Dry winter air, cold temperatures, seasonal colds…All these reasons can lead to a stubborn stuffy nose. Sleep can be elusive as you lay in bed unable to breathe through your nostrils. Sinus infections or rhinitis can further compound the issue. Fortunately, there is a simple cure for a stubborn stuffy nose: Saline nasal spray.
What is Saline?
Saline is a simple, non-medicated solution of salt water. Unlike other decongestant sprays, it can be used as repeatedly and as often as needed. Saline spray is easy, safe, and cheap. It’s also safe for kids.
How Does Saline Work to Cure a Stubborn Stuffy Nose
No matter the cause of your congestion, saline is an effective remedy. Irrigating the nose with a salt solution works by:
- Keeping the nasal passages clean
- Inhibiting bacteria growth
- Regularly removing irritants1)https://blogs.bcm.edu/2014/08/20/saline-irrigation-offers-natural-option-for-sinus-infection-allergy-relief/
This simple practice will speed up healing of sinus infections and is effective at reducing the need for allergy medications.
Homemade Saline Nasal Spray Recipe
It’s a cinch to make your own saline nasal solution. It is important to start with distilled water or boil your tap water first. Combine:
- 1 cup lukewarm distilled water
- 1/4 to 3 teaspoons salt (non-iodized)
- 1/4 to 1 teaspoon baking soda
If the solution is too strong, add more water. Baylor College of Medicine recommends the following procedure:
Using a soft rubber ear bulb syringe, infant nasal bulb or a commercial nasal saline rinse bottle from your drug store, use the rinse by following these steps:
- Draw up 8 oounces [sic] of the saline solution. Tilt your head downward over a sink (or in the shower) and rotate to the left. Squeeze half of the solution gently into the right (top) nostril. Breathe through your mouth. In a few seconds the solution should come out through your left nostril. Repeat the process on the other side.
- Blow your nose very gently to prevent the solution from going into your ear and causing discomfort. If water goes into your ears, it is ok. The discomfort should resolve in a short time.
Researchers have found homemade saline solutions more effective than over the counter brands. U.S. News and World Report informs:
Squirting salt water into the nose works much better at relieving symptoms than commercial saline nose sprays, new research says.
Granted, the idea of squirting water up one’s nose has a certain “ick” factor. But “almost all of the patients I see, no matter how I treat them or what I treat them for, benefit from nasal irrigation,” says Melissa Pynnonen, an assistant professor of otolaryngology at the University of Michigan who specializes in treating chronic sinusitis. Most doctors who don’t specialize in it tend to recommend over-the-counter nose sprays to their patients, Pynnonen says. She and colleagues at the University of Michigan tested saline nose sprays and saline rinses in 121 adults, all of whom had stuffiness, sinus pain, and other chronic nasal and sinus symptoms. All reported fewer symptoms after eight weeks of treatment with either saline nose spray or a twice-daily rinse with 8 ounces of salt water, using a plastic squeeze bottle. But the nasal rinse group showed far greater improvement in severity and frequency of symptoms, with 40 percent of the rinse group saying they still had symptoms “often or always,” compared with 61 percent of the spray group.2)https://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2007/11/29/stuffy-nose-or-sinus-problems-heres-a-fix
If making our own nose wash seems like too much, there are some good over the counter options. We were sent four products by Ocean Saline.
Although the regular saline spray is safe for infants, the kids’ version comes with a smaller spray tip for little noses. It also contains glycerin for extra moisture.
These products do contain preservatives, except for the Complete Sinus Spray. This is a two-in-one product for cleansing and moisturizing the nasal passages. It’s an easy alternative to a neti pot.
Sinus relief is simple with saline solutions. Making your own is cheap and easy, as well as effective. It’s handy to purchase premade solutions, but it is not necessary to cure your stubborn stuffy nose.
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