How do I Choose the Best Nasal Irrigation Solution?

Erin J. Hill

In order to choose the best nasal irrigation solution, it is first necessary to discover what is causing your nasal symptoms in the first place. If you have a cold or allergies, you can likely use a simple over the counter saline or medicated solution. More serious conditions like influenza may require nasal irrigation solutions along with stronger medications, which can be administered through the nasal passages or orally. Start by talking with your doctor to determine the best solution for your situation.

An over-the-counter nasal spray may be helpful for nasal irrigation.
An over-the-counter nasal spray may be helpful for nasal irrigation.

For common cold symptoms like a stuffy or runny nose, you should first try using a basic saline solution. These can be purchased from your local drug store, or you can make your own by combining a small amount of salt with warm water. The salt in these solutions helps widen nasal passages, making them easier to irrigate, meaning that you can more easily remove mucus from the passage by blowing your nose or suctioning it with a nasal aspirator.

Consult a pharmacist before using any medicated nasal sprays.
Consult a pharmacist before using any medicated nasal sprays.

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If you think you have influenza or another more serious respiratory infection, you should first consult your doctor for a diagnosis before trying any remedies on your own. You may need anti-viral medications, which may include a nasal irrigation solution. If you are not given anything specifically for your nasal passages, then you can generally use a saline or medicated spray found over the counter in your local pharmacy.

A basic saline solution may help relieve a runny nose.
A basic saline solution may help relieve a runny nose.

There are some circumstances in which you may be advised not to use a nasal irrigation solution, primarily those that contain certain medications. These instances may include if you are taking drugs which may interact with those in the solution, or if you are pregnant or nursing a baby. For this reason, always get your doctor or pharmacist’s permission before using a medicated nasal spray.

Saline solution can be purchased over the counter.
Saline solution can be purchased over the counter.

A specialized nasal irrigation solution may be needed if you have allergies or another chronic condition. Discuss these options with your pharmacist or physician. You can also use a nasal aspirator to help clear out nasal passages more quickly. This is a bulb connected to a short tube which can be used to suction excess mucus directly from the nose.

Research is important when purchasing a nasal irrigation solution as there are a variety of over-the-counter options available.
Research is important when purchasing a nasal irrigation solution as there are a variety of over-the-counter options available.

Some nasal irrigation solution options can be habit-forming and should be used only as directed by the manufacturer or your doctor. Nasal spray addiction can lead to long-term damage of the nasal passageways and mucus membranes. This often results in chronic stuffy nose, nose bleeds, and the need for more nasal spray.

Neti pots are a popular type of nasal cleansing system.
Neti pots are a popular type of nasal cleansing system.
Overuse of nasal sprays can lead to addiction and harm the membranes inside the nasal passages.
Overuse of nasal sprays can lead to addiction and harm the membranes inside the nasal passages.

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Discussion Comments

anon136427

The best solution out there is NasalCare's patented, 100 percent natural solution. The solution is made of mineral-rich sea salt, Aloe Vera Extract (to moisturize nasal lining), citric acid (to help smell function), and sodium bicarbonate to buffer and Ph-balance solution. The best on the market by far!

NasalCare's bottle is even better. I love that it is back wash free (anti-backwash technology allowing the solution to flow into nose, not back into bottle) so that I have the peace of mind that the solution is pure during the nasal cleaning process.

anon63645

Most of the Salines contain preservatives which are irritating and may create sensitization.

I recommend the Cleanoz Saline, which is preservative free and comes in single use containers that are more hygienic than the big saline bottles that you keep for weeks.

For multiples you can use a different applicator for each baby and save money. Also you can keep the remaining containers for the next cold.

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