Sinus Irrigation How-To

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07/01/2006 Sinus Irrigation How-To Update

Postby Vicki » Sun Mar 19, 2006 8:28 pm

This is an updated version. I tried to answer many of the questions which you will see in subsequent posts.

As an allergy sufferer and OSA patient, here are instructions and information on sinus irrigation. It feels great, gets rid of congestion and decreases the occurrence of sinus infections. Happy nose-hosing!! Vicki

If you have a sinus infection, then you need to irrigate several times a day.

The Principle of Sinus Irrigation

The procedure accomplishes several things;
1. It gets rid of any allergens that might be irritating your nose.
2. It gets rid of any "pockets of infection" that might be forming.
3. It clears your nose and makes it easier to breath.
4. It moisturizes your sinuses.
5. It feels great!!-Really!!

Our noses use tiny hairs called cilia which wave in a pulsing motion to brush matter to the back of our throats where it is swallowed and then eliminated in stomach. A healthy nose is one with moving cilia. Studies have shown that pulsating irrigation techniques keep cilia functioning better than non-pulsing methods. These are the pulsating irrigation systems on the market of which I am aware:

1. Grossan Hydro Pulse nasal/sinus irrigation system (Over twice as expensive as a Water Pik).
2. Sinus Irrigators & Hydro-Flo(tm) system by Ethicare
3. Sinus irrigator tips which fit on Water Piks. These are made by Hydro Med and other companies and can be found by Googling "sinus irrigator tips". You can also check with an ENT or pharmacy to obtain irrigator tips for Water Piks.

Here is one peer reviewed scientific study on sinus irrigation from 2000:

Clinical study and literature review of nasal irrigation.

Irrigation Solutions:

Hypotonic solutions (salt concentration below that of our body) cause nasal tissue to swell. Hypertonic solutions (salt concentration greater than that of our body) decrease or stop the motility of the cilia. Therefore, homemade solutions and most commercial solutions are isotonic (salt concentration equal to that of our body, 0.9%). This recipe and procedure is from the Division of Allergy and Immunology at Scripps Clinics in La Jolla, CA. This solution can be made and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

"ENT Solution"
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon white Karo syrup
1 pint warm water

Baking Soda-Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) acts as a buffer. Water tends to be slightly acidic. This occasionally bothers some people. The addition of baking soda brings the pH of the solution back into a physiological range. I do not use baking soda unless I have a sinus infection because it helps to absorb the yucky odor.

Karo Syrup-Functions to make the solution more closely matched to our physiological sugar concentration.

Commercial products-There are many commercial products on the market: Sinucleanse, BreathEase XL, Saltaire, Sterimar, Sinus Rinse, NeilMed and Ringers. Oasis is a product made from Dead Sea salt. There are claims that Oasis has an anti-inflammatory effect and may also be antifungal. Sea salts and the other commercial solutions contain minerals so that the solutions are closer to our body’s composition. Clearease contains papaya and other enzymes which breakdown proteins (like mucous). There are probably other options as well. Whatever you use, the consensus is that the solution should be preservative-free.

Xylitol-This is found in some products (for example BreathEase XL and Xlear). Xylitol has been shown to be helpful in preventing bacteria from attaching to the nasal mucosa therefore preventing infection

To irrigate with a soft rubber tip ear syringe:

The kind of bulb I prefer is blue with a blunt clear piece that can be removed from the bulb.

To irrigate the nose, stand over sink with head forward, mouth open and chin out. Insert tip of syringe in the nose and gently squeeze the solution in nose being careful not to swallow. If you feel like swallowing, stop and bend head well forward and allow solution to run out. Irrigate the other side in the same manner, then blow nose, closing off one side at a time and blowing with the mouth open.

The number of times you syringe the nose depends on the amount of mucous in the return flow. Ordinarily douche is performed twice daily initially and then every day to every third day as needed to maintain the effect.

To irrigate with a pulsating system (also refer to manufacturer's instructions):

Set control knob on lowest pressure
Place nasal irrigator tip into nostril and bend over sink.
Adjust control knob until a comfortable pressure is reached.
Solution enters one nostril and leaves by the other.
Switch to other nostril and repeat.
You may gently blow through the nostril not containing the irrigator.
Ordinarily, the irrigation is performed twice daily initially and then every day to every third day as need to maintain the effect.

POINTS TO REMEMBER AND CAUTIONS:
Do not use if a burning sensation occurs.
Do not force salt solution through nostrils.
Discontinue if ear pain occurs.

Personal Notes and Tricks:

If I am really desperate, like at work, or traveling, I’ll put salt water in a cup, snort it and blow my nose a few times. The trick to this is that you have to make sure the salt water is isotonic before you snort it. I stick my tongue in the salt water first to check it. If you have followed the recipes a while, then you learn what the proper salt concentration tastes like.

A frequent poster reminded me that it is a good idea after irrigating to tilt your head all around and bend over with a Kleenex handy. There is a lot of room up there and if you go out without draining all the saline out, you'll find a river flowing out of your nose at the most embarrassing times.
Last edited by Vicki on Mon Nov 03, 2008 4:09 am, edited 7 times in total.
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Does this work with a Netti Pot?

Postby Pharmboy » Tue Mar 21, 2006 11:12 pm

Thanks Vicki. I have flair-ups of sinusitis and appreciate anything that might help.

How do you think these irrigation techniques stack up against a Nettie Pot?
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Sinus Irrigation

Postby vbreyer » Thu Mar 23, 2006 10:40 am

Can that recipe be used in a nettipot? Do you know if you can use regular salt in a nettipot or do you need to buy salt that is made for use in a nettipot?
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Postby deedster » Thu Mar 23, 2006 1:28 pm

A Netti Pot is just another way to deliver the solution. My Dr. recommends using Sea Salt because it is free of the anti-caking agents that are in regular table salt. I also just use boiled water and salt, nothing else.
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Irrigation

Postby vbreyer » Thu Mar 23, 2006 3:26 pm

Thanks for replying so quickly. Is there a reason for using boiled water? Isn't tap water OK?
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Postby Madre » Thu Mar 30, 2006 12:13 am

What is a Netti Pot please?
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Postby Vicki » Thu Mar 30, 2006 12:34 pm

Eeewwww, I can't imagine why anyone would try to sell a used nasal irrigator on eBay, let alone, someone who would buy it :shock:

And to answer "why use boiled water" question, because it is more sterile (free of bacteria and other bugs) than tap water. I never brother with that though.

Vicki
Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent.
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Postby mrbsf » Thu Mar 30, 2006 3:21 pm

Many items on eBay are sold as new. This is the case with most medical or personal hygiene products.
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Postby lynn321 » Thu Mar 30, 2006 5:14 pm

when my nettipot eventually brole I replaced it with an ordinary coffee pot it works fine

eventually my cronic mucus was much reduced, as if the mucus realised it wasnt worth the trouble of returning as it would easily be washed out
one is supposed to go thru a complicated bending forward and nose blowing routine after to get all the water out, but few bother, an occasional probelm is the release of some water from the sinuses about 30 minutes later, but this is a small problem

some who follow yoga say there are also other benefits from nasal irrigation for general wellbeing

as mentioned, nasal sprays are OK for mucus occasionally but they do have a rebound effect if used often
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Postby deedster » Sat Apr 01, 2006 8:37 pm

I would recommend that bending forward after the irrigation. I experienced that release of some water 4 hours later while bending down to get something off the bottom shelf at the drugstore!
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Postby Madre » Sun Apr 02, 2006 12:43 am

Oh my!!
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Postby Guest » Wed Apr 19, 2006 6:50 pm

Hi Vicki. Question ~ I've got the Hydro Pulse. I've been using just a teaspoon of salt to the container of water. They sent some free samples of stuff to put in the water instead of the salt. They are "Breathe ease XL with Xylitol. Ingredients are: Sodium Chloride, Sodim Bicarbonate, Xylitol, Calcium Chloride and Potassium Chloride. It sure tastes a lot better than just using the plain salt.

You had mentioned that you put a little baking soda in the water if you had an infection. How much?

Is there a home mix that would come close to what they are selling?

Thanks in advance!

Paula
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Postby Paula » Fri Apr 21, 2006 6:53 pm

Hi Vicki. Question ~ I've got the Hydro Pulse. I've been using just a teaspoon of salt to the container of water. They sent some free samples of stuff to put in the water instead of the salt. They are "Breathe ease XL with Xylitol. Ingredients are: Sodium Chloride, Sodim Bicarbonate, Xylitol, Calcium Chloride and Potassium Chloride. It sure tastes a lot better than just using the plain salt.

You had mentioned that you put a little baking soda in the water if you had an infection. How much?

Is there a home mix that would come close to what they are selling?

Thanks in advance!

Paula
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Postby Miss Rumphius » Sat Apr 29, 2006 12:37 pm

Vicki,

Bless you for this information. I was hesitant to try it but I did and it feels great. I really like having the misery of clogged sinuses relieved.

You mention standing over the sink with your mouth open and chin forward. I get the reason for the open mouth, but why the chin forward?

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Postby Vicki » Sat Apr 29, 2006 10:35 pm

Nancy/Paula (Sorry I've taken so long to respond),

You know, I never noticed it said chin out. I have no idea why it is suggested. I just hang my head with my mouth open.

Paula, baking soda is sodium bicarbonate so the recipe I posted is very similar to the components in the commercial mix and the amount you use is in the recipe. The commercial mix tastes better, in part, because it has a sugar substitue in it (Xylitol). The calcium carbonate probably acts as a buffer and potassium chloride has the same physiological properties a sodium chloride, but it might taste a little better also.

The HydroPulse (or a Water Pik for that matter) has an additional benefit. I didn't know this until lately, but using a pulsating stream increases the activity of the sinus cilia much more than just putting an irrigation solution in your nose with a bulb or nettie pot.
Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent.
Marilyn Vos Savant

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Friedrich must of had apnea.
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