Nasal irrigation is a safe and effective treatment therapy for all patients with inflammatory nasal problems: rhinitis (e.g. hayfever) and chronic rhinosinusitis. In some mild cases it can keep symptoms under control on its own; however in most cases it works alongside regular steroid nasal medication.
Irrigation is performed with a sterile saline (salt-water) solution, which can be isotonic or hypertonic (normal or raised salt concentration), and neutral or alkaline. Steroid medication or other agents can be added to nasal irrigations to enhance their effectiveness.
What kind of nasal irrigation should I use?
This depends on your diagnosis and the severity of your symptoms. For patients with dry noses, mild crusting or mild allergies, a low-volume aerosol irrigation can be sufficient (e.g. Sterimar).
For patients with chronic rhinosinusitis (with or without polyps), nasal septal perforations, or vasculitis, a high-volume irrigation performed with a squeezy bottle, Neti pot or other irrigation system is best (Neilmed Sinus Rinse is one example). Irrigation should be performed once or twice a day, before using nasal steroid medication, or more often if necessary.
How is nasal irrigation performed?
First, make up your nasal irrigation solution with boiled, cooled water, plus the required amount of salt and any other additives.
Lean forward over a sink and bend your neck slightly down.
Apply the irrigation device to one nostril, breathing gently through your mouth.
Squeeze the irrigation bottle until irrigation solution starts to flow out of the opposite nostril.
Stop when you have used about half of the solution and blow your nose.
Repeat with the opposite nostril until the solution is used up.
Rinse out the bottle/device thoroughly and follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding sterilisation (for example using a microwave).
Please follow the manufacturer's directions when performing nasal irrigations. We do not endorse any particular irrigation product.