Nasal Saline Spray

A young woman using nasal spray
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Saline spray is a great option for anyone who has congestion and wants to clear out their sinuses without medication. It is easy to use and effective, although sometimes the effects are short-lived. It can be used to moisten the nasal passages or to irrigate the sinuses. Nasal saline spray is also great for children and infants who are too young for cold medications.


  • Easy to use
  • Inexpensive
  • Non-medicated
  • Safe for all ages
  • Effective


  • Might be uncomfortable for children and infants
  • Effects are short-lived

Need to Know

Available in both drops and spray, saline is a clean, safe alternative to decongestants. It can be used by people of any age to clear congestion and mucus out of the nose and sinuses. You can even make saline solution yourself.

Because it contains no medicine, there is no concern about side effects or interactions with other medications that you are taking. 

A Word From Verywell

Using nasal saline spray is one of my favorite ways to relieve congestion when I have a cold or upper respiratory infection. I also suffer from allergies nearly year-round and I find it very helpful when I get stuffed up. Whether I'm using it to clear out my nostrils or I want to irrigate my sinuses, I always get relief after using it. It comes in a variety of brands and different types of bottles, but they are all relatively inexpensive.

Nasal saline spray or drops are often recommended to parents of infants and young children since they are too young for over-the-counter cold medications. They are helpful for children because they thin the mucous and make it easier for mom or dad to suck out using a bulb syringe or for the child to blow his nose.

The major downside to using nasal saline spray is that the effects don't last very long. When you have a cold, you are constantly producing more mucous and while saline spray may clear it out temporarily, it doesn't work long-term. 

Another potential problem when using saline spray or drops in children and infants is that it might be difficult to use. Young children don't typically like having drops put in their noses and they might resist and make the process difficult. If you can get them to cooperate, the relief is usually worth the minor struggle.

Overall, I find nasal saline spray can be very helpful when you have a cold or any type of congestion.

Other products that help clear out the sinuses without using medication include neti pots and NeilMed Sinus Rinse. These use saline solutions just like saline spray but deliver a larger amount to help irrigate the sinuses more thoroughly. 

Whichever product you decide to try, clearing out your nasal and sinus passages with saline is a great way to clear out mucus when you have congestion. 

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