3 min Read
4 Reasons You Need To Try Nasal Rinsing
November 29, 2022
3 min Read
November 29, 2022
With pharmacy shelves cleared out of decongestants, you may be looking for an alternative way to manage cold symptoms. How does shooting a stream of saltwater up your nose sound?
Dr. Mandeep Johal, D.M.D., airway and breathing expert and Guelph, Ontario dentist says nasal rinsing – an ancient Ayurvedic tradition – is not only effective at offering relief for cold and flu symptoms and shortening their duration, nasal rinsing can also help prevent respiratory illnesses.
“The nose is actually our body’s first line of defense against bacteria and viruses,” says Dr. Johal. “The nose filters bacteria entering the body and combats contamination, most importantly for our lungs.” Rinsing your nose with saline or saltwater flushes out nasal passages, helping to reduce the severity of colds. It can even prevent you from getting sick in the first place.
When your nose is congested or lined with thick mucus, it can’t do its job effectively. By softening and thinning the mucus that blocks sinus passages, nasal rinsing washes out the inflammatory cells that cause congestion, acting as a natural decongestant. “The saltwater literally washes away the environment that harbors the bacteria and/or virus,” says Dr. Johal.
Studies have shown that children with cold or flu symptoms who use a saltwater or saline rinse show less need for supplementary medications or antibiotics to help with fever or congestion and typically have cold symptoms alleviated faster. If you see your child begin to exhibit cold symptoms, increasing the frequency of nasal rinsing may help you avoid having to turn to traditional cold and cough medications.
In addition to managing and preventing cold and flu symptoms, nasal rinsing can help with seasonal allergies as well as other health conditions. By keeping the airway clear, Dr. Johal says sasal rinsing can help alleviate allergy symptoms. It can also help improve other respiratory related illnesses. “Improved respiration means your brain is getting more oxygen, which helps prevent headaches, migraines and overall stress,” says Dr. Johal.
Dr. Johal says daily nasal rinsing can help reduce the likelihood of sinusitis, inflamed tonsils and colds. “Nasal rinsing not only sweeps the nasal passages of dirt, bacteria, viruses and mucus, it helps prevent infections,” says Dr. Johal. If your child is experiencing cold and flu symptoms, Dr. Johal recommends nasal rinsing up to three times a day.
There are many saline and saltwater solutions on the market, it can be hard to know which is best for your child. For babies, Dr. Johal recommends a saline spray with a nasal aspirator, such as the Snotsucker by Fridababy. For children ages 1 to 12, she recommends the NeilMed Pediatric rinse bottles as the squeeze bottle is easier for kids to manage. The kit comes with saline packets that you can dissolve in sterile or distilled water (not tap water).