What is Sinus Irrigation?

K T Solis
K T Solis
A bulb syringe, which can be used for sinus irrigation.
A bulb syringe, which can be used for sinus irrigation.

Sinus pressure, stuffy noses, and sinus drainage are just a few of the problems people who suffer from sinusitis grapple with on a regular basis. One way to combat these problems is to irrigate the sinus passages. Sinus irrigation is the practice of clearing mucus from the nasal passages. Performing a sinus irrigation helps to reduce swelling of the sinuses. It can also alleviate dryness and clear mucus from the throat. This simple procedure may even help to prevent colds and alleviate allergy symptoms.

Table salt can be dissolved in distilled water to make a saline solution that can be used to irrigate the sinuses.
Table salt can be dissolved in distilled water to make a saline solution that can be used to irrigate the sinuses.

Irrigating the sinuses is an alternative health practice that people may choose instead of taking traditional allergy medications which can cause drowsiness and other unpleasant side effects. Sinus irrigation is also less expensive than allergy medications since this home remedy uses warm saline water, a mixture that can be concocted at home. Most households have access to simple table salt and warm water, the two ingredients used in this particular type of treatment.

A sinus irrigation spray.
A sinus irrigation spray.

When a person decides to irrigate the sinuses, he or she can use a variety of methods. For example, sinuses can be irrigated by means of a bulb syringe, a cupped hand, or a device designed specifically for nasal irrigation. He can also decide how much salt will be used in the warm water in order to achieve the desired saline solution strength.

Performing a sinus irrigation is not a complicated procedure. First, the person must place his head over the sink so that any dripping water does not fall onto the floor. Next, the person positions the neck so that one nostril faces toward the sink. Using a syringe, cupped hand, or nasal irrigation device, he pours the saline solution into the nostril facing up. As this occurs, the solution drains from the lower nostril and falls into the sink.

Finally, the person blows his or her nose in order to remove excess fluid. The treatment is then repeated with the other nostril. It's important that the person breathes through the mouth in order to avoid inhaling the salt solution.

Irrigating the sinus passages may help relieve sinus pressure.
Irrigating the sinus passages may help relieve sinus pressure.

Sinus sufferers who prepare saline solution at home can create two kinds of salt solutions. An isotonic saline solution is comprised of a salt mixture that is similar to the salt found in the human body. This type of solution is soothing to the sinuses.

On the other hand, a hypertonic saline solution is a type of mixture that has more in common with ocean water salt. A hypertonic saline solution, with its higher concentration of salt, is more adept at reducing swelling of the sinus passages. Unfortunately, using a hypertonic solution may prove to be more irritating to the sinuses than flushing the sinus passages with an isotonic solution.

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    • A bulb syringe, which can be used for sinus irrigation.
      A bulb syringe, which can be used for sinus irrigation.
    • Table salt can be dissolved in distilled water to make a saline solution that can be used to irrigate the sinuses.
      Table salt can be dissolved in distilled water to make a saline solution that can be used to irrigate the sinuses.
    • A sinus irrigation spray.
      A sinus irrigation spray.
    • Irrigating the sinus passages may help relieve sinus pressure.
      Irrigating the sinus passages may help relieve sinus pressure.