Richmond’s Sinus and Allergy Specialists

Nasal Irrigation

Wash my hands, brush my teeth, and … flush my nose??

Absolutely! The fastest way to clear out a clogged nose is with an old-fashioned saline rinse.  Warm saline (salt water solution) dissolves crusts, loosens thick mucus and even reduces swelling in the nasal membranes. There is no better way to clean the nose of dirt and grime from the workplace, pollen from the golf course, or germs from the child who just sneezed on you. A little spritz from a squeeze bottle can get the mucus flowing properly, while an 8 ounce flush can really hose things out!

That sounds uncomfortable… but it isn’t!

Most of us have experienced the burning pain of a nose full of pool water. The key to sinus irrigation is to use normal or hypertonic saline – a solution that is at least as salty as we are. This can be made at home by adding your own salt to warm water, but commercially available sinus rinses have better purity and more predictable concentration, with fewer additives, compared to food grade salt.  It is also strongly recommended to use distilled or boiled water rather than water straight out of the tap.  Even if you enjoy the award-winning Richmond city water at home, there is still a small possibility of introducing rare but dangerous amebae into your nose.  If you take your water from a well, then it is imperative that you boil it for at least 5 minutes.  Sterilized water may be stored in a closed container for up to one week.

Recipe for normal saline:

  • ½ tsp of salt
  • ½ tsp of baking soda
  • 8oz. of sterile water

How do I get it in my nose?

The easiest way to prepare and use saline irrigation is with the NeilMed Sinus Rinse Bottle Kit, which contains a nasal irrigator bottle and 50 to 100 premeasured packages of salt solution. After washing your hands, add one packet of salt to the bottle and fill distilled, micro-filtered, or boiled water.  You may warm it carefully in the microwave if desired.  Shake well. Leaning over the sink, insert the bottle tip fully into one nostril and squeeze gently until the saline drips out of the other nose. Breathe through your mouth until half of the bottle is empty.  Repeat on the other nostril. Gently blow your nose, unless you have had sinus surgery within the past two weeks.  Clean and store the bottle.

See step by step instructions for using the Sinus Rinse

See step by step instructions for the battery operated Sinugator