L19 — May 2011 — Nasal Cleansing
Intro: Sometimes life's not fair. We've just come out of cold and flu season only to arrive smack in the middle of spring allergy season. What can you do about that runny nose and nasal congestion? Medications are one option, but so is nasal cleansing. More on how nasal cleansing can help from Mayo Clinic
It's a little bit of a strange feeling.
And Nancy Arant says it definitely looks a bit strange. But she's a firm believer that nasal cleansing helps decrease allergy symptoms and cuts her risk of catching a cold.
I use it off and on during cold season. During allergy season.
Nancy uses what's called a neti pot. She fills it with 8 ounces of water and about an eighth of a teaspoon of salt.
You keep your mouth open a little bit and it's neat how the water just drains through the other side. Almost immediately after I use it, I feel my nasal passages open up.
Nasal cleansing may feel good, but does it work?
It's actually helpful for any symptom that has to do with nasal congestion, nasal crusting, dryness or runny nose. So allergies, colds, sinus infections are all oftentimes helped by the simple procedure.
Mayo Clinic Dr. Daniel Blum is an ear, nose and throat doctor who recommends nasal cleansing with salt water to his patients. He says your nose is like a filter. It functions by making a blanket of mucus to trap particles so they don't get into your lungs. In a normal nose, this layer is renewed every 10 minutes or so. But if dryness makes secretions thick, the nose can't clear it. Bacteria can grow. Nasal cleansing washes the thick layer away, reducing congestion, dryness and your chance of getting an infection. Nancy cleanses her nose when she feels like it needs it. Dr. Blum says it's safe to do every day.
Aah. I like it. I mean, it does open up your nasal passages.
For Medical Edge, I'm Vivien Williams.
Dr. Blum says if you want to cleanse your nose regularly, use salt water and avoid decongestant nasal sprays. Prolonged use of those sprays could make the issue worse. But if you do use them, be sure to follow directions on the label.
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