What is a Nasal Irrigator?

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  • Written By: J. Beam
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 19 January 2020
  • Copyright Protected:
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A nasal irrigator is a personal hygiene apparatus that is designed to rinse or irrigate the nasal passages. A nasal irrigator can also refer to a neti pot, nasal syringe, or even nasal sprays. The uses of a nasal irrigator range from clearing nasal passages to relieving irritation caused by allergies. Nasal irrigation, or lavage, can wash out the nasal passages and help relieve dryness, stuffiness, and pressure by rinsing away allergens and excess mucus.

Consumers can buy a nasal irrigator in drug stores and various health specialty stores. Though bulb syringes can be an effective nasal irrigator, the amount of pressure applied when squeezing the bulb can be difficult to control when attempting to rinse the nasal passages out. Bulb syringes are often recommended for infants and young children as an effective way to clear out stuffy noses, but only when used to suck out mucus. You should not use a bulb syringe for irrigation on young children.


Neti pots are a common type of nasal irrigator that resembles a small teapot. The spout is designed to fit gently and neatly into the nostril and then by tilting the head to the side, a liquid solution is gently poured into the nasal passages and flows through them. This can be an odd sensation that some people find discomforting. Some people may not be able to tolerate the experience at all. For many though, it is a simple, gentle and effective means of irrigating the nasal passages.

Another type of nasal irrigator comes in the form of nasal spray. Available over the counter in small squeeze bottles, solution is filtered through an applicator in the form of a mist that is forced up each nostril. Most nasal spray solutions are saline-based, but some have a nasal decongestant included. Nasal sprays are also an effective means of nasal irrigation for relief of stuffy noses or dry and irritated sinuses, however some people prefer the thorough irrigation of a neti pot.

If you suffer from chronic nasal irritation, stuffiness, post-nasal drip, or other sinus-related symptoms, check with your doctor or specialist about the benefits of nasal irrigation. They can recommend various forms of nasal irrigation that may work best for you. Before attempting to flush the nasal passages of an infant or small child, make sure you ask your pediatrician and have them demonstrate the proper use of a nasal irrigator.



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