Saline nasal spray provides moisture to dry, irritated or plugged nasal passages. The moisture, typically a salt and water solution, helps soften and dissolve the thick mucus that blocks airflow or causes discomfort. Many people use saline solutions for infants and children who can't blow their nose. Saline nasal spray is also often preferred over medicated nasal spray, because there is no risk of addiction or rebound congestion.
People use saline nasal spray to help lessen nasal congestion, sinus pressure and breathing issues complicated by a stuffy nose. Many use it for daily nasal hygiene, allergies, asthma, cold relief, sinusitis, deviated septums and postnasal drip. Saline solutions moisten dry nasal passages, reduce or remove blockages in nasal airways and improve the function of mucous membranes.
Saline nasal spray typically has no side effects or negative interactions with other drugs, so it can be used alone in or conjunction with other medications to aid in relief and healing. When used regularly, saline solutions improve breathing, help the mucous membranes filter out harmful irritants, improve the sense of smell and reduce bad breath. Regularly using saline nasal spray may also reduce the need for antihistamines. When used on infants and young children, the saline provides great relief to dry, stuffy noses and thins the mucus, making it easier for care providers to suction out.
While there are different types of saline nasal spray available, the most common is a salt water solution packaged in a spray bottle. To use, you insert the tip into the nostril and squirt the recommended amount into the nose. This type of solution can be found at nearly every drugstore. Another common type of saline solution is homemade. The ingredients are typically 1 cup of purified or sterile water, 1 tsp. of baking soda and 1 tsp. of sea salt. After these are mixed, the solution can be stored in a traditional nose spray bottle or other container with a lid. If not in a nasal spray bottle, one can use a sterile medicine dropper or baby nasal bulb syringe to administer the saline.
Like any other substance, saline nasal spray should be discussed with a physician before self-administering. Though very uncommon and unlikely, side effects may occur, like stinging or burning sensations. This is likely caused by additives, so if there is discomfort, try a solution that is 100 percent natural.
Saline nasal spray will lessen nasal congestion, relieve dry or blocked nasal passages, and open nasal airways. Children with colds and allergies find comfort when they use saline solutions, and adults appreciate how inexpensive it can be to make at home. Saline nasal spray is an effective and efficient way to clear nasal passages and promote good nasal health.
Jennifer Erchul has been a freelance writer since 2002. Writing primarily about family and travel, her work has appeared in the "Idaho State Journal," "Portnuef Valley Parents Magazine" and "Western Flyfisher." She writes for numerous websites and is a published author. Erchul studied English and psychology at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn.