Sinus rinsing, or nasal douching, is a simple procedure that requires you to ‘sniff’ a saline solution into your nostrils to remove any debris, helping to keep the nose and sinuses clean, healthy and moist.
It can also help reduce inflammation to make breathing – and potentially smelling – easier.
If you suffer from seasonal or persistent rhinitis (inflammation of the nasal lining), your medical practitioner may ask you to carry out nasal douching to clean the nostrils, clear away irritating allergens and debris and prevent infection of the lining.
Who can it help?
Sinus rinsing is particualrly effective for anyone with a sinonasal disorder or allergy as it can help reduce the swelling and inflammation that these conditions cause. That said, we recommend it to anyone. Many of us live in polluted towns and cities and spend lots of time in centrally heated or air conditioned homes or offices. The germs, stuffy air and general dirt caused by these environental factors can cause the nose and sinuses to be bunged up and potentially make breathing difficult, regardless of any loss of smell. Sinus rinsing is a safe, easy and cheap way of combating this.
Sinus rinsing is also highly recommended if you are smell training – make sure you leave at least ten minutes after sinus rinsing before doing the training.
How to do it
The procedure involves dissolving 1 flat spoon of salt (canning, pickling or sea salt – NOT table salt) and 1 flat spoon of Bicarbonate of Soda into 1 pint of boiled water that has cooled. Once all the salts have dissolved, then it is time to start douching. Ideally you should use a sinus rinse bottle – an online search will bring up details of how to obtain one of these. The sinus rinse bottle can be squeezed to direct the saline solution up each nostril.
Alternatively, use a neti pot, the cup of your hand, or a saucer, close one nostril with your hand then sniff the solution up your nose and let it run out. Repeat this sniffing action at least 3 times up each nostril under your nose feels more comfortable or there is no more debris coming out. Try not to swallow the salty solution otherwise you will feel sick! Your pharmacist may be able to provide you with other products that do the same job if you prefer.