What Is Sinus Wash?
A sinus wash, also called a nasal rinse or nasal irrigation, is exactly what it sounds like--washing your sinuses. The sinus cavities are very small tunnels within the bones of your face. They help with the movement of air, so when your body begins to produce extra mucus, these cavities become clogged, resulting in pressure, pain and sometimes even a full-blown sinus infection.
A sinus wash is designed to clear these clogged pathways. Consisting of a saltwater solution that runs throughout your sinuses, a sinus wash can significantly decrease symptoms of a cold as well as prevent the growth of bacteria. The benefits of a nasal rinse include washing away mucus crust, dirt, pollen and other allergens from your nose. These cleared pathways will in turn allow mucus to flow better, keeping you from experiencing stuffiness again. A sinus wash also helps to pull out fluid, shrinking your swollen mucous membranes, which in turn improves your breathing.
How To Use Sinus Wash
These are the many advantages to nasal irrigation, but there are disadvantages as well. If used too regularly over a long period of time, it can become counterproductive and increase the chance of sinusitis. This is because nasal mucus serves to protect the body against infection, so clearing it out too often can be harmful. It should not be used long-term on a daily basis.
There are a few tips for making the most of your sinus wash. First, if you have an antihistamine or steroid nasal spray to use, be sure to use the sinus wash first to clear out your sinus passages and allow the spray to be more effective. Secondly, you should never use tap water in your nasal rinse because of the risk of harmful bacteria that could cause a serious infection. Lastly, you need to wash out your sinus wash bottle after each use and allow it to air dry.
A sinus wash is a useful tool during cold season when you need some relief. However, if you are relying on it more frequently, you should work with your doctor to find out why you are having chronic sinus problems.