Sinus rinses or nasal irrigations seem to be all the rage. Perhaps you know someone who swears by their nasal irrigation system. It is nice that there is a simple, at-home way to clean out your sinuses. It’s amazing how healing a saltwater rinse can be, especially for clearing away dirt, bacteria, and other debris that could cause nasal irritation and other issues. If you’re curious about sinus rinses, here’s what you should know.
Make Sure You Use Sterile Water Every Time
Most people simply fill up their Neti pot or nasal irrigation system with tap water. This is a big no-no. It’s very important that you use distilled or sterilized water to kill off any amoeba or bacteria in the water that could cause serious and even fatal infections if they enter the sinuses. It’s important that you stick to this rule every time you use your sinus rinse.
You Can Make Your Own Solution
Most commercial nasal irrigation systems come with their own packets of nasal solution. While it’s a good idea to use these, if you decide that you want to make your own it’s important that you get the measurements right so you don’t damage the nasal tissue (after all, this tissue is very delicate). The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology has provided this homemade nasal rinse “recipe”:
- 1 part baking soda
- 3 parts no-iodide, preservative-free salt
Mix these together and then dissolve into 1 cup of distilled or sterilized water. You may need to dilute the mixture with more water if it burns.
Keep Your Neti Pot Clean
Since nasal irrigation systems hold water, it makes it a hospitable environment for mold and mildew to grow. The best way to prevent this from happening is to rinse out your neti pot with hot water and soap after each use. If you use your neti pot regularly, you’ll want to play it safe and get a new one every few months.
You Can Use it Daily
If you are experiencing nasal congestion or postnasal drip due to a cold or allergies then you may wish to use your sinus rinse every day. If this is your first time using it, it’s recommended that you try it only once daily and then work your way up to three times per day to see if that helps alleviate your symptoms.
If you are dealing with several or persistent nasal symptoms and issues that aren’t being relieved through sinus rinses and regular at-home care then it may be time to turn to an ENT doctor.