Saturday, February 28, 2009

Other Nasal Rinse Solutions

There are several other nasal rinse solutions that can be made or are available commercially.

1. I have heard ear-nose-throat physicians recommend 5 drops of dish soap be added to the regular mix of saline nasal rinse solutions. Their rationale is that the soap will help loosen up the mucus, much as it does when we wash our hands or the sink with soap. I can not find any studies in the medical literature examining this nor have I tried this personally. So I can't comment on the efficacy. On the potential downside, if the mucosa lining of the nose and sinuses is dry, then removing mucus would leave it drier. So if you were going to use this recipe, I would recommend you do this when lots of mucus or very sticky mucus is present.

2. Sinofresh is a nasal spray available over-the-counter. Sinofresh contains the oils from wintergreen, spearmint, peppermint, and eucalyptus. This has a refreshing effect in my experience. My issues with this product are the price and quantity: about $17 for 1 ounce. In my experience, volume is an important variable in determining if the nasal rinsing will be effective. So this option can get pricey quickly.

3. Alkalol is a nasal wash available over-the-counter also. My patient brought a bottle to me, so here's my due diligence. Alkalol solution contains menthol, eucalyptol, thymol, camphor, benzoin, oils of wintergreen, spearmint, pine, and cinnamin, potassium, sodium bicarbonate and sodium chloride. Price is about $4.50 per 16 ounce bottle. This is clearly more economical, but what about its effectiveness. I am using it this week, because some !@#$% child patient of mine gave me their bacterial sinus infection. The congestion is not intolerable and my nasal smear does not show large numbers of bacteria. So I have chosen to delay taking an antibiotic and also do nasal rinses like crazy. So far I like it. It seems to cut through the mucus. One minor caveat is that since I rinse early and rinse often, 8 ounces at a rinsing, the bottles does last long. To save money, I have adjusted by diluting the solution by half with water. This is not on the manufacturer's label, but it still seems to help.

Disclaimer: I do not own stock in the manufacturers nor am I being paid.

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