Sunday, April 8, 2012

DIY Nasal Saline Rinse Solution

I hab a cold (said in most pitiful of voices). I always seem to have colds or some sort of congestion between being around kids, and having sinuses that are chronically swollen. People have been telling me for years about how much I need to do nasal rinses, and while I did them sporadically, I've only recently started to do them regularly.  I'm sick of being sick, and  if they help keep me from getting horrible sinus infections that are having to be treated monthly with antibiotics, I'm willing to shoot pressurized water up my nose.

For the record they AREN'T sinus rinses. You do NOT rinse your sinuses, but rather your nasal passages. If we could rinse our sinuses we would get mondo infections because anything we inhaled could get in them.  This little disclaimer was brought to you by my old ENT who got verrry annoyed when people talked about how wonderful sinus rinses were.  

Why do a nasal rinse?
Saline rinses help to prevent the crusting of secretions in the nasal passages, which may otherwise block the sinuses from draining. If the sinus drainage sites become blocked, which could also occur with swelling from allergies or irritants, a sinus infection may develop. Saline rinses also serve to reduce tissue swelling in the nasal passages, and improve the clearance of mucus.(from here)

I have this bottle and ran out of the packets this morning.  I didn't want to buy more, and since it's Easter most stores are closed it wasn't happening.  I figured the water has salt in it, how difficult could it be to make at home. It turns out, it's not that hard and my poor nasal cavities thanked me.  I may move into my shower if the ibuprofen, nasal rinses and sudafed aren't giving me any lasting relief.  I'm stoically refusing to take antibiotics for yet another sinus infection.

My bottle is 8 oz.  I pour the salt and baking soda in and then warm water over it.

1/8-3/4 teaspoon non-iodoized salt. (I used 1/2t. The saltier, or more hypertonic you make it, the more it will relieve swelling but it may be too strong for a nasal rinse)
1 large pinch of baking soda (the baking soda actually keeps it from burning)
8oz water, distilled or filtered, heated to as close to blood temp as you can get it.  Do NOT use well water or tap water unless it's been previously boiled.

Note: WASH your bottle or Netipot every time you use it!

Put it in your bottle, shake it up, and use as usual. Tah-dah.  If it burns at all you can add a little more baking soda.  You can adjust the level to your comfort. The nasal wash should NEVER burn or have peroxide or anything harsh added to it. This is meant to sooth, not damage!

As soon as I posted that I was trying this, I had two people post on my Facebook wall about the health risks posed by nasal rinses. I wanted to address those here.
First, amoebas: two people in Louisiana died after using unfiltered tap water in a nasal rinse. This is why you should alllllways use distilled or filtered water. The amoebas are very rare, and people can get sick just from jumping into infected water that gets up your nose.
I will readily admit that I've been using tap water because I completely forgot about it saying to use distilled water annnnd after reading about flesh eating amoebas,  I'll be better about that in the future.
Second, another person stated that nasal rinses can cause brain damage. I have found no evidence to support this aside from the above recommendation to never use straight tap water.  If you have some, just add it as a comment and I'll read away.

Enjoy, and feel free to comment on your take on sinus rinses.  I have been thinking frequently about how much I hate mine.

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