INSTRUCTIONS FOR NASAL WASHES
Flushing or washing out the nose restores the normal
flow of mucus and clears away crusts from inside the nose. Routing
nasal washes will help to clear infections, keep infections from starting,
control nasal odors, decrease nasal stuffiness or promote healing
after nasal or sinus surgery. You may need special tools to do this well. It may seem
like a weird thing to be doing at first, but soon it will feel as
normal as brushing your teeth or combing your hair! Think of it as a shower for your
Salt Water (Saline)
1. The Salt - Pickling (.canning.) salt or Kosher
salt are best because they are free of iodine and other
preservatives. Regular table salt is OK if you cannot get pickling salt.
2. The Water - Use sterile, bottled or purified
water if possible. Tap water or well water that is drinkable is also acceptable for people who are
not immune suppressed.
3. The Temperature - Use the saline at body
temperature (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit or 37 degrees Celsius) or
slightly warmer, but NOT HOT. Short microwave heating may be an easy
way to warm it.
Hypertonic Buffered Saline (for stuffy noses,
sinusitis). Mix 2-3 heaping
tsp. Salt, 1 tsp. baking soda and 6-7 tablespoons Karo Syrup (white/clear, not brown) with 1 qt. (1
liter) water. [If you mix large amounts for multiple uses, store
in a new or clean airtight bottle in refrigerator. Make up a new
batch every seven days. (Daily after surgery)]
1. Saline drops, spray or mist, from the local drug
store (Breathe Free, Salines or Pretz are good brands. Avoid one
with alcohol or thimerosal).
2. Pretz Irrigation - Lubricating Solution in an
8oz. Bottle with irrigating spout and large refills (from Parnell Pharmacy 1-800-457-4276).
Directions for Preparation and Use of the Hypertonic
1. Clean a 1-quart glass jar carefully, then fill it
with bottled water. You need not boil the water.
2. See Home Recipes above for Hypertonic Buffered
3. Store at room temperature and shake or stir
before each use.
4. Mix a new batch weekly.
1. Pour some into a clean bowl. Warming it may help,
but make sure that it is NOT HOT.
2. Fill the syringe or bulb irrigator. To avoid
contamination, DO NOT place bulb or syringe into jar.
3. Stand over the sink or in shower and squirt the
mixture into each side of the nose several times.
4. Rinse the nose two to three times daily.
Bulb Syringe Method
Buy a small rubber bulb syringe (these are packaged
as 2, 3 or 40z. Ear syringes, $5) from your local drug store. Fill
it with the solution and place it into your nose. Stand over the sink or in the shower
and squirt the salt water into each side of the nose. Aim the stream
toward the back of the head, not the top of the head. This lets you
spit some of the salt water out of your mouth. It will not hurt if a
little is swallowed. Squeeze the bulb to flush your nose. The saline will flow back out from
the nose and mouth. If the force of the fluid seems too weak, you
can use scissors to trim back the syringe tip and widen its opening. This will
make the flushing more forceful when you squeeze the bulb.
If You Use a Nasal Steroid
You should always use the salt water mixture first,
then use the nasal steroid spray (Flonase, Vancenase, Beconase,
Nasacort). The steroid works better when it is sprayed onto nasal membranes that
have been cleaned and decongested by the salt water. Then the
steroid medicine will reach deeper into the nose and sinuses.
For Young Children
For children, it is best to start with a weaker salt
to water mixture and gradually increase to using 2 to 3 heaping
teaspoons of salt, or whatever the child will accept. You can put the salt water into a
small commercial spray container, like a nasal steroid spray bottle.
Squirt it many times into each side of the nose. Do not force your child to
lie down. This rinse is easier to do when sitting or standing.