal congestion due to a cold or allergies.
Congestion problems, chronic post-nasal drip and sinus symptoms are quite frequent in Canada, especially in winter. However, as this little study suggests, we should definitely contemplate using the nasal saline irrigation method more often to relieve congestion.