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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.