How to Rinse Your Sinuses

Congestion and stuffiness got you down? Although this symptom may not be life-threatening for most people, it is certainly annoying. When you have any type of nasal congestion, it is difficult to breathe and you probably find yourself sniffing, sneezing, and blowing your nose quite frequently. Fortunately, there are things you can do to get some relief from the congestion without even taking any medicine.

Use a Neti Pot

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Using a neti pot is a great way to flush out your sinuses when you are congested or have a lot of mucus in them. It looks like a little teapot that you fill with a saline solution (store bought or homemade).

You simply tilt your head over the sink and pour the solution into one nostril, letting it run through your sinuses and out the other nostril. Then repeat on the other side.

This tool is really effective at flushing out excess mucus, helping you breathe better when you are stuffed up.

NeilMed Sinus Rinse

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Another option for rinsing your sinuses that is a little easier than using a neti pot is the NeilMed Sinus Rinse. Using what looks like a squeeze bottle with a hole at the top, you mix together a saline solution (packets are provided with the bottle and sold separately) and squeeze the solution into one nostril while holding your head over the sink.

Just like with the neti pot, the solution runs through your sinuses and out the other nostril. The size of the bottle and amount of solution allows you to use half in each nostril. It is very effective when used for congestion from a cold or allergies.

Saline Spray

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Saline spray is another very popular product used to break up mucus in the nasal passages and help you breathe better when you are congested. It can be a bit more difficult to actually rinse your sinuses with the spray but it is possible. Rather than just a quick squirt in each nostril, holding pressure on the bottle to allow more of the solution to run into your nose will allow it to get deeper into your sinuses and rinse more of the mucus out. Saline is not a medication and using it does not cause side effects. It may have to be used frequently since the effects are often short lived.

Saline is available over the counter for nasal use in both drops and spray form.

You can also make your own saline using the simple recipe above. It is a great option for children that are too young to take cold medications.

Boogie Mist is one saline spray geared towards kids from the makers of Boogie Wipes.

For Young Kids: Saline and Bulb Syringe

Woman cleaning a baby's nose with a bulb syringe
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For young children and babies, sinus rinses aren't really feasible. But that doesn't mean there is nothing you can do.

Using saline drops when your infant or young child is congested will help thin out the mucus, allowing it to drain. It also makes it easier to suction out using a bulb syringe (or Pediatrician approved product of your choice).

Actually getting the drops into your child's nose and then suctioning them out can be somewhat of a feat. Babies are wiggly and they don't like having liquid squirted up their noses. Enlisting the aid of a second adult may help but it's not impossible to do on your own once you get the hang of it.

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