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Old 06-02-2011, 07:11 PM
SenorBeef SenorBeef is online now
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Saline nasal spray vs water

To ease some symptoms from allergic rhinitis my doctor told me to start using saline spray up my nose, which is just salt water, right? Well, the salt makes for a rather unpleasant sensation/taste... so I'm wondering, why is the salt needed? Would water work in a similar capacity or would that somehow dry out the membranes through osmosis or something? Usually the concern with dehydration I thought was when the incoming solution was saltier than what was already there...

Incidentally the only instructions on this bottle are "as needed" - how many times a day am I supposed to use the stuff to keep the area moistened?

Last edited by SenorBeef; 06-02-2011 at 07:12 PM.
Old 06-02-2011, 07:14 PM
Ferret Herder Ferret Herder is offline
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Plain water will be extremely unpleasant to inhale. Saline is more similar to your body's own makeup and will be more easily tolerated.
Old 06-02-2011, 07:17 PM
SenorBeef SenorBeef is online now
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Related question, would I be better off using one of those neti pots or is a squirt/spray bottle enough?
Old 06-02-2011, 07:19 PM
justanotherdeaf justanotherdeaf is offline
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I used a nettie pot and i promise you that plain water burns! Saline is more gentle. I think its because our body contain salt. My tears and my own skin sure does taste like salt
Old 06-02-2011, 07:36 PM
Washoe Washoe is offline
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Location: Simi Valley, CA
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Shooting plain water up your nose will hurt like a big dog. You know the painful sting that occurs when you accidentally inhale a bit of pool water? Thatís not the chlorineóitís caused by the osmolarity of the water. You can make your own nasal irrigation solution. Buy a cheap gram scale. Iíve been using this model for years and itís been servicing me just fine. Now weigh out 9 grams of non-iodized (per QtM, one of our resident MDs) salt and add to one liter of water. Now add 4.5 grams of bicarb to buffer it, and youíre ready for a schnozz douche. IMHO, the neti pot is a ridiculous device designed to distribute saline all over the floor, the bathroom counter, and the front of your shirt. Throw it in the trash and get the NeilMed bottle. When youíre ready for a douche, just fill the bottle and zap it in the microwave for 20 Ė 25 seconds to warm it up. I irrigate every time I brush my teeth so as to make it a part of my daily hygiene ritual. One tipóafter you take the bottle out of the microwave, give it a good shake to distribute the heat, and give it a squeeze to push out the tablespoon or so that is in the head and tube. For some reason that sometimes gets a lot hotter than the rest of the liquid and will burn like hell if you squirt it into your sinuses.
Old 06-02-2011, 07:46 PM
elbows elbows is online now
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I began using the saline spray after sinus surgery on the recommendation of the surgeon. Salt has infection fighting qualities that plain water lacks, is what he told me.

As to the Neti pot, lots of people swear by them, I know. I found it impossible to use, as do many people with things like sinusitis, etc. They work wonderfully for many, mostly people with well formed sinus cavities. But many, many people have mildly to middling misshapened sinus', those are always the people who have sinus issues. For them the saline spray is more effective, the aerosol propellant makes it easier, along with the pointed nozzle, to get it into oddly shaped spots.

I do hope your doctor told you to sterilize the nozzle after each use, otherwise you run the risk of reintroducing the irritant/infection you're trying to get rid of. I have a baby food jar with rubbing alcohol just for this purpose. I keep them together and use it religiously. Sinus' are warm and moist, anything you accidentally introduce will multiply quickly. You've been warned!
Old 06-03-2011, 09:44 AM
redtail23 redtail23 is offline
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Posts: 2,926
Plain water hurts; saline is closer to your natural moisture.

My roomie, who suffers from continual sinus issues, just buys the store-brand bottles of nasal rinse. She says using the saline rinse multiple times per day helps more than neti. As to how often, I'd start out with three or four times a day, and adjust up or down depending on how that goes. Roomie ranges from once a day to once every couple of hours, depending on the weather and her current sinus condition.

She does neti on occasion, but prefers the squeeze bottle. I love my neti pot, don't care for the squeeze bottle type. Different strokes and all that. You just have to see what works for you.
Old 06-03-2011, 09:55 AM
Hermitian Hermitian is offline
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Maybe I'm a freak, but when my allergies start going crazy sometimes I just go to the bathroom, cup my hand, and snort a small amount of tap water up my nose (then I would blow it out).

I would call it "uncomfortable," but not extremely painful, like some posters are saying. I definately considered it more desirable than my nose running and sneezing.

It wouldn't supprise me if tap water is preferable to bottled water.

But yes, saline is more comfortable.

Last edited by Hermitian; 06-03-2011 at 09:56 AM.
Old 06-03-2011, 10:39 AM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is online now
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Most tap or bottled waters lack the ion content (mainly salts) of nasal tissues, and hence the nasal tissues absorb the water, causing increased swelling along with the sensation of burning.

Which is fine if the problem is extremely dried out nasal tissues. But that's not the case for most folks with allergic rhinitis.

You can get an isotonic salt solution by adding about 1/4 tsp of non-iodinized salt to 8 oz. of water. This will neither add to nor draw fluid from the nasal tissues, for most folks. It'll just clean the area out.

I prefer hypertonic myself, as it helps remove moisture from the swollen nasal tissues, so 1/2 tsp in 8 oz. is my preferred recipe. I add 1/8 tsp of bicarb for buffering.


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